Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Climate Change Deniers Not True Conservatives

That's the argument made by Rod Dreher in this editorial in the Sacramento Bee.

Conservatives are supposed to be cautious by nature and in principle. But on global warming, conservatives are the loudest voices advocating recklessness. What, exactly, is conservative about sneering at overwhelming scientific evidence? ...

Traditionally, conservatives strive to deal with the world as it is, not as they wish it were. They believe in personal responsibility. They believe in stewardship, in provision for future generations, and in the moral responsibility to live within one's means. They recognize limits, consider humility a virtue, and hold a respect for the natural world that amounts to what the Romans called pietas, or duty, toward it.
More on the right are now waking up to traditionalist conservatism's embrace of environmental responsibility. But too many still believe that global warming isn't real or, if it is, hope that something will turn up. Hope is a theological virtue, but as the basis for environmental policy, it's indefensible.
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Getting With the Plan

According to an AP Report,

An international panel of scientists presented the United Nations with a sweeping, detailed plan on Tuesday to combat climate change – a challenge, it said, “to which civilization must rise.”Failure would produce a turbulent 21st century of weather extremes, spreading drought and disease, expanding oceans and displaced coastal populations, it said.“The increasing numbers of environmental refugees as sea levels rise and storm surges increase will be in the tens of millions,” panel co-chair Rosina Bierbaum, a University of Michigan ecologist, told reporters.
After a two-year study, the 18-member group, representing 11 nations, offered scores of recommendations: from pouring billions more dollars into research and development of cleaner energy sources, to mobilizing U.N. and other agencies to help affected people, to winning political agreement on a global temperature “ceiling.”Their 166-page report, produced at U.N. request and sponsored by the private United Nations Foundation and the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, was issued just three weeks after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an authoritative U.N. network of 2,000 scientists, made headlines with its latest assessment of climate science.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Al Gore Under Attack

Op-ed News.com is reporting on what it refers to as A Far Too Convenient $mear: Part One: namely, an item that appeared on the Drudge report and rapidly metastisized that Vice President Gore has an outsized carbon footprint.

Responding to Drudge's attack, Vice President Gore's office told ThinkProgress:1) Gore's family has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence, including signing up for 100 percent green power through Green Power Switch, installing solar panels, and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving technology.2) Gore has had a consistent position of purchasing carbon offsets to offset the family's carbon footprint - a concept the right-wing fails to understand. Gore's office explains:
What Mr. Gore has asked is that every family
calculate their carbon footprint and try to reduce it as much as possible. Once they have done so, he then advocates that they purchase offsets, as the Gore's do, to bring their footprint down to zero.


The report comes from an organization that calls itself "The Tennessee Center For Policy Research."


As of Feb. 16, the Tennessee tax dept. considers them "not a legitimate organization" because of their misrepresenting themselves involving questions about the group's opposition to a state crackdown on drug dealers.


IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Climate Change Skeptics Congregate

According to The Age, global warming sceptics will gather in Canberra [Australia] today for the release of a book by Ray Evans Called Nine Facts About Climate Change, the book elaborates on the nearly ubiquitous attack that "Environmentalism is the new religion."

"Environmentalism has largely superseded Christianity as the religion of the upper classes in Europe and to a lesser extent in the United States," Mr Evans claims in his book.
"It is a form of religious belief which fosters a sense of moral superiority in the believer, but which places no importance on telling the truth," he says.
"The global warming scam has been, arguably, the most extraordinary example of scientific fraud in the postwar period."
The event has been put togehter by the Lavoisier Group, founded in 2000 by Ray Evans and fellow former mining executive Hugh Morgan to test claims that global warming is the result of human activity.
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

TXU Faces Environmental Hurdles

According to The Age,
TXU Corp, the Texas power producer that agreed to be sold in the largest-ever leveraged buy-out, still faces opposition from environmental groups after reducing expansion plans to win support for the deal.
Public Citizen's Texas office director Tom Smith said he was seeking a two-year moratorium on construction of power plants fuelled by pulverised coal.
His comments followed a TXU pledge to cancel eight of the 11 new coal-fuelled generators it was planning and to support mandatory US limits on power-plant emissions linked to global warming.
The buyers still plan to build "the three dirtiest plants in their proposal", Mr Smith said.
TXU plans to lift profit by selling more low-cost electricity from coal plants in the biggest power-consuming US state.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Western States Go Green

According to an article in SFGate, Five western states--Arizona, New Mexico, Washington and Oregon -- announced an agreement to create a regional effort to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement is not as sweeping or strong as new regulations in California, however, leading one environmental advocate, V. John White of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, to say the announcement "may be more sizzle than steak."

