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

Free, Upgraded ENERGY STAR Performance Tool Launches July 17th

On July 17, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will launch a significant upgrade to the free, online Portfolio Manager tool with which voluntary program partners can generate EPA’s 1 -100 ENERGY STAR score. With new user-friendly features and functionality, including a major redesign of database architecture, system processing, Web services, and user interface, Portfolio Manager includes a module designed especially for worship facilities.

Portfolio Manager is the nation’s leading energy performance benchmarking and energy performance tracking tool, now used by over 70,000 account holders for more than 300,000 commercial facilities, and was recently adopted by the Canadian government. The familiar blue and white ENERGY STAR is now recognized by 87 percent of Americans.

After two years of user interviews, testing and redesign, Portfolio Manager users will enjoy simpler, more streamlined functionality, easier-to-generate colorful and graphical reports, as well as improved sharing features. The Portfolio Manager upgrade is explained via recorded webinars, fact sheets, slides and FAQ downloads at www.energystar.gov/pmupgrade

ENERGY STAR has scheduled a number of free webinars starting July 15 to provide training on the new Portfolio Manager interface, now posted for registration at https://esbuildings.webex.com/. These live training sessions will offer an in-depth orientation to the new tool and provide step-by-step instructions for benchmarking from expert trainers. Congregations may wish to identify your own “in-house” expert to receive sustained, regular training and support from ENERGY STAR.

Stay tuned for more information and updates!

Support a National Climate Action Plan: Information and Resources

On Tuesday, June 25, 2013, President Obama unveiled a historic Climate Action Plan that speaks of our moral obligation to address climate change on behalf of future generations. The President spoke about our "need to act" and asked "whether we'll have the courage to act before it's too late." 

The President's speech gives all of us the opportunity to highlight our concerns about climate change, and to advocate for action on the local, state, and national levels. Here are some resources to help you take action in support of a national Climate Action Plan and to educate others in your community.

See the Climate Action Plan

Full Transcript of President Obama's Speech

Ways to Take Action:

  • Write a letter to the editor using these tips.
  • Contact your senator and representative. Find their contact information here
  • Host a class, educational forum, or film screening at your congregation to encourage conversation and action around the need to take climate action. Access our preaching, teaching and thinking resources here.
  • Thank the President directly using the sample message below but feel free to personalize with your own words.

Send an email to: president@whitehouse.gov

Send a letter to:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Sample Letter to President Barack Obama

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your leadership in presenting a Climate Action Plan which includes cutting carbon pollution, transitioning to clean energy, and practicing energy efficiency. As a person of faith, I agree with you that climate change is a moral and spiritual issue. I will do everything that I can to support meaningful national action on climate change, and will make the necessary changes in my own life to reduce my carbon footprint. 

In addition, I accept your challenge to educate others within my congregation and community about the facts surrounding climate change and our responsibility to take action. Thank you, Mr. President, for lifting up climate change as a critical issue, and for promising to protect our children from catastrophic climate disruption.  

Leaving our children with a healthy world and a bright future is what’s at stake. I stand ready to do everything I can to help make your Climate Action Plan a reality.

Thank you,

Your name here

Cool Off in Community this June! Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas, San Marcos, & San Antonio IPL Forums

Many of our local TXIPL groups will take a summer break in July and August, but before they do, they have great forums lined up for the month of June! Read on for more info about June programs in Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas, San Marcos, and San Antonio.

Want to learn more, or help start a local TXIPL group in your area? Great! Please email us.

Tuesday, June 4th - Austin

"Coal, Health, and You" - Featuring Chris Masey, Executive Director of Austin's Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Dr. Elliot Trester, speaking about the effects of environmental degradation--especially coal and global warming--on human health. 7:00-8:30pm, Highland Park Baptist Church.

