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

Interfaith Work on Chemical Policy Reform Highlighted in Tikkun.org Blog

Amanda Quraishi, member of the Austin Muslim community and a Texas Impact member, recently highlighted the Texas faith community's work on chemical policy reform in her article, "Eco-Friendly Faith," on Tikkun.org.  She writes, "As Muslims, we understand that our submission to God is intrinsically tied to the way we treat His gift of life on this planet.  A peaceful, gentle reverence for plants, animals and landscapes are part of the fabric of our religion and translate beautifully through Islam’s strong foundation of social justice and activism.  Therefore, the environmental movement is one area where Muslims can make a huge contribution to society at large, and to productive interfaith dialogue."

Amanda Robinson, Coordinator of Texas Interfaith Power and Light, is quoted in the article as saying, "The world’s great religious traditions all speak of care for the earth and its creatures. In the Abrahamic traditions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – there is a call to guardianship and care of creation. In the Eastern traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, there is a profound sense of the interconnectedness of all life on earth. Although our traditions use different terms, the message on this subject is the same – it is a unified call for humans to care for the environment."  Click here to read the full post, "Eco-Friendly Faith."

Click here to read the full text of the "Interfaith Statement for Chemical Policy Reform."

Click here to endorse the statement.

Texas Interfaith Environmental Conference Call for June, 2010

To support and connect local faith-based environmental networks and creation care teams, we are hosting regular conference calls to discuss Texas environmental stewardship and policy in an interfaith context. This month's call will focus on the Gulf oil spill, natural gas drilling in North Texas, and the ongoing Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) sunset review process. To find out more, receive an agenda or RSVP for the call, e-mail Amanda Robinson at amanda@texasimpact.org.

Interfaith Environmental Call
Thursday, June 17, 2010
1:30-2:30pm Central
Phone Number: (605) 475-4900
Access Code: 910688

The Gulf Oil Spill: Thoughts, Prayers and Resources

The trauma of the Gulf oil spill began with fiery images of an explosion at sea in which eleven people tragically lost their lives. Today the news images focus on oil-covered beaches and birds, frustrated families along the coast who see their way of life disappearing, and computer-generated animation that shows how the oil might spread out into the open waters of the Atlantic.

In the face of this human and environmental catastrophe, people can experience a range of emotional responses—from shock and disbelief to grief, frustration and anger. As people of faith, we turn to our religious traditions and communities seeking wisdom, solace and opportunities to serve.

To those ends, we have compiled some resources from different religious traditions below—resources that include information, reflection and prayer.

We hope that these will be helpful for you and your community of faith. If you have a prayer, resource or link to share, please e-mail Amanda. (Hint: we would love to be able to add a Texas sermons section to this page.)

Denominational Resources

Essays and Blogs

Alliance for a Clean Texas Conference Call

Texans expect our environmental agency--the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to protect our health. Right now, TCEQ often falls short of these expectations due to lax enforcement of existing clean air and water laws.  Recently, TCEQ has been in the news as being under scrutiny from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as having given inaccurate air quality information to the city and public of Fort Worth.

Right now is a good time to get involved in the state agency review of TCEQ.  On Thursday, June 10th, the Alliance for a Clean Texas (ACT), of which Texas Impact is a founding member, is hosting a conference call to provide information about the review of TCEQ and ways to get involved.

When: June 10th, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Call-in number: 866-501-6174

Access code: 31794011892

You can get more information about the call, the issues, and links to current news on ACT's website.  You can also follow ACT on facebook.

June Is "Get Outdoors Month"

Did you know that June 12th, 2010 is National Get Outdoors Day? Throughout June, events are being held around Texas and throughout the country to encourage us to get outside, explore, and enjoy the blessings and beauty of nature. What better way to celebrate God's creation and to care for the Earth and our health, than to get outdoors and take a child or two with you!

Also, when you're out and about in Texas, please be sure to take a picture and send it to our "Deep in My Heart" project.

Follow these links for more information about National Get Outdoors Day and Let's Move Outside!

Texas Catholic Conference Earth Day Column

Texas Catholic Conference Associate Director Jennifer Carr Allmon gives a Catholic perspective for Earth Month in the newest edition of Capitol Comments, TCC's online newsletter.