Unveiled at a meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C., the agreement calls for creating a regional goal to reduce emissions and for developing a Western market that could allow companies to buy and sell carbon emission credits. Similar markets operating in the European Union and getting started in the Northeast United States allow companies that dramatically lower their emissions to sell credits to other companies.

"This is a huge jump forward from just California going it alone," said Dan Skopec, undersecretary of Schwarzenegger's Environmental Protection Agency.
But it's not clear whether businesses in other states will buy or sell emissions credits if they are not required to lower emissions, and none of the other states has an anti-global warming law similar to California's. The green politics of California -- where polls show widespread support for tackling global warming -- may not translate as easily to other states.
All four governors have signed executive orders that include goals for reducing emissions, but none seems poised to quickly enact regulations with teeth. A spokesman for Kulongoski said Monday that a law requiring reductions in Oregon was likely a few years from enactment.
The states have all made efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in some ways. Washington voters passed an initiative last fall to increase renewable energy, for example, and New Mexico is proposing to create tax credits to help develop alternative fuels.
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Bees in Trouble

The New York Times reports that across the nation bees are dying at an alarming rate, potentially threatening billions of dollars worth of crops that depend on them for pollination. What is causing the die-off? There are theories, but so far nobody has been able to come up with a definitive answer.
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Power Company Cleans Up



TXU, Texas' largest electricity producer, said Monday it has agreed to be sold to a group of private-equity firms for about $32 billion in what would be the largest private buyout in U.S. corporate history if shareholders go along.

The firms won support for the buyout from some environmentalists who have criticized TXU by agreeing to sharply scale back TXU's controversial $10 billion plan to build 11 new coal-fired power plants that would produce tons of new greenhouse gas emissions.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscar Goes Green

In addition to honoring "An Inconvenient Truth" as best documentary and Melissa Etheridge's original song for the film "I Need to Wake Up," the 2007 Academy Awards integrated eco-friendly practices into its production this year.
As reported in The New York Times,

Mr. Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio, a nominee for best actor (“Blood Diamond”), announced in the middle of the telecast that the program had offset its carbon emissions by buying energy credits. “This show has officially gone green,” Mr. DiCaprio said.
The Oscars adopted other conservation measures this year, such as using recycled paper for the Oscar ballots. “We have a long way to go, but all of us, in our lives, can do something to make a difference,” Mr. Gore said.
But Mr. Gore did not throw his hat in the ring, as the producers of his film, among others in Hollywood, had hoped he might. Asked if he had a major announcement to make, Mr. Gore said: “With a billion people watching, it’s as good a time as any. So my fellow Americans, I’m going to take this opportunity, here and now, to formally announce” — and the Oscars orchestra, right on cue, drowned him out as if he had droned on a second too long.


Later, when the Academy Award for "An Inconvenient Truth" was announced, Al Gore joined the director and producers onstage.

“I made this movie for my children,” said the director, Davis Guggenheim[as he accepted the award], his arm on Mr. Gore’s shoulder. “We were moved to act by this man.”
Mr. Gore took his moment in the worldwide spotlight to underline the film’s message. “My fellow Americans, people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis,” he said, adding that the “will to act” was a renewable resource. “Let’s renew it,” he said.


Learn more about the greening of the Oscars at www.oscar.com.
View a CNN video of Al Gore speaking at a press conference after the ceremony.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Atlantic Ecosystem Changing

Overfishing and climate change are causing rapid changes in the ecosystems of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean from Greenland to North Carolina, according to a study by Charles Green, a Cornell University Professor of Oceanography.
According to an article in Earth Times, "Predicting the fate of these ecosystems will be one of oceanography's grand challenges for the 21st century, [Green] said. Among the ecosystem changes cited in the paper was the freshening of seawater along the North Atlantic shelf."
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

One Word: Urgent

The Earth Times is reporting that
The U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said unless emission of greenhouse gases is drastically reduced by 2020, global warming could pose irreversible and disastrous impacts.