Monday, June 10th - Fort Worth

"Religion and the Environment" - Featuring a short video from the PBS "Religion and NewsEthics Weekly" program that highlights the work of Interfaith Power & Light, followed by Catholic and Jewish perspectives on caring for God's creation and conversation. All are welcome! 6:30-8:00pm, First Congregational UCC.

Monday, June 17th - Dallas

"Water Action for North Texas" - Join Dallas IPL for dinner and a round-table discussion about the findings from our recent conference on water issues in North Texas, and prepare to draft a letter in support of water recycling for the Dallas City Council. We need your input! Bring simple food to share, vegetarian preferred. 7:00-8:30pm, Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff.

Thursday, June 20th - San Marcos

"Creating San Marcos IPL: Next Steps" - In May, people came together for the first time from cities in Hays and Comal Counties to learn about building local, interfaith, environmental community. Now, we'll come together to determine next steps for real and hope-filled action. Please join us! 7:00-8:30pm, UCM Wesley Center.

Tuesday, June 25th - San Antonio

"Legislative Wrap-Up" - What happened with environmental issues like parks funding, food, and water during the recently-completed Texas legislative session? Join us to hear a summary from David Weinberg, Executive Director of the Texas League of Conservation Voters. All are welcome! 7:00-8:30pm, San Antonio Mennonite Church.

Need more information? Want to learn more? Email Yaira or give us a call: 512-472-3903.

State Energy Conservation Office "5-Five-25" Energy Efficiency Loan Program

The Texas State Energy Conservation Office’s LoanSTAR Pilot Program, “5-FIVE-25,” provides financing for energy-related cost-reduction retrofits for facilities owned and occupied by Community-Based and House of Worship non-profit organizations. This program provides low-interest rate loans to assist those institutions in financing their energy-related cost-reduction efforts. The program’s revolving loan mechanism allows successful Applicants to repay loans through the stream of energy cost savings realized from the projects.

Program Summary
The “5-FIVE-25” Pilot Program name is based on the loan structure: 5% interest rate, five-year loan repayment term, and $25,000 maximum loan amount. It is anticipated that Applicants will use the post-retrofit energy cost savings to repay the loan.

Applications are due June 28, 2013. The total budget allocation for this statewide program is $250,000.

Eligible Energy Cost Savings Projects
For the purposes of this application, examples of acceptable projects include:

  • Lighting and lighting controls
  • HVAC and related equipment
  • Energy management systems and equipment control automation

For more information and to apply, visit the SECO website.

Creating a Local, Interfaith Environmental Network in Hays & Comal County

Texas is a big state! In order to provide an effective religious response to our shared environmental challenges, we need local teams on the ground in cities and regions across the state. Texas Interfaith Power & Light (TXIPL) supports the development of local, interfaith environmental networks—and is coming to San Marcos to start the conversation.

Yaira Robinson, Associate Director of Texas Interfaith Power & Light (TXIPL), along with Rev. Brian Ferguson, minister of San Marcos Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, will offer a presentation on Thursday, May 9th about creating a local, interfaith environmental network in the Hays & Comal County area. Come be part of the conversation! Details are below.

Thursday, May 9, 2013, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
The UCM Wesley Center
510 N. Guadalupe St.

San Marcos, Texas 78666
(formerly St. Mark's Episcopal Church)

For a map and directions, click here.

To RSVP or ask questions, e-mail Yaira.

_____________________

Want to invite friends and colleagues? Great!

Here's some language you can use for an e-mail:

Dear friend,

I am writing to invite you to participate in a conversation about how the faith community can work together to create a local, interfaith environmental network in the Hays County area. Yaira Robinson, Associate Director of Texas Interfaith Power & Light (TXIPL), and Rev. Brian Ferguson, minister of San Marcos Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, will offer a presentation on Thursday, May 9th about local networks--and facilitate a discussion about how Hays & Comal County can faithfully organize around the environmental challenges we face.

Please join us, and invite others from your religious community!