Protect Creation and Care for the Poor

"Going green” is all the rage these days. I have to admit that I feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose when I’m rinsing out my yogurt container to recycle it or when I discover a new item to recycle. More cities are offering streamlined recycling programs, celebrities are doing public service announcements, cloth diapering is making a comeback, and the Vatican has installed solar panels. Why is the Church getting into all this hype? Pope Benedict XVI’s answer is, "If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation.” This is the theme of his 2010 message for the World Day of Peace.

Read the whole column

Earth Day, 2010: Let's Celebrate

This year marks Earth Day’s 40th birthday, and Texas Impact staff will be at events throughout the state in April to celebrate! Listed below are some of the events that we plan to attend and we hope you will stop by to say hello. We’ll have information and resources on hand to help you and your congregation better care for creation.  We'll also have a friendly Texas smile waiting for you.

Here’s a fun idea for celebrating Earth Day: look through your old pictures of outdoor fun in Texas and send us a copy of your favorite photo for our Deep In My Heart Project.  We’re receiving some really great pictures of Texas and Texans, and can’t wait to see yours. The photos will be displayed in the Capitol building for the start of the 2011 legislative session as a tangible reminder of our love for this part of creation.

Upcoming Events:

Is your congregation planning an Earth Day event? We’d love to hear about it! You can comment on this story below, or send us an email with the details.

More Events around the State:

  • Austin Heights Baptist Church Earth Care Ministry is hosting a free screening of the film: Food, Inc. at the Cole Art Center @ the Old Opera House in Nacogdoches, TX on Thursday April 22 at 6:30 p.m. with a panel discussion to follow the film. Healthy snacks will be served.

  • Friday, April 23rd, the First Presbyterian Church, Kerrville is hosting a concert in celebration of Earth Day--it will feature several choirs and instrumentalists from the community performing music in praise of God's Creation.

Coming Soon to North Texas Homes: Solar Leases

Residents of North Texas will soon have a new option to install PV solar panels on their homes without paying thousands of dollars up-front for installation! TXU and Solar City have teamed up to provide a plan whereby homeowners lease solar panels for 15 years. The program provides many of the benefits of PV solar – including greater climate stewardship, security against volatile electricity prices, and stimulating growth of the green energy economy in Texas – without the daunting up-front costs of purchasing and installing the panels.
Unfortunately, with the way the plan is structured now, it is not available for houses of worship or other nonprofits. If your house of worship is interested in installing a PV solar array, be sure to read the Texas Impact/ Texas Interfaith Power & Light publication Going Solar: A Congregational Guide to Photovoltaic Solar Energy!
The TXU-Solar City program costs approximately $35 per month for a 4kw system, which Solar City has estimated could reduce the electric bill for a 3 or 4 bedroom home by 15-20 percent. The monthly rate rises 2.5 percent per year, far less than the nearly 3.5 percent average increase in residential electricity prices in Texas over the last 15 years.* At the end of the lease, the homeowner has the option to buy the system, renew the lease, upgrade with a newer system, or simply have the panels removed. Homeowners do not have to be TXU customers to participate in the program, but they do need to live in the Oncor service area.
For more information, read the article "Get solar panels installed for free through TXU program" in the Forth Worth Star Telegram.

* From 1995 to 2009, the average residential price of electricity in Texas rose from 7.71 cents/kwh to 12.9 cents/kwh, an average annual increase of over 3.49%. Energy Information Agency Electric Power Annual 2007. State Data Tables 1990-2007.

National Preach-In on Global Warming

This February, join with clergy across the country in calling for more love for the planet! Interfaith Power and Light invites faith leaders to preach about global warming on Valentine’s Day weekend, February 13-14, 2010.  When you sign up online, you will receive lectionary resources and sample sermons to help you prepare.  Resources will be available for a number of different faith traditions.

Registered congregations will also receive Valentine’s Day postcards for members to send in to Senators, encouraging them to love their neighbors by passing a strong climate bill this year.  Click here to get more information and to register for the national preach-in.

(Photo "Earth From Space With Stars" by User DonkeyHotey used under a Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial License.)