The panel has been quoted as saying in its final report the average surface temperatures on the planet could rise by 3 degrees Celsius by 2100, if drastic measures are not initiated to cut down on the emissions. What is more, it says in spite of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the planet could experience droughts, heat waves and rise in sea levels for more than 1,000 years.

The highlights of the report have been published by a German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which list down steps that are necessary to be initiated to reverse the situation. The solutions mooted include increased use of biofuels and development of smaller automobiles that should be least-polluting as well as energy-efficient. It also holds a brief for nuclear power, calling for commissioning of more number of such projects. The core issue is that the clock is ticking faster than what experts had thought and it is for the world's leaders to commit to act.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bishop Gives Up Flying to Reduce Emissions


Anglican Bishop Richard Chartres of London has pledged to refrain from air travel for a year, as a sign of his commitment to the environment. "Travel takes rather longer," Chartres told Ecumenical News International.

Chartres signed a pledge to refrain from all air travel for 12 months during a Stop Climate Change demonstration in London in October. "I shall not flinch," Chartres insisted, although he acknowledged the effects of his decision were, at times, "very inconvenient". Still, "One useful result is slowing down a bit," he noted. "I think it also focuses the mind on going to things that are really valuable."

In 2006, Chartres was criticised by Michael O'Leary, chief executive of low-cost airline Ryanair, after the bishop was reported saying it was sinful to pollute the planet by catching a plane for a holiday. But, the 59-year-old cleric said in Wittenberg: "I'm not preaching to other people. If one is saying 'cut the carbon' … one has to be very alert to one's own footprint. This is a new way of being faithful, of walking lightly on the earth."

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bill McKibben: Climate Crisis Long Time Coming

In an article in Salon, environmental writer and climate activist Bill McKibben tells how some nations heeded earlier warnings while others (such as the US) ignored the signs that "humans had grown so large in numbers and especially in appetite for energy that they were now damaging the most basic of the earth's systems -- the balance between incoming and outgoing solar energy." He goes on to explain, "...if world leaders had heeded the early warnings of the first IPCC report, and by 2000 had done the very hard work to keep greenhouse gas emissions from growing any higher, the expected temperature increase would be half as much as is expected now. In the words of the experts at RealClimate.org, where the most useful analyses of the new assessment can be found, climate change is a problem with a very high "procrastination penalty": a penalty that just grows and grows with each passing year of inaction.
The only really encouraging development is the groundswell of public concern that has built over the last year, beginning with the reaction to Hurricane Katrina and Al Gore's movie. In January, a few of us launched an initiative called StepItUp07.org. It calls for Americans to organize rallies in their own communities on April 14 asking for congressional action. In the first few weeks the Web site was open, more than 600 groups in 46 states registered to hold demonstrations -- this will clearly be the largest organized response to global warming yet in this country. The groups range from environmental outfits to evangelical churches to college sororities, united only by the visceral sense (fueled in part by this winter's bizarre weather) that the planet has been knocked out of whack. The IPCC assessment offers a modest account of just how far out of whack it is -- and just how hard we're going to have to work to have even a chance at limiting the damage. "
Bill McKibben was the keynote speaker at the annual IREJN Sacred Trust Forum in 2004. For info on this year's Forum, visit our website at www.irejn.org.
The website for Bill McKibben's April 14 Climate Change demonstrations is www.stepitup07.org.
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

UK Jewish Community Launches Environmental Movement



The Board of Deputies of British Jews together with the Noah Project have launched a new green initiative with the support of the Environment minister. The Big Green Jewish website was launched at a ceremony, timed to coincide with Tu B’Shevat or Jewish Arbor Day, in London by David Miliband MP, Secretary of State for the Environment.
The Noah Project is the UK’s only Jewish ecological group, established to promote education, celebration and action for the environment within the Jewish community. Designed to promote environmentalism through an engagement with biblical, rabbinic and contemporary Jewish sources, offers a rich resource of inspirational and practical information. Its user-friendly and interactive format offers examples of good practice by individuals, synagogues, organisations, schools and businesses. Commenting on the project Miliband said: “It is a great pleasure to be associated with the launch of this innovative and useful initiative. Climate change is one of the biggest crises we are facing.
The Big Green Jewish Website is a prime example of the valuable role that faith communities and their rich traditions can play in tackling this challenge.”

