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

Staff Member Amanda Robinson Tapped for National Leadership

Amanda Yaira Robinson Joins GreenFaith's National Fellowship Program 

Amanda Yaira Robinson, Coordinator of Texas Interfaith Power & Light, the environmental program of Texas Impact, has been named a GreenFaith Fellow and will join the 2012 Class of the GreenFaith Fellowship Program. Robinson will join a class of 25 Fellows from diverse religious backgrounds. The Fellows represent over ten religious denominations, including Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Evangelical, Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant, and Unitarian Universalist. 

"I look forward to the opportunity to deepening my training in religious environmentalism and to helping create an environmentally just and sustainable world," Robinson said.

"We're thrilled to welcome Amanda to the program," said Rev. Fletcher Harper, GreenFaith's Executive Director. "We look forward to working with her to support her growth as a religious-environmental leader."

Through three residential retreats, monthly webinars, and extensive reading, Robinson will receive education and training in eco-theology, "greening" the operation of institutions, environmental advocacy, and environmental justice. Each Fellow writes their own eco-theological statement and carries out a leadership project in their community, mobilizing religious leaders in relation to an environmental issue.

About GreenFaith
GreenFaith is an interfaith environmental coalition whose mission is to educate and mobilize diverse religious communities for environmental leadership. Founded in 1992, GreenFaith is a leader in the fast-growing religious-environmental movement and has won national and international recognition for its work. For more information, see www.greenfaith.org.

Statement on the Keystone XL from Interfaith Power & Light

The national office of Interfaith Power & Light recently released this statement about the propsed Keystone XL oil pipeline. Here in Texas, we are coordinating a religious response to the pipeline. If you would like to be involved in any way, including attending and/or testifying at the State Department public hearings (September 26th in Port Arthur or September 28th in Austin), please let us know.

Keystone XL Tar Sands Oil Pipeline Not in the National Interest

Statement from the Rev. Cn. Sally Bingham, Interfaith Power & Light President

“Interfaith Power & Light strongly opposes the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline on moral grounds because of the extraordinary threat to the global climate, the environment, and to America’s water and food supply. An energy policy that moves the nation toward an even dirtier and more dangerous form of oil, and involves such devastation of God’s Creation, represents a profound moral failure.

“It is misleading for the U.S. State Department to call its latest draft the ‘final’ Environmental Impact Statement prior to the completion of the public input process. There are many important environmental, economic, health, and security implications that must be fully examined, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has promised. Interfaith Power & Light sees several reasons why this project is not in the national interest and feels that full consideration of these concerns must not be short-circuited.

“While the project is being framed as a solution to America’s energy needs, the pipeline is actually aimed at America’s Gulf ports and global export. The project will deliver to the world’s markets very dirty, very difficult to extract oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada. Tar sands oil emits up to 82% more carbon pollution than conventional oil according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Leading scientists have registered their opposition to this project, stating that exploiting the tar sands, on top of conventional fossil fuels, will ‘leave our children and grandchildren a climate system with consequences that are out of their control.’ How the report can then conclude the project will have ‘no significant impacts’ defies common sense. We don’t have to do this. The new fuel economy standards for cars and trucks proposed by the Administration will save an estimated 2.5 million barrels of oil a day by 2030 – more than double the amount this pipeline will deliver, and without the risk. As Americans and people of faith, how can we allow this to happen? God gave us the responsibility to be good stewards of Creation and to love our neighbors both local and global.

“All citizens in all impacted localities must have a chance to weigh in during the State Department public hearings in September and October. What new insights will be revealed? The proposed path of the pipeline runs directly over and through nation’s largest aquifer. The Ogallala Aquifer provides 30% of America’s drinking water and irrigates the nation’s Midwest and southern farms — a region known as America’s Breadbasket because it produces so much of our nation’s food.

