Focus the Nation,
a national initiative to educate about and involve people with the fight
against climate change, is coming up January 30 – 31, 2008.
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
Focus the Nation,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Download the guide for your celebration: One For Each Night (Hanukkah), Preparing For a New Light (Advent)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
Please call or email TXIPL if you have questions or suggestions.
It turns out energy efficiency IS a competitive sport!
We told you about ShopIPL.org, our new online energy store that makes EnergyStar products available to your congregation and its members at a discount. Now we want to tell you about a little competition between TXIPL and our good friends at Illinois Interfaith Power & Light.
The winner of this competition is the state that generates the most ShopIPL sales (and thus the most energy efficiency) between now and the end of the year. TXIPL will donate 500 compact fluorescent lightbulbs to the food pantry of choice for whichever congregation racks up the most sales (measured in dollars) from ShopIPL.org.
Tired of hawking breakfast tacos to raise money for mission trips? Sell energy and water conservation products instead through ShopIPL’s congregational fundraiser program. Contact email@example.com to find out how.
New on ShopIPL for the holidays: LED holiday light strings! LED lights are safer and significantly more energy efficient than incandescent light strings.
FAQ about the Challenge
Does the congregation have to make the purchase, or can I do it on my own?
You can make the purchase as an individual—just make sure you identify your congregation when prompted in the check-out process.
How can I make sure my congregation gets proper credit?
When you make a purchase, be sure to choose your congregation’s name from the drop-down list. Don’t see your congregation on the list? Let us know and we’ll add it right away!
Who’s winning so far?
We are, but don’t get cocky.
The North Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church helped make environmental stewardship a reality for its member congregations through a new electric aggregation contract with Hudson Energy Systems.
Under the contract, which takes effect January 1, 2008, all participating congregations will be receiving 10 percent of their electricity from Texas renewable energy generators. The contract allows individual churches to request an even higher percentage of green power from Hudson Energy at a small additional cost.
Does your faith community do something special to conserve, protect, or preserve the Texas environment? If so, it’s time for your group to apply for the Texas Environmental Excellence Awards (TEEAs).
The TEEAs celebrate the bold efforts of citizens, communities, businesses, and community and faith organizations to preserve and protect the Texas environment. By honoring these winners, the TCEQ hopes to encourage other citizens to initiate like-minded projects and reinforce a spirit of environmental stewardship.
Recommended by a blue ribbon committee, the awards recognize outstanding, innovative environmental efforts in various categories. The TEEAs have told TXIPL that in most cases, faith groups should apply under the Civic/Non-profit category. Not sure you qualify? Check out the recommended criteria for the awards here.
The online application is easy to fill out at www.teea.org, but act now because the deadline for the 2008 awards is this Friday, October 26. Individuals and groups may also nominate others for this prestigious recognition.
Winners receive public recognition at a May 2007 banquet hosted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Winners also receive a feature video about their projects and a certificate by an acclaimed artist.