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Companies Endorse Path To Sustainability

The Taipei Times reported,
Nearly 100 companies followed a meeting at Columbia University by endorsing a formal statement to fight for clean energy and against climate change caused by people and businesses. The companies are members of the Global Roundtable on Climate Change, formed in 2004 to explore issues critical to shaping public and industry policy on climate change.
The statement by the international business community seeks to lay out a framework for global action to mitigate the impact of human-made climate change without adversely affecting energy and economic growth, according to Sachs, who also spoke at the UN on Friday.
The business leaders hoped that a permanent plan could be in place by 2012.
"Climate change is an urgent problem that requires global action ... in a time frame that minimizes the risk of serious human impact on the Earth's natural systems," the joint statement said.
The document also calls on governments to set scientifically informed targets for reduced global emissions and concentrations of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases and to take immediate action in pursuit of those targets.
Visit previous post on the report, which includes a link to the full text.
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

G8 to Focus on Climate Change



Senior legislators from the world's eight largest industrialized countries and five key emerging economies are shaping their policy statements on global warming in advance of this year's G8 Summit in June at the Baltic Sea resort of Heiligendamm, Germany. Germany currently holds the Presidency of the G8 group of nations.
For two days last week, the lawmakers convened in the U.S. Congress for the Legislators Forum on Climate Change and Energy Security.
The forum was part of the G8+5 Climate Change Legislators Dialogue in which more than 80 legislators and government officials from the 20 largest energy consuming countries participated.
The participation of five emerging economies - China, India, South Africa, Mexico, and Brazil - is important because they are some of the greatest greenhouse gas polluters, and their involvement in reducing emissions is crucial to success in limiting global warming.
They joined representatives of the G8 countries - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Religious Groups Unite On Climate

The Global Roundtable on Climate Change (GROCC), a coalition of more than 150 stakeholders, released a statement on global warming at a news conference on the Columbia University campus. The statement outlines the steps that must be taken in order to stop the global climate crisis (complete text.)
GROCC has been working for three years to identify and explore the areas of consensus that exist within the scientific, economic, social and religious communities that would help shape public policy addressing the issue of global warming.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Carbon Offsets Harmful?

That's the contention of British environmentalists who testified before the Commons environmental audit committee, chaired by Tory Minister of Parliment Tim Yeo.
According to the BBC News,
Jutta Kill, of the Forests and the European Union Resource Network (FERN), was the most vehement opponent of the practice, arguing it probably did more harm than good.
It is very hard to convey to people that when they are buying an offset they are not actually neutralising their impact on the global environment.

Carbon offsetting was "an unbelievably inefficient way of reducing emissions," she argued, and its effects were impossible to verify.
In addition, "More than half" of the money given to companies selling carbon offsets went on research and administration costs, "benefiting not the climate but the burgeoning consultancy industry".
'Straightforward donations'
"We believe it is worse than nothing because it creates the illusion, or the impression, in the public that action is being taken, while we are not really addressing the task at hand, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions," Ms Kill told MPs.
People would be better off making "straightforward donations" to climate projects through established charities.
"This is a serious issue of misleading the public, if you are not telling people that what you are buying is something that is not very viable.
"And those that have set up this offset market are fully aware of this fact," she told the committee.

Guide: Carbon offsets
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

EU Back Historic Greenhouse Gas Reductions

According to the EU Observer,
EU environment ministers meeting in Brussels on Tuesday (20 February) decided on new targets to curb global warming as a follow-up to the current international Kyoto Protocol in which industrialised countries have pledged to reduce their combined carbon emissions to below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

"All member states…have made it clear that an international objective of a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gasses by 2020 is right and necessary in order to keep global warming below the 2 percent centigrade by the end of the century," said German environment minister Sigmar Gabriel who also confirmed the EU-wide commitment to at least cut 20 percent if this worldwide objective fails. "What we still need to agree to however is exactly the way in which we achieve the objectives through a fair system of burden sharing within the European Union," he added, calling the EU agreement an "historic decision."

