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

Austin Clergy Climate Connection

A Dialogue on Austin Clergy Response to Climate Change and the Environment

February 18, 2008, 8:00AM to Noon, Congregation Beth Israel, 3800 Shoal Creek Boulevard, Austin, Texas


  • Rabbi Steve Folberg, Congregation Beth Israel
  • Reverend Sam Riccobene, First Presbyterian Church
  • Reverend Tina Carter, The Rock United Methodist Church


  • Texas Impact/Texas Interfaith Power & Light
  • Austin Area Interreligious Ministries

Every day we see more information about the religious community getting involved in environmental issues. There are many who would say the environment is the defining issue facing faith communities today. But exactly how and where do we fit in?

How can concern for God's earth flow out of a religious life?

How does one preach about climate change and the environment to a congregation that may not welcome hearing about these issues?

What’s going on in the public and private sectors and how should faith communities relate to those initiatives?

Should congregations pursue environmental issues as a political activity?

Does working on environmental initiatives come at the expense of the more traditional types of work of faith communities?

How does one create opportunities for congregants to work on environmental issues within the faith community, in their own homes and in the community at large?

How can we as clergy work effectively given limited resources and the enormity of the problems? And how can we feel strengthened and hopeful in light of the urgency of the threats facing our planet?

A dialogue on these issues will provide our Austin clergy community an opportunity to come together to share our experiences, learn from each other, highlight our commonalities and goals, and find a path where, together, we can seek change.


8:00 Breakfast

8:30 Welcome and Introduction

8:45 Discussion: Faith Communities and the Environment.
Moderated by Rabbi Steve Folberg, Congregation Beth Israel

9:30 Panel Discussion: Opportunities to Lead, Opportunities to Serve. Austin Climate Protection Plan; State Energy Efficiency and Green Power Opportunities; Issues at the State and National Levels

10:30 Break

10:45 State of the Congregations: Small Group Discussions on What Austin Congregations are doing Today

11:30 Reports from Small Groups and Next Steps

12:00 Lunch

Confirmed speakers include Austin Mayor Will Wynn and TXIPL Executive Director Bee Moorhead.


To make a reservation please email cara@texasimpact.org.
For more information, call Texas Interfaith Power & Light/Texas Impact at 472-3903, or visit us online at www.txipl.org

Dallas Morning News Coverage of North Texas Methodist Green Power Purchase

Submitted by Bee on Thu, 2008-01-03 11:08

Methodist churches unite to buy green energy

180 North Texas UMCs will boost windmill-driven power

08:20 PM CST on Friday, December 21, 2007

By SAM HODGES / The Dallas Morning News

In an apparently unprecedented move for a large religious group, United Methodist churches of North Texas have joined forces to buy "green" electricity generated by windmills in the western part of the state.

Hats off to Illinois Interfaith Power & Light

Submitted by Bee on Thu, 2008-01-03 11:03

We're used to everything being bigger in Texas, but today TXIPL salutes our colleagues at Illinois IPL and the faith communities they work with for winning our friendly competition to see which state could generate the most sales on ShopIPL during our first six months of operation. Illinois IPL and their parent organization Faith in Place generated double TXIPL's sales on IPL's energy efficiency webstore, and they celebrated today by donating 500 CFLs to a congregational outreach ministry to be distributed to low-income seniors.


Religious Coalitions Call Global Warming Bill “A Significant Step” in Addressing Global Warming

Submitted by Guest (not verified) on Thu, 2007-12-06 17:54

In a joint letter to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D - Calif), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, four major religious coalitions, representing millions of Americans, welcomed the work of lawmakers to highlight the urgency of global warming and take immediate action to address it.

Senate Committee Approves Landmark Global Warming Legislation

Submitted by Guest (not verified) on Thu, 2007-12-06 17:03

The first global warming bill taken up by Congress in more than 20 years passed out of committee yesterday with a vote of 11 to eight. Bill authors John Warner (R-VA) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) staved off attempts by opponents to weaken the historic legislation during a committee mark up session Wednesday. More than 150 amendments were offered in an effort to protect both the environment and the economy.

Exciting Energy Efficiency in Our Capitol City

Submitted by Guest (not verified) on Wed, 2007-10-17 10:23

The city of Austin is undertaking some far-reaching energy efficiency goals for new home construction. Here is an except from the Austin-American Statesman:


By 2015, Austin plans to tighten its building codes so new homes will use 65 percent less electricity and gas than those under construction today. "I haven't seen any other city ... with such a long-term vision as this. It's aggressive, but it looks very doable," said Aleisha Khan, executive director of the Building Codes Assistance Project, part of
the Washington-based Alliance to Save Energy...

The objective of Austin's plan is to make homes "zero-energy capable": energy efficient enough that it is cost-effective to install solar panels or other on-site electricity generation such as wind turbines. Without the energy efficiency improvements, the benefit of on-site generation is lost through leaky ducts and windows.

DIY Holiday Lightbulb Kits for Hanukkah and Advent

The first Sunday of Advent is December 4, 2007. Hanukkah begins December 14. Deepen your observation of Advent or Hanukkah by connecting these ancient candle-lighting traditions to environmental stewardship with Texas Interfaith Power & Light's study guides, One for Each Night (Hanukkah) and Preparing for a New Light (Advent). Each study guide includes scripture passages, prayers, and information on energy and the environment.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Like the stories of light behind our holidays, the gift of CFLs continues to give back all year long by saving energy, pollution, and money. Replacing five incandescent bulbs with five CFLs will save approximately $53 a year on energy bills and prevent about 935 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution from release to the atmosphere. Changing eight bulbs will save approximately $84 a year and prevent about 1,496 pounds of CO2 pollution. That's a lot of gelt!

Texas Interfaith Power & Light provides the guide, you provide the CFLs.
You’ll need a new CFL for each night of candle-lighting and the corresponding study guide. Follow these easy steps to start a new holiday tradition in your own home, or make CFL Holiday kits to give to friends and family.

Make Your Own Holiday CFL Kits in Five Easy Steps

  1. Download the guide for your celebration: One For Each Night (Hanukkah), Preparing For a New Light (Advent)
  2. Purchase the requisite number of Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs-- eight for Hanukkah and five for Advent. You can purchase the most popular wattage CFLs online for about $3.15 each (plus shipping) at ShopIPL.org. Click here to go right to the CFL page and be sure to enter the discount code (ShopIPL) at checkout to take the TXIPL 10% discount. ShopIPL is also a great resource for LED holiday light strings. You can also purchase CFLs at a local store.
  3. Wrap it up. If you are giving the kits as gifts, you will want to keep with the theme by choosing a wrap that is useful or can be recycled easily. We recommend a cloth grocery bag. If you are using the kit in your own home and do not need to wrap it, simply store your CFLs until it’s time to begin your celebration.
  4. Celebrate. After lighting the menorah or Advent wreath, choose a location for your new CFL and install it. Read that night’s selection from the Study Guide. And don’t forget the light bulb jokes!
  5. Don’t stop there. Let the new light bulb be just the beginning of your action. Think about other little things you could do for the Earth in preparation for the holidays.

For more information on CFLs, click here.

Please call or email TXIPL if you have questions or suggestions.