Thursday, May 9, 2013, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
The UCM Wesley Center
510 N. Guadalupe St.
San Marcos, Texas 78666
(formerly St. Mark's Episcopal Church)

For more information, visit the TXIPL story about this opportunity: http://txipl.org/content/creating-local-interfaith-environmental-network-hays-comal-county

If you have questions, would like more information, or if you’re ready to RSVP, please e-mail Yaira: yaira@texasinterfaith.org. Thank you,

Your name here

Local TXIPL Groups, at Earth Day Events around the State!

For Texas Interfaith Power and Light (TXIPL), every day is Earth Day! Every day is a day to celebrate the natural wonders of the planet we share, and to increase awareness of the impact our actions have on God’s creation. But April 22 is especially significant because it’s Earth Day, a day to unite as members of the global community in order to celebrate the Earth and remember our obligation to protect it.

Did you know? Nearly 200 countries across the globe are expected to participate in Earth Day activities this year. TXIPL and its local affiliates will be joining the global community by participating in Earth Day events around the state:

In Austin, the Interfaith Environmental Network will be attending the Austin Earth Day Festival, where they will host a workshop and presentation on the launch of their new climate manual for religious congregations. Information about the event can be found here.

In Dallas, Dallas IPL will be participating in the Oak Cliff Earth Day Festival where there will be shows, information sessions, and all kinds of fun for all. An informational booth will be set up to learn more about the local chapter. For more information contact Genny Rowley.

In Fort Worth, Fort Worth IPL will have booth space at the free, solar powered Fort Worth Prairie Fest on April 27th, which offers unique outdoor adventures for children and families along with tasty food and live music. Learn more on Facebook or contact Rev. Paul John Roach for more information.

Join the action! Is your congregation doing something to celebrate? Let us know!

Take Action on the Keystone XL Pipeline - Send Your Comments

Last year, thanks to pressure from people of faith all across the U.S., President Obama refused to issue a permit for the Keystone XL and directed the State Department to conduct a thorough study on its environmental impacts, including climate change.

Now the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) is out, but it only seriously investigated the regional climate change impacts of the pipeline itself and not how the increased use of carbon-intensive oil would impact global climate change.

An assessment that ignores or brushes aside the impact of tar sands development on global climate change is woefully inadequate. We need your help.

Click here to send your comment to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

For background on the issue, explore the links below:

Statements by faith and science leaders on the Keystone XL

Send your comments by April 22nd (Earth Day!) here: http://bit.ly/Yc8p5T

If you have questions or would like more information, please e-mail Yaira.

Keep Texas Parks Open - 2013 Tour

In Super, Natural Christians: How We Should Love Nature, Dr. Sallie McFague writes, “We will not save what we do not love, and we cannot love what we do not know.” Our Texas state parks system helps people across the state get to know nature and come to love the rocks, streams, lakes, trees, beaches and wetlands of this beautiful piece of earth we call Texas. Experiencing and appreciating the gifts of nature encourages us to care for God's creation.

We are partnering with the Keep Texas Parks Open initiative to bring a series of educational programs to communities around the state. At these town halls, we'll focus on the Texas state parks system, how it might be impacted by budget cuts, and how we can help protect our parks for future generations.

The town halls in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio will include a religious leader as part of the panel presentation. For a full list of all town hall locations and dates, click here.

Dallas: Monday, March 18, 2013, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
University Park United Methodist Church,
Fellowship Hall
4024 Caruth Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75225
 
Houston: Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Grand Hall, Rice University Memorial Center
6100 Main St.
Houston, TX 77005
 
San Antonio: Monday, April 29, 2013, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
University Presbyterian Church (SoL Center)
300 Bushnell Ave.
San Antonio, TX 78212

These events are free and open to the public; people of all faiths--and no faith--are welcome! Contact Yaira with any questions.

The Sabbath, Creation Care and Self-Care - This April in Austin, Featuring Dr. Matthew Sleeth

In Austin on April 2nd, 18th, and 21st, we invite you to explore the Sabbath with us!