“Proponents are quick with reassurances of safety and reliability, but TransCanada’s Keystone I has experienced a dozen leaks in its first year, including this spring’s 500-barrel gusher in North Dakota, which forced the Obama administration to shut it down. A similar oil pipeline ruptured in the Yellowstone River last month, spilling 42,000 gallons of crude oil that has contaminated the once pristine waterway for 80 miles. All of this in the wake of the Gulf tragedy makes one wonder, when will we learn that oil and water don’t mix? Risking contamination to our precious water and food resources is morally irresponsible.

“This project undermines American values and global leadership on the issue of climate and environment, and jeopardizes life on the planet. We look to President Obama to lead America into a time of exciting and hopeful change fueled by a clean and sustainable energy future for this and generations to come.”

###

Interfaith Power & Light is mobilizing a religious response to global warming in more than 14,000 congregations through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.
www.interfaithpowerandlight.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2011
Contact: Andrée Duggan
Interfaith Power & Light
(415) 561-4891 x11
andree at theregenerationproject dot org

September Interfaith Environmental Conference Call: A Look at Fracking

Our September interfaith environmental conference call is scheduled for Wednesday, September 21st at 12:00 p.m. On this call, we'll dig a little deeper into the process of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, or "fracking," with two notable guest speakers. We are excited to have Matt Watson, Senior Energy Policy Specialist for the Environmental Defense Fund; and Lois Finkelman, a community leader in Dallas with a long history of public service--as a teacher in public and private schools, urban planner, Dallas City Council member, and president of the Dallas Parks and Recreation Board. She currently serves as Chair of the City of Dallas' Gas Drilling Task Force.

As always, we will have some time for callers to ask questions, share ideas and connect.

September Interfaith Environmental Conference Call

     Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

     Dial-in number: (712) 432-3066 

     Conference Code: 424548

To RSVP for the call, receive a copy of the call's agenda or request notes from the call, please e-mail Amanda. Feel free to invite others to participate!

In our monthly environmental calls, we seek to connect faith leaders around the state who are engaged in the work of caring for Creation; provide updates about environmental legislation and advocacy opportunities; keep you current on new programs and initiatives; and create a space for sharing hopes and frustrations, plans and ideas, stories and prayers.

TCEQ Website Offers Texans Computer Recycling Options

With back-to-school shopping lists in hand, many Texans are looking to replace their computers this semester. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's TexasRecyclesComputers.org website provides consumers with free options to recycle their computers.

Thanks to a state law, computer manufacturers that sell in, or into, Texas must offer their consumers a free and convenient recycling program for personal and home-business computers. Reusing and recycling conserves natural resources by recovering valuable components and materials that can be used to make new products. Once a computer manufacturer submits a plan for recycling that is approved by the TCEQ, they can be added to the manufacturers list maintained on TexasRecyclesComputers.org.

At the easy-to-use site, consumers select their computer brand on the list, and then click on the manufacturer's name to be redirected to the manufacturer's recycling Web page. If a manufacturer is not on the list, TexasRecyclesComputers.org has other resources available to help recycle old computers. The website also contains downloadable resources to help promote computer recycling, such as ready-to-go articles and banner ads.

TexasRecyclesComputers.org is part of the state's computer recycling program, created by House Bill 2714 in the 80th Legislative Session.

 

August Interfaith Conference Call: Keystone XL Pipeline & 2011 Cool Congregations Challenge

Our August interfaith environmental conference call is scheduled for Wednesday, August 24th at 12:00 p.m. On this call, we'll cover two important topics: the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would bring heavy oil from Canada's tar sands to Houston, and this year's Cool Congregations Challenge.

For the Cool Congregations Challenge, we'll share information about how to enter and what prizes are available, and some ideas for ways to get things done in congregations. Bill Carter, a member of Parker Lane United Methodist Church in Austin, will talk about his experience of coordinating a rainwater collection system and doing erosion control work in congregations.

At 12:30 p.m., Ian Davis, Senior Regional Organizing Manager for the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, will join our call to brief us on the Keystone XL pipeline currently under consideration by the U.S. State Department.