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Going Fluorescent Down Under



The Australian government on Tuesday announced plans to phase out incandescent light bulbs and replace them with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs across the country.
Legislation to gradually restrict the sale of the old-style bulbs could reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 4 million tons by 2012 and cut household power bills by up to 66 percent, said Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Indiana Environmentalist Breaks the Mold

The LaPorta, Indiana Herald Argus is featuring a profile of local African American Environmentalist Constance Clay, who sees parallels between environmentalism and the civil rights movement.
Anderson said there are barriers environmentalists face in their line of work, which may be compounded for Clay because of her race.
“I understand what northwest Indiana can be like, and racial issues are still prevalent,” he explained. “It’s been a credit to her character that she’s been able to (overcome these obstacles).”
One barrier Clay faced was people questioning her strong advocacy for environmental causes in light of the struggles still faced by people of her race.
She had trouble earning the approval of some members of her policy classes, who felt that a need for public housing, especially for minority groups, superseded the need to maintain green space.
“One of my professors asked me, ‘How do you reconcile being an African American advocating for open green space when there is such a need for public housing?’” Clay said.
But Clay said she doesn’t see her race and her profession as dichotomous.
“My upbringing has taught me that we are all the same,” she said. “We all have the responsibility to be good stewards of the land I think people, regardless of whether it’s an African-American community or a Hispanic community, are realizing (the environment) is something that needs to be valued and considered.”

Climate TV


A New web-based television station, www.bigpicture.tv, gives viewers the big picture on the environment with hundreds of free, thought-provoking videos of global experts in sustainability - with startling warnings, well-informed commentary and practical ideas and solutions, according to Response Source.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Christian Carbon Reduction Campaign in the UK

The UK publication Christian Today is reporting that the UK organization Christian Aid is spearheading a campaign to urge corporations to commit to carbon emission reductions.
Noting that climate change is the most pressing issue for millions of the world’s poorest people, Christian Aid called on individuals and churches across the UK to sign up to its new ‘Climate Changed’ campaign and send postcards to the three companies demanding they publish the true extent of their carbon emissions, and commit to a 5 per cent annual reduction.
As part of the campaign, Christian Aid will be calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to implement mandatory reporting standards across UK business. The campaign follows an extensive new report the charity published, which reveals that almost 200 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions are not being reported by top companies on the London Stock Exchange.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Eco-Friendly Bible Blogging

Today Slate's Blogging the Bible features the book of Joel, about which blogger David Plotz asks, "Is Joel a favorite book of the budding religious environmentalist movement?"
N.B.: In the case of this blogger, the answer is yes, yes it is, because the book of Joel clearly depicts the God of the Bible as having love for all creation and not just creating it for people to exploit it.
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Art for the Climate

Cloisonne enamel piece by Carolyn Delzoppo, Global Warming Series III.

This alternet article by Bill McKibben talks about how artists are finally making their mark on the issue of climate change. Here is an excerpt:

There were several new nonfiction accounts of climate change so powerful as to be real literature -- Betsy Kolbert's Field Notes From a Catastrophe chief among them. Photographers like Gary Braasch and Chris Jordan started documenting the results of climate change with poignant power. Prominent painters like Alexis Rockman started imagining what America would look like in a soggy future. And while I still haven't heard any operas, the rest of the musical world has risen to the challenge as well.
That last development is particularly important to us as we try to organize this
Step It Up campaign for April 14. Every day, dozens of people and groups sign up to run new actions: it's clearly going to be one of the largest environmental gatherings since Earth Day 1970.

I hope it's also one of the most musical, because history would indicate that singing movements are successful movements -- that having a few anthems to share helps enormously. Singing breeds fellowship, building loose groups of like-minded people into temporary communities. It communicates passion better than most speeches or position papers. It builds courage when courage is needed.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.


Climate Change Is an Energy Issue

An article on alternet addresses the conundrum of climate change: The US currently has no strategy for addressing the fact that our consumption of greenhouse-gas emitting fossil fuels is on the increase. Here is an excerpt:
If, however, we seek to protect the climate while there is still time to do so, we must embrace a fundamental transformation in our energy behavior: nothing else will make a significant difference. In practice, this devolves into two fundamental postulates. We must substantially reduce our consumption of fossil fuels, and we must find ways to capture and bury the carbon by-products of the fossil fuels we do consume.

Various strategies have been proposed to achieve these objectives. Those that offer significant promise should be utilized to the maximum extent possible. This is not the place to evaluate these strategies in detail, except to make a few broad comments.

First, as noted, since 42 percent of American carbon dioxide emissions (the largest share) are produced through the combustion of petroleum, anything that reduces oil consumption -- higher fuel-efficiency standards for motor vehicles, bigger incentives for hybrids, greater use of ethanol, improved public transportation, car-pooling, and so -- should be made a major priority.

