The first quarter of 2018 proved to be a busy one for CIPL member congregations, staff and steering committee members. Indeed, 2018 has already shown that climate change is here, its effects are being felt in a number of ways in California and around the globe, and that the faith community is responding with ever-greater urgency. Here’s a sampling:
On Monday, January 16, the San Francisco Interfaith Council, one of CIPL’s partners, held a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. event entitled “The Urgency of Now.” This phrase refers to Dr. King’s popular and ever-timely phrase, We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late. This is not a time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.
At this event, several prominent people were recognized for their leadership in pressing justice issues. One was GL Hodge, a CIPL Steering Committee member, who has been a force for youth and the faith community, especially from the Bayview Hunters Area of San Francisco. GL, in addition to his many efforts on climate and community protection, spear-headed the energy-efficiency and solar energy upgrade for Providence Baptist Church in San Francisco.
On February 28, the federal Environmental Protection Agency held one of three listening sessions in San Francisco, ahead of its plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan, a program that, over the last five years, has received wide support from multiple sectors including tireless advocacy from the faith community. The majority of folks at the San Francisco session overwhelmingly demanded the Clean Power Plan be kept in place, in light of the fact that it will save tens of thousands of lives, prevent countless incidents of respiratory and cardiac illnesses, and create jobs, all while decreasing the U.S.’s pollution output by one third by 2030.
CIPL staff and supporters turned out to provide public comments, support a press conference and rally, and coordinated an interfaith prayer vigil on behalf of Creation and all people impacted by pollution and climate change. CIPL’s new president, Rev. Susan Hendershot Guy, summed up the feelings of many in the faith community with her statement, “Thousands of clergy and communities of faith from around the country have been working tirelessly for many years in support of the Clean Power Plan. Now we are coming together on the day of the San Francisco hearing to pray for those who are most vulnerable in our society, and those most impacted by climate change and its impacts. May the leadership in the EPA hear those prayers, and be guided by wisdom in their mission to protect human health and the environment.”
February 28 also witnessed a multitude of organizations from the faith, equity, public health, policy and environmental sectors coming together for the Green California Symposium in Sacramento. Excellent networking and preparations for 2018 were the order of the day, including: pressing 2018 legislation and ballot propositions; “best practices” for advocacy; and methods for continuing the transition to clean energy.
On March 4 in Claremont, CIPL Steering Committee member Mohammad Hoda was a presenter in a workshop entitled “Eco-Justice: Equity and Wellbeing in an Ecological Age.” Mohammad, who advises the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California on environment issues, and who lends his energy-efficiency expertise to Southland mosques, serves on the board of an upcoming international Muslim climate change mitigation effort called the Global Muslim Climate Network (GMCN.) The workshop in Claremont was one of a long series of events involving Dr. John Cobb, a noted theologian, and inspiration for several sustainability groups implementing real-life strategies to reduce pollution and build resilient communities.
On Wednesday, March 7, CIPL staff and intern, Allis Druffel and Emmanuel Nunez attended their first Watts Clean Air and Energy Task Force, held at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Watts. They were greeted warmly and given time to talk about the work of CIPL and the Low-Income Weatherization Program. In this meeting, Pastor Larry Dozier outlined his vision for St. John’s: to be an oasis in the desert, providing resources for the Watts community, and to be a beacon of light in terms of sustainability. Plans include energy efficiency upgrades, solar energy, and charging stations. St. John’s has already hosted an EV Ride ‘n’ Drive and undergone LADWP’s Direct Install program, with plans for an Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 21 and another EV Ride ‘n’ Drive during National Drive Electric Week.
On March 24, CIPL was a co-sponsor of the “7th Annual Climate Change Forum: What will happen when global temperature rises?” Held at CIPL member congregation First United Methodist Church in Pasadena, the event featured two climate scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, bringing their views on the latest science from the oceanography and ice/glacier fields. One topic of conversation was the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2), launched into space in 2014, which measures hot spots of carbon dioxide around the globe as well as collecting other important data. OCO-3 is being built now and expected to launch in the next two years.
Throughout the first quarter, CIPL intern Emmanuel Nunez continued his work on the Low-Income Weatherization Project. This campaign, funded by auction proceeds, offers regionally- and income-qualified households an array of free energy- and water-efficiency upgrades. The house may be rented or owned and must be a stand-alone dwelling or part of a duplex or four-plex. It is an excellent way for residents to reduce energy and water and save money, all while protecting Creation. While this program is state-wide, CIPL is an outreach partner in the Los Angeles County area. If you live in the Los Angeles area, click here to see if you qualify.
We have updated portions of our website and have included a tab for Videos and Celebrations. Check out inspiring videos of CIPL member congregations in action, feel free to share them with others, and please let us know of your efforts to protect all of Creation.
We welcome our new members. Drop them a line and share the eco-love!
St. John’s United Methodist Church, Watts
Peninsula Jewish Community Center, Foster City
Lafayette Baha’i Faith
First United Methodist Church of Pasadena
Redding Zen Buddhist Priory
Or Shalom Jewish Community, San Francisco
Faith Climate Action Week – resources for Earth Week 2018 – sign up here
Paris: We’re Still In – for more info and to sign, go here
Save Critical Federal Methane Standards – more info and sign here