Tuesday, April 2nd - The Sabbath from a Jewish perspective. On Tuesday evening, April 2nd, Rabbi Steven Folberg will share Jewish teachings about the Sabbath, with a focus on how the practice of the Sabbath connects to caring for the environment. This program is co-sponsored by the Austin chapter of Texas Interfaith Power & Light—the Interfaith Environmental Network—and is open to people of all faith traditions (or none!).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 7:00 – 8:30pm
Highland Park Baptist Church
5206 Balcones Dr.
Austin, TX 78731

April 18th and 21st - The Sabbath from a Christian perspective. During the week of Earth Day, 2013, Dr. Matthew Sleeth, author of 24/6: A Prescription for a Happier, Healthier Life and Executive Director of Blessed Earth comes to Austin with this prescription: "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy."

There will be two opportunities to hear from the Dr. Sleeth about his latest project on faith and the environment:

Thursday April 18 – Register here to attend a lunch & learn forum, "24/6: A Prescription for a Happier, Healthier Life," featuring Dr. Sleeth.

Registration for this event is FREE with an optional $5 lunch. This program is co-sponsored by Education Beyond the Walls at Austin Seminary and Blessed Earth.

 

Thursday, April 18, 2013, 11:45am – 1:15pm
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
100 E. 27th Street
Austin, Texas 78705

 

Sunday April 21 – Dr. Sleeth preaches both services at University United Methodist Church; all are welcome.

 

Sunday, April 21, 2013, 8:30am and 11:00am
University United Methodist Church
2409 Guadalupe St.
Austin, TX 78705

About Dr. Matthew Sleeth. A former emergency room physician, Dr. Sleeth saw an increasing number of his patients suffering from chronic disease when he began to suspect that the earth and its inhabitants were in deep trouble. He turned to the Bible for guidance and discovered how the lessons of personal responsibility, simplicity and stewardship taught there could be applied to this crisis.  

At that point he resigned from his position as chief of the medical staff and director of the ER to teach, preach, and write about faith and the environment. Since founding Blessed Earth, he has spoken at 1,000 churches and schools throughout the country. Dr. Sleeth is a graduate of George Washington University School of Medicine and has two postdoctoral fellowships.

Sabbath is about restraint—intentionally not doing everything all the time just because we can. Setting aside a day of rest helps us reconnect with our Creator and find the peace of God that passes all understanding. The Sabbath is about letting go of the controls one day a week and letting God be God. So how do we do it?

In 24/6, Dr. Matthew Sleeth shares how his own family was dramatically transformed when it adopted Sabbath practices and will help us better understand how their own lives can be transformed—physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually by adopting the 24/6 lifestyle.

He is also the author of "Serve God and Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action," and the introduction to "The Green Bible. 

 

 

Join Dallas Interfaith Power & Light on March 18th to Help Support Our State Parks

In Super, Natural Christians: How We Should Love Nature, Dr. Sallie McFague writes, “We will not save what we do not love, and we cannot love what we do not know.” Our Texas state parks system helps people across the state get to know nature and come to love the rocks, streams, lakes, trees, beaches and wetlands of this beautiful piece of earth we call Texas. Experiencing and appreciating the gifts of nature encourages us to care for God's creation.

On Monday, March 18, 2013, Dallas Interfaith Power & Light invites you to come together with others to learn about the Texas state parks system, how it might be impacted by budget cuts, and how we can help protect our parks for future generations.

Monday, March 18, 2013, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
University Park United Methodist Church,
Fellowship Hall
4024 Caruth Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75225

Speakers will include: Brian Trusty, Director of the Texas Audubon Society; George Bristol, Director of the Texas Coalition for Conservation; Doug Evans, Director of Grapevine Parks & Recreation; and John Crompton, Distinguished Professor, Texas A&M University; and Yaira A. Robinson, Associate Director of the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy.

This event is open to the public; people of all faiths--and no faith--are welcome!

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