Second, because the combustion of coal in electrical power plants is our next biggest source of CO2, improving the efficiency of these plants and filtering out the harmful emissions has to be another top priority.
Finally, we should accelerate research into promising new techniques for the capture and "sequestration" of carbon during the combustion of fossil fuels in electricity generation. Some of these plans call for burying excess carbon in hollowed-out coalmines and oil wells -- a very practical use for these abandoned relics, but only if it can be demonstrated that none of the carbon will leak back into the atmosphere, adding to the buildup of GHGs.
Global warming is an energy problem, and we cannot have both an increase in conventional fossil fuel use and a habitable planet. It's one or the other. We must devise a future energy path that will meet our basic (not profligate) energy needs and also rescue the climate while there's still time. The technology to do so is potentially available to us, but only if we make the decision to develop it swiftly and on a very large scale.
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Walk for the Climate


Interfaith Walk for Climate Rescue
March 16 to 24, 2007 - Northampton to Boston
A moral call for swift, bold, and comprehensive political action to address global warming

2006 was the turning point for public awareness of global warming.
2007 must be the turning point for action.
Author and activist Bill McKibben invites you to join the Interfaith Walk for Climate Rescue, Northampton to Boston, March 16-24, 2007. Read his letter here.
You can walk for an hour, an afternoon, a weekend, or the whole nine days. You can walk as an individual, a family, or a team from your community, school, or congregation. You can be of any faith or none.
We'll call for swift, bold, and comprehensive political action to address global warming. By the time we get to Boston on Saturday, March 24, we expect the largest global warming demonstration in the history of the United States.
Don't miss this opportunity to make climate change history.
Blessings,
Rev. Dr. Andrea Ayvazian
Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb
Rev. Fred Small
Co-chairs, Religious Witness for the Earth

The Interfaith Walk is sponsored by Religious Witness for the Earth.
“Education for a sustainable future enables people to develop the knowledge, values, and skills to participate in decisions that will improve the quality of life now without damaging the planet for the future”
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Connecticut Faithful Address Climate Change

IREJN (The Interreligious Eco-Justice Network) is prominently featured in a Hartford Courant article about people of faith addressing the issue of global warming.


Global warming is prompting a growing number of Connecticut churches and synagogues to go green, and to redefine what keeping the faith means.They are conducting energy audits of drafty sanctuaries, learning how to insulate stained glass windows and selling low wattage light bulbs instead of cookies at fundraisers.
You could call it counting kilowatts for God. Though the immediate goal is energy conservation, and maybe even saving on the monthly utility bill, the ultimate purpose is bigger. The congregations want to do their part, small as it may be, to burn less of the fossil fuels that produce the greenhouse gases threatening the world."God put man in the garden to care for it - that's the first call," said the Rev. Thomas Carr of the First Baptist Church in West Hartford, citing Genesis 2:15. "A lot of people see this as part of our mission. It is as important as feeding the hungry and caring for the poor." Carr said his church, along with Asylum Hill Congregational in Hartford, was one of the first to buy electricity through the state's "Clean Energy Option," which delivers power, at a slight premium, from generating stations that run on wind, water or landfill gas.

Carr emerged as a leader of the churches' new environmentalism from the campaign begun in the late 1990s to clean up pollution from older power plants known as the Sooty Six. Back then, people worried more about the health hazards of dirty air than greenhouse gases."My main reason for getting involved was the global warming association," Carr said. "But I didn't know how to talk about it so it wouldn't seem so overwhelming."

The Sooty Six campaign was still active when Carr and Lynn Fulkerson, head of the Episcopal Church's diocesan environment committee, founded the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network. Now directed by Andrea Cohen-Kiener, a part-time rabbi, the network has sponsored hundreds of showings of Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," and has sold thousands of compact fluorescent light bulbs. Seeking converts to the bulbs, which use a quarter of the energy of incandescent bulbs, may be the most common religious response to global warming.

In December, Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford began selling the bulbs as part of a national program called "How Many Jews Does It Take To Change a Light Bulb?"The co-chairman of the congregation's social justice committee, James Friedman, said that at least 500 bulbs have been sold and that he is trying to interest area synagogues in the program. "It's got to be ongoing," Friedman said.

Meanwhile, the Eco-Justice Network has launched a first of its kind "home improvement" program aimed directly at church buildings. Called "This Old House of Worship," it teaches congregations very practical lessons in how to make their churches more energy-efficient from steeple to basement."You have to give people doables. You can't just scare them," Cohen-Kiener said. "I ask people what they really think it means to be safe and wealthy. You've got to be real gentle about it. You don't just want to guilt-trip people."

