On the weekend of October 21-23, Reverend Canon Sally Bingham, Founder and President of Interfaith Power & Light, brought to the Austin religious community a strong message about our shared responsibility to care for creation. Through a series of events, people came together to listen, learn, share, and connect.
If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it.
--Lyndon B. Johnson
This message was delivered by Rev. Canon Sally Bingham to an interfaith gathering in Austin on Saturday, October 22, 2011.
We are living at a difficult time in history, but at the same time, it is an exciting moment to be alive. Things around us are changing very fast. There have been uprises in the Middle East, but I am not referring to the death of Osama Bin Laden, or Qaddafi or the trouble in Syria and Afghanistan, but rather the revolutions in both Tunisia and Egypt and now taking place on Wall Street and around this country. None of these events would be so successful without the aid of social networks. They have changed our lives. We are having to create “new norms for a new reality.” In the meantime, we are dealing with economic recession, terrorism, severe environmental degradation all over the world and along with that, the increasingly scary signs of runaway global climate change which is what I am here to talk about.
Join us at All Saints Episcopal Church, Austin, on Saturday, October 22nd at 9:00 a.m. for a Community Conversation on Climate Change, featuring the President and Founder of Interfaith Power and Light, Reverend Sally Bingham, and including three other great speakers: Dr. Camille Parmesan of the University of Texas at Austin, Ilan Levin of the Environmental Integrity Project, and Amanda Yaira Robinson of Texas Interfaith Power & Light. Read on for more information about all four participants, and we hope to see you on Saturday!
At the end of each month's interfaith environmental conference call, we close our time together with a prayer. Often, I'll ask a clergy-person to lead us. Today, though, the theme of this month's call--"greening" the holidays--had me thinking about the current Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which ends today at sundown. What follows are the words I offered at the close of today's call.
Today is the last day of the Jewish festival of Sukkot, during which we are commanded to go outside and sit in temporary dwellings, open to the elements. This act of moving outside for seven days is a reminder of our impermanence and fragility, our connection to the natural world, and our responsibility to be engaged with and active in the larger world, outside our comfort zone. All of that might sound pretty heavy.
But during this festival of Sukkot, we are also commanded to be happy and joyful!
Our October interfaith environmental conference call is scheduled for Wednesday, October 19th at 12:00 p.m. On this call, we'll focus on upcoming winter holidays and explore environmentally-friendly ways to celebrate on the individual and congregational levels. We'll also include information about ongoing programs, upcoming opportunities, and policy updates. If you or your congregation already does something green for the holidays--or if you don't but are looking for ideas, please plan to join us!
September 28, 2011
The U.S. State Department is holding a series of hearings to collect public input into the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, giving citizens an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way in this decision-making process. On Wednesday, September 28th, one of the hearings will be held in Austin, TX, and religious leaders from different traditions will participate. Some will contribute prayers and readings at our interfaith prayer service at 10:30 a.m. that morning, and some will offer testimony at the hearing.
Because the date of this hearing conflicts with the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days and marks the first evening of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, the Texas Jewish community's participation will be understandably limited on the day of the hearing. Working with the Jewish community, we offer this statement and invite Texas Jewish leaders to add their names by signing on. Texas Interfaith Power & Light leaders will read and submit this statement at the September 28th hearing on behalf of those who sign on, making it part of the public testimony.
As the U.S. State Department is considering whether to approve a request from TransCanada to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, you can send your comments and concerns urging Secretary Clinton to say no to this dangerous project.
The Interfaith Environmental Network (IEN) of Austin issues the following statement about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. In addition to issuing this statement, leaders of IEN plan to testify on this issue at the State Department hearing in Austin on Wednesday, September 28, 2011.
The Interfaith Environmental Network of Austin, a coalition of individuals and congregations from a variety of faith traditions who are committed to environmental stewardship, is opposed to the request being submitted to the U.S. State Department by TransCanada to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, that would carry bitumencrude petroleum 1,661 miles from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada down to Houston, Texas.
Our opposition to this proposal is based on several environmental and moral concerns: