The economic rescue package that Congress passed in October includes significant tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements. It also extends tax credits for businesses and for the wind, solar and biodiesel industries in order to promote the development and use of environmentally sound technologies.
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
For the second year in a row, Texas Interfaith Power & Light has received a matching grant from the Tides Foundation to support our work with Texas congregations on energy, air pollution and global warming. We have until the end of 2008 to raise $10,000 as a 1:1 match for the grant.
Please consider making a contribution toward our goal! Click on the link below to make a secure online donation, or mail your check to:
Texas Interfaith Power & Light
221 East 9th Street #403
Austin, Texas 78701
If you can't stand the thought of doing yet another car wash or bake-sale, try selling compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and water conservation tools this year! Bright Ideas fundraising makes it easy for you to sell energy efficient products, which allow your youth group, mission team, or choir to raise money while protecting God's creation.
Bright Ideas works in conjunction with Texas Interfaith Power and Light (TXIPL) and ShopIPL.org, the online store of the Interfaith Power and Light movement. They provide high-quality energy efficient products at affordable prices for faith communities and their members.
Congregation Beth Israel in Austin took part in their first Bright Ideas fundraiser this February. Inspired by the concept of Tikkun Olam, or "repairing the world," the youth of the congregation went door-to-door and sold more than 300 light bulbs. Rabbi Steve Folberg of Congregation Beth Israel said of the fundraiser, "These bulbs last for more than five years and use 25% of the electricity of conventional bulbs. In addition, less electricity use means less sulfur, particulate matter, mercury, and global warming pollution in our atmosphere. [Using CFLs] is a way to show our love for God by protecting what God has created." This fundraiser has generated so much
interested that the congregation has ordered $1000 of merchandise and
will sell it at their Judaica store.
The United Methodist Women of Trinity United Methodist Church in
Arlington also participated in a Bright Ideas fundraiser. After
hearing about Texas Interfaith Power and Light at the UMW Legislative
Event, the women were inspired to take action on environmental
issues. To kick-off the fundraiser, the women brought in a speaker to
talk about environmental action; provided informational pamphlets about
xeriscaping, water conservation, and energy savings; and convinced
Wal-Mart to donate cloth bags for grocery shopping. The UMWs are
excited to continue their efforts in environmental stewardship.
Texas Interfaith Power and Light would like to applaud these
congregations for all the extraordinary effort that its members give to
make their congregations greener. Thank you!
If you have any
questions about Texas Interfaith Power and Light, Bright Ideas
fundraiser, or renewable energy, please contact us at email@example.com or call us at 512-472-3903.
Bee Moorhead recently wrote a guest column for the Waco Triubne-Herald about steps that faith communities in Texas are taking to respond to global warming. She highlights the outstanding work of several Texas Impact and Texas Interfaith Power and Light member congregations. To read the full article, click here.
When Friends Meeting of Austin purchased the house of worship formerly occupied by St. James Episcopal Church in East Austin, they saw an opportunity to go green in a big way. For the sixty-year old congregation, becoming more energy efficient and environmentally conscious was simply an act of faith.
Since they moved to their new building in 2007, Friends Meeting of Austin (FMA) has taken numerous steps to ensure that they are a more energy efficient congregation. Most prominent is the 20 kilowatt solar system that was installed on the congregation's three buildings. FMA got help from the City of Austin's rebate program to cover the cost of installation, and believe that the solar panels will pay for themselves in less than 20 years. The Friends Meeting of Austin agrees that this step was a great investment and important step in becoming greener.
Furthermore, FMA has made several other improvements to their building to become more energy efficient. From tearing down paneling so they can better insulate the building, to tearing up the front lawn to find and fix a very leaky pipe, the Austin Friends have done it all.
Although FMA has received the most attention for their major solar project and large-scale efficiency upgrades, member Belle Zars thinks it’s all the "little things" that add up to make the most difference. FMA has taken on many energy projects that require little more than a change in mindset. This includes keeping the thermostat at 78 degrees when the building is in use (and turning it off otherwise), only using the main building when necessary, recycling and reducing trash, and limiting mowing and watering of the three-acre grounds. Bike racks have also been installed and members are encouraged to ride the bus or carpool to meeting.
Texas Interfaith Power and Light applauds Friends Meeting of Austin for all the extraordinary effort that its members give to make their congregation greener. Thank you!
And what about St. James Episcopal Church? They’ve moved into new digs and accomplished a number of impressive green initiatives of their own. Look for a feature on them coming soon!
Gulf Coast Cool Cities Campaign!
Team Formation Meetings in Greater Houston Area
Sierra Club and Texas Interfaith Power & Light are getting more cities on board the Cool Cities train!
We are expanding the Cool Cities campaign and forming teams in suburbs all around the Houston area. Be part of this positive, solutions-oriented campaign! Each team's charge is to ask its mayor to address global warming by embracing energy efficiency at the local level. This is an excellent first-time volunteer opportunity that has a specific objective and a limited time commitment.
You do not have to be a member of either organization to participate. No previous experience is necessary. We'll teach you everything you need to know.
RSVP is appreciated but not required. Contact Ann Drumm, firstname.lastname@example.org, 214-350-6108 or 214-675-0040 (cell).
During a speech yesterday in Washington that commemorated the 20 years since his declaration to the Senate that global warming had already begun, Jim Hansen, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, spoke out about cutting the level of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. Hansen argued that in order to stabilize the world's climate, the US must cut carbon dioxide emissions to 350 parts per million. This is 30 percent lower than a Senate bill that calls for a cap at 450 ppm, and lower than our current output of 385 ppm.
"I have greater than 99% confidence—99.9% confidence—that the dangerous level is no higher than 350 ppm, and that means we've already passed it," Hansen said.
Hansen called for a "zero-carbon society" and proposed a plan to limit emissions. Under his plan, oil, gas, coal, and other fossil fuels would be taxed at the point of sale. Proceeds would be distributed in dividend payments to individuals, which would encourage the sale of low-carbon cars, among other products.
In response to the recent talk about offshore drilling and expanded American oil production, Hansen was adamant that it is "exactly the wrong thing to do." He said that while short-term gains may be made, they would only continue to damage climate health in the long-term.
"It just extends your addiction slightly and guarantees we'll go past the tipping point of irreversible climate change," he says.
Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs, or CFLs, have been touted as a way to greatly reduce our electricity consumption.
Mercury in CFLs vs. Power Plants
There has been concern lately about mercury found in CFLs. While mercury is a concern, it is important to note that by using these bulbs, we are in fact helping to reduce our mercury output.
Currently, the amount of mercury released into our landfills from CFLs is negligible. Because of these bulbs’ long lifespan, only after 2010 will a majority of the CFLs currently in use need to be disposed of. At this time, it is estimated that roughly 80 to 100 million CFLs will be disposed of improperly. This number may sound considerable, but when you do the math, the amount of mercury in this large number of CFLs is only about 500 kilograms, or the
What’s the big deal about faith and the environment?
The news these days is full of “congregations caring for God’s creation.” But with all the other issues facing our world, is the environment really a top priority? How does environmental concern flow from a religious life? Do faith communities have a role to play in environmental policy? How can we maintain hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable environmental problems?
Let’s talk about it over lunch!
Come to the 7th Annual Peace with Justice Luncheon of the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church for a conversation with Bee Moorhead, Executive Director of Texas Impact and Texas Interfaith Power & Light. Joining Bee will be former Texas Public Utility Commissioner Karl Rábago.
12 noon – 2pm
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
THE LOFT, THE WOODLANDS UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
2200 LAKE WOODLANDS DRIVE,
THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS
$16.00 per person.
Reservation deadline is May 20, 2008. Please mail your check made out to the Texas Annual Conference UMC to:
10375 New Wedham Rd.
Brenham, TX 77833
For more information, call 979-830-5210 or email email@example.com
SPONSORED BY BOARD OF CHURCH & SOCIETY OF THE TEXAS ANNUAL CONFERENCE, UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
(Photo "Earth From Space With Stars" by User DonkeyHotey used under a Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial License.)
This year marks the first year that Texans can save money in two ways: in the short term thanks to a sales tax holiday on purchases of Energy Star products, and in the long term through energy savings from their use. The Texas Legislature established Texas' Energy Star sales tax holiday in 2007 as part of HB3693, a comprehensive energy efficiency bill which Texas religious communities helped to support. Texas is the fourth state to adopt an energy efficiency sales tax holiday.
The products qualifying for the exemption are:
- air conditioners priced under $6,000, both room and central units
- clothes washers, but not clothes dryers
- ceiling fans
- light bulbs (incandescent and fluorescent)
- programmable thermostats
- refrigerators priced under $2,000
Find out more HERE.