We'll explore some of its potential environmental and human ramifications, if approved, and ways that Texans of faith can raise our voices on this important matter. The State Department is planning to hold two hearings about the Keystone XL project in Texas this September--one in Austin and one in Port Arthur; we'll have information about how you and your congregation can participate.

As always, we will have some time for callers to ask questions, share ideas and connect.

August Interfaith Environmental Conference Call

     Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

     Dial-in number: (712) 432-3066 

     Conference Code: 424548

To RSVP for the call, receive a copy of the call's agenda or request notes from the call, please e-mail Amanda. Feel free to invite others to participate!

In our monthly environmental calls, we seek to connect faith leaders around the state who are engaged in the work of caring for Creation; provide updates about environmental legislation and advocacy opportunities; keep you current on new programs and initiatives; and create a space for sharing hopes and frustrations, plans and ideas, stories and prayers.

Canada’s Tar Sands and the Keystone XL Pipeline: What Faithful Texans Need to Know

The U.S. State Department is currently considering whether to approve a request from TransCanada to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, that would carry bitumen 1,661 miles from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada down to Houston, Texas. In September, the State Department plans to hold public hearings in the states through which the pipeline would run. Two hearings will be in Texas: one in Port Arthur on Monday, September 26th; and one in Austin on Wednesday, September 28th.

The mining of this kind of oil in Canada’s pristine boreal forests is incredibly destructive for habitat, wildlife and human life—and it significantly increases greenhouse gas emissions at a critical time in our effort to combat global warming. In addition, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would run through environmentally-sensitive areas in the U.S., including the Ogallala Aquifer. The Ogallala provides 30% of the groundwater for American agriculture—as well as about 80% of the drinking water for people who live within the aquifer’s boundary; a spill here would be disastrous.

We’ve created this page to be a resource for you and your faith community to use as we engage on this important issue. As more information becomes available, we will update this page. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page for ways to take action.

What’s Going On in Canada?

Mining of Canada’s tar sands for oil is driven largely by U.S. demand: 99% of Canada’s oil exports go to the U.S., and half of that (1 million barrels per day) is oil produced from Alberta’s tar sands deposits. The links below will help you learn about this environmentally-sensitive region of Canada’s boreal forests and the impacts of mining there:

About the Boreal forest

About tar sands mining, a 2009 National Geographic feature

What about the Keystone XL pipeline?

Explanatory video from the National Wildlife Federation’s Action Fund

Interfaith Power & Light Statement on Tar Sands

Austin's Interfaith Environmental Network Statement on Keystone XL

Twenty Prominent Scientists Urge President Obama to Reject Keystone XL

Article in the Los Angeles Times about some Texans’ response to the pipeline

Map of proposed pipeline route in Texas

Take Action

Attend our interfaith prayer service in Austin, Wednesday, September 28th at 10:30 a.m.

Submit your comments about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline online.

Read and sign on to the Texas Jewish Leaders' Statement on the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.

Call President Obama and ask him to say “No” to the Keystone XL pipeline: 202-456-1111.

Other ideas: Write a letter to the editor of your local paper or host an educational forum at your congregation. Please contact us for more ways to take action, and stay tuned here for updates.

Water Tips for Your Home and Congregation

It is always good to save water, but especially now when we're in the middle of a severe drought. To help you and your congregation focus on and conserve this precious, life-giving resource, we've compiled some ideas, organized into four categories: Stewardship, Worship, Instruction & Mission (SWIM). If you have other resources or ideas to share, please let us know!