So far, more than two dozen churches and synagogues around the state have signed up for the 15 hours of classes taught by Carol Wilson, a former high school science teacher who has remade herself into an energy consultant. On a Sunday afternoon earlier this month, disciples from five churches met for a class at the 300-year-old First Church of Christ in Simsbury.Wilson asked for a prayer to start the session. "Help us to be good stewards," said the surprised adult student she called on. "Hopefully we can all walk away with some savings, and save natural resources."The class then reviewed the insulating capabilities of various materials, studied a math equation for calculating heat loss and discussed the enigma of stained glass windows. Installing exterior storm windows over stained glass is no good, Wilson said, because they trap heat and soften the windows' lead glazing. Wilson mentioned global warming only once, when she read from a newspaper article that listed the globe's 12 hottest years on record, all since 1990. "I will pass this around and make a copy because it's amazing," she said.

Later Wilson said her curriculum does include a section on the link between fossil fuel emissions and global warming.

During a break, Fulkerson, who was taking Wilson's class for her church, Trinity Episcopal in Torrington, said "climate change is a little harder to wrap your mind around than the Sooty Six. It's a lot scarier and you don't feel empowered to make a difference."There's still denial about global warming, Fulkerson said. "It's sort of like the arms race. Denial is a good place to go when it could destroy the Earth and there's nothing you can do about it." Avoiding fossil fuel energy, "that's what we can do right now," she said.

Read the rest of the Courant Article.

Learn more about the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network and This Old House of Worship at our website, www.irejn.org.

Contact Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener, Director.

Contact Denise Clapsaddle, Administrator, Webmaster and Blogger.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Religious Leaders Urge Climate Action

In this editorial in Oregon's Statesman Journal, Jenny Holmes and Gary Langenwalter urge Congress and the White House to act on Climate Change.

Across the religious spectrum, religious leaders are calling for national action to address global warming. Faith-based organizations and church councils in places that are most affected by global warming, particularly the nations of Africa and the Pacific Islands, have compelled America’s faith community, including Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, to address global warming.

It is time for the Bush Administration and Congress to take responsible action to address global warming. We need energy policies that guarantee emissions will decrease. This can be done by instituting mandatory caps on global warming pollution, promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency and instituting higher fuel economy standards. It is time to listen to the scientists and to those most affected by global warming. To love our neighbors, both local and global, it is imperative.

Meanwhile, the World Council of Churches has endorsed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report, according to The Christian Post. The Rev. Dr. Martin Robra, WCC program executive for Justice Peace & Creation, said the debate on whether global warming is caused by human activities or not must now shift from denial and delays to responsibility and remedies.
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

People Desire Cheap Climate Fixes: New British Columbia Poll

In a new poll conducted in British Columbia, an overwhelming majority said they believe climate change is a major threat, but 50% were not willing to pay even as little as $100 in taxes or other expenses to counter the threat. (I'm assuming this is $100/Canadian, even less than $100/US.)

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Light and Power. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Connecticut Climate Plan!

As of February 15, 2007, the Connecticut Climate Plan is two years old. How's our toddler doing? According to a report by Marc Breslow, PhD and Roger Smith, not so hot.

Of the top 14 policies in the plan which account for over 90% of the pollution reductions, only about half have been acted upon. Key policies which need to be implemented include: reducing "black carbon" diesel soot, prioritizing energy efficiency for heating and electricity, significantly increasing mass transit and curbing sprawl and restoring the raided energy efficiency fund and clean energy fund.

In addition the climate plan must be revised to take advantage of new and creative policies such as but not limited to "pay as you drive insurance" where driving less can save you money, tax exemptions for 40MPG+ cars (not just hybrids), and generators should be made to pay for their pollution under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative with revenue reinvested in efficiency for consumers.
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Light and Power. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Carbon Offsets Not All Created Equal

According to a report by Clean Air-Cool Planet, not all renewable energy credits (RECs) are worth the money. The report says the worst companies make it difficult for customers to establish whether what they do — planting trees, installing solar panels or making biofuels — would not have happened anyway.



IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Light and Power. Visit us at www.irejn.org.



Free Solar Panels Too Good To Be True?

