Peninsula Interfaith Climate Action (PICA)
PICA is a Regional Working Group of California Interfaith Power and Light.
Local Peninsula congregations have a history of climate protective deeds, actions, and leadership:
- Unitarian Universalist Church (UUCPA) and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City (UUFRC) are both designated green sanctuaries with solar panels.
- St. Thomas Aquinas Parish just installed solar panels at Our Lady of the Rosary.
- First Presbyterian is working hard on national church divestment (http://www.fossilfreepcusa.org/). Past activities include working with Acterra on a Cool Campaign to help people green their everyday lives.
- First Congregational has installed sustainable grounds and water conservation.
- Congregation Kol Emeth led an important Climate Convocation (see below).
- Many congregations are part-way through an internal divestment process.
- Many congregations have green / environmental teams.
In 2007, an Interfaith Climate Convocation drew 150 to Congregation Kol Emeth. Organizers included Debbie Mytels, Marianna Grossman, Walt Hays, and Kol Emeth members. (Program, keynote by Stephen Schneider, information faire, video highlights of the Oct. 28, 2007 Midpeninsula Interfaith Convocation on Climate Action can be found here.). Peninsula Interfaith Climate Action (PICA) is now reviving this local interfaith approach.
PICA is an “in-person social network” experiment, where networks are at the high “potluck level” of familiarity. PICA formed in October of 2014 with members from 10 congregations from the San Francisco Bay Peninsula area: Grace Lutheran, First Congregational, Congregation Beth Am, Unitarian Universalist Palo Alto and Redwood City, St Thomas Aquinas Parish, Humanist Community of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto Friends Meeting, First Presbyterian Palo Alto, and St Bede’s Episcopal. “Congregation leaders” attend the monthly PICA meeting. These leaders are then expected to work within their congregation on agreed PICA activities. The 3-4 hours per month that congregation leaders put in is expected to eventually yield 1 hour per month of pro-climate activity from many parishioners.
Congregations are a social network type known as a Community of Practice, with social enjoyment, spiritual/moral education/learning, individual behavior change, and collective action. PICA congregation leaders form a Meta Community of Practice focusing on climate.
PICA aspires to expand into Mountain View and Menlo Park, splitting monthly meetings into PICA-PA, PICA-MV, and PICA-MP. The hope is to develop an effective local action model that can then spread even further. The model could also potentially apply to other in-person social networks such as service clubs, unions, MeetUps, etc.
For PICA, areas of potential local activity are:
- Facilitating congregation & parishioner knowledge sharing and projects encompassing clean energy / solar, energy efficiency, green building, carbon emissions reductions, and green landscaping.
- Climate education and outreach.
- Public policy advocacy for fossil fuel divestment, support of local city Sustainability/Climate Action Plans, etc.
- Collaborate with other efforts (California Interfaith Power & Light, Carbon Free Palo Alto, Cool Cities Challenge, Palo Alto Community Environmental Action Partnership, 350 Silicon Valley, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Go Fossil Free, Sierra Club, etc)
PICA’s Mission Statement and Objectives can be found here.
Interested Peninsula congregations and parishioners are encouraged to contact CIPL Program Director Will Scott firstname.lastname@example.org