Stewardship

  • Fix leaky faucets, pipes, and toilets (they can waste 20 to 200 gallons of water each day!).
  • Install low-flow faucets, toilets, and showerheads.
  • Install motion-activated water faucets on sinks.
  • Use native and drought-tolerant grasses and plants. These require less watering and maintenance. (Lawns use up to 20 times more water than native and drought-resistant species.)
  • Mulch flowerbeds and gardens to prevent water loss due to evaporation. 
  • Use drip and soaker hoses. 
  • Compost. 
  • Water early in the morning or late in the evening to prevent evaporation.
  • Aerate the lawn to save water and improve soil health without chemicals.
  • Wash with non-phosphate detergents. Nontoxic, biodegradable, and phosphate-free cleaning agents help to reduce algae growth that suffocates fish and other aquatic life. 
  • Use car washes that recycle water instead of washing your car at home.
  • Install a rainwater collection system.
  • Eliminate bottled water.
  • Instead of pouring half-filled glasses of water down the drain, collect that water in a pot and use to water plants.
  • Keep a plastic bucket in the bathroom to collect the water that runs as your shower water is heating. Use this water to flush the toilet, water plants, fill the bird bath, etc.
  • Use less electricity. Generating electricity requires a lot of water.

Worship

  • Preach about water.
  • Include water as a focus in the service, and highlight its importance.
  • Consider having a water communion service.

Instruction

  • Include information about conserving water in educational programs for people of all ages.
  • Host a community-wide forum at your congregation. Some possibilities include: invite speakers from the local water utility and other organizations dealing with water issues; provide information to friends and neighbors about conserving water; distribute faucet aerators.

Mission

  • Collect donations of faucet aerators and distribute them to local people in need.
  • Involve the youth group in making water-efficiency upgrades to the congregation's building and grounds.
  • Work with the local utility to get water conservation information out to the public.
  • Be involved in public conversations in your area about keeping local water supplies clean and protected for future generations.

Texas Interfaith Power & Light on the Radio!

On Thursday, June 30, 2011, Texas Impact Executive Director Bee Moorhead and Texas Interfaith Power & Light (TXIPL) Coordinator Amanda Robinson spoke as guests on the "Shades of Green Energy" radio show on KOOP 91.7 FM in Austin. The show is archived for listening here.

Host John Hoffner asked Bee about the interfaith nature of Texas Impact's work, its approach, and the people and communities involved. Bee also spoke about the 82nd session of the Texas Legislature and how some new programs will help strengthen community-government partnerships.

In Amanda's interview, the conversation focused on interfaith religious environmentalism and the educational and outreach work of both TXIPL and the national organization, Interfaith Power & Light.

You can listen to the interview online here.

Take the Cool Congregations Challenge!

ccc-wp

What's more exciting than a contest? Summer is a great time for congregations to prepare an entry for the 2011 Cool Congregations Challenge, a contest with prizes to recognize congregations who care about Creation and the climate.

Top cash prizes of $1,000 will go to winning contestants in four categories: energy efficiency, renewable energy, grounds and water conservation, and inspiring congregants to lower energy use at home. 

Projects of any size completed in the last year between October 20, 2010 and October 20, 2011 qualify, and there's no fee to enter. Entries are due by October 20, 2011. 

Cool Congregations Challenge is sponsored by Interfaith Power & Light, which works in over 10,000 congregations and has affiliates in 38 states and Washington, D.C. Texas IPL is based in Austin, TX. IPL promotes stewardship of Creation by responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy.

July Interfaith Conference Call: The Texas Drought

This month, we take on the Texas drought. Jennifer Walker, Water Resources Specialist for the Sierra Club, will join our call to provide an overview of the situation; explore how the drought is affecting different areas, people and ecosystems; and answer your questions. We will also explore ways that congregations can conserve water and help others in our communities.

As always, we will have some time for callers to ask questions, share ideas and connect.

 

July Interfaith Environmental Conference Call

     Wednesday, July 27, 2011, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

     Dial-in number: (712) 432-3066 

     Conference Code: 424548

To RSVP for the call, receive a copy of the call's agenda or request notes from the call, please e-mail Amanda. Feel free to invite others to participate in these calls!

In our monthly environmental calls, we seek to connect faith leaders around the state who are engaged in the work of caring for creation; provide updates about environmental legislation and advocacy opportunities; keep you current on new programs and initiatives; and create a space for sharing hopes and frustrations, plans and ideas, stories and prayers.

Pages