Citizenre promises to install free solar panels on the roofs of thousands of customers who will pay the same price for electricity that they do now. Sound too good to be true? Maybe it is, according to an opinion piece on renewableenergyaccess.com. To date they have no factory and no funding, though they claim their funding is lined up.
So why is gambling on Citizenre's plan a problem? Author Jeff Wolfe sees it this way:

As soon as someone signs up for a Citizenre solar system, they are removed from the pool of potential customers for other reputable solar dealers in the U.S. Already, photovoltaic (PV) dealers are telling me that they are losing business because potential customers are signing up with Citizenre -- people are waiting until the reported 500 megawatt "largest fully-integrated PV manufacturing plant in the world" comes online this fall.But it will be September -- the deadline for the build out of the manufacturing facility and beginning installations will have come and gone -- before reality sets in for these customers when they do not receive their solar system on time as promised. Plans seem poised to fall apart, and at that point we'll have four results:

* A lot of very disappointed and upset people.

* A lot of traditional PV dealers who are out of business.

* Reduced or eliminated federal and state incentives for solar electricity due to a perceived lack of need.

* A solar electric industry in the U.S. that has been set backwards 5 years.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Reducing US Emissions Daunting

An article in the New York Times reports,

Electric power companies, which emit about one-third of America’s global warming gases, could reduce their emissions to below the levels of 1990, but that would take about 20 years, no matter how much the utilities spend, according to a new industry study.
The study also calls for cutting the growth in demand for electricity, which the Energy Department expects to increase at 1.5 percent a year. The study assumes growth of just 1.1 percent a year, which implies a steady decline in electricity use for each unit of economic production.
It also calls for vast growth in wind energy and some solar energy. Renewable energy (leaving out hydroelectricity) now comes to only a little over 2 percent of kilowatt-hours generated; by 2030, it would be 6.7 percent.
The biggest slice, though, is from coal plants that would capture their carbon dioxide, compress it and pipe it underground for sequestration. This is a technology that has been barely demonstrated at this point. But in a little over 20 years, it would have to produce 14.6 percent of electricity supplies.
The technologies required do exist, at least at laboratory scale. But the study does not predict costs and stipulate what is economically feasible.
Many of the changes forecast by the utility group depend on prices and on consumer attitudes. For example, it projects that 10 percent of new vehicle sales by 2017 will be plug-in hybrids, which would carry enough batteries to run a car for the first 20 or 30 miles daily; on days when a motorist went farther, the fuel would be gasoline.
There are no commercially available batteries for that task, however, and hybrids sold today constitute a tiny fraction of the market.


IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Live Earth 07/07/07

Al Gore has announced a 24-hour Live Aid-style event to be held on July 7 and featuring over 100 music stars, including Lenny Kravitz, Sheryl Crow, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Eyed Peas, and Snoop Dogg. It will take place at seven different locations simultaneously, including London, Shanghai, Sydney, Johannesburg and locations to be named in Japan, Brazil and the US.
The proceeds will create a foundation to combat climate change led by The Alliance for Climate Protection, currently chaired by Gore.
"In order to solve the climate crisis, we have to reach billions of people," Gore said.
"The climate crisis will only be stopped by an unprecedented and sustained global movement."

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.


Lieberman and McCain Urge Climate Action

In this editorial from the Boston Globe, Connecticut Independent Senator Lieberman and Arizona Republican Senator John McCain urge the US Congress to act quickly and decisively on the problem of climate change:
To confront this challenge, we have reintroduced the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act. The bill, which has growing bipartisan support, would harness the power of the free market and the engine of American innovation to reduce the nation's greenhouse gas emissions substantially enough and quickly enough to forestall catastrophic global warming.

Wall Street analysts and industry executives have predicted the eventual enactment of a bill such as this for some time. Late last month, a group of prominent industrial leaders, including two executives of coal-intensive electric power companies and a major oil company, urged Congress and the president to enact measures that align with the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act. Perhaps the inevitable is now imminent. We must seize the initiative.
How can Congress close the deal to prevent catastrophic global warming while it still has the chance? In the same way it has enacted every other major environmental law in the past 30 years.
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Will You Be in Bali?

The island of Bali will host the next major UN climate conference, to be held December 3-14, according to Monsters and Critics.

Thousands of representatives from the world's governments will discuss ways to protect the planet's climate during the December 3-14 gathering at the resort of Nusa Dua.

One of the main tasks will be to set out a framework for climate protection after the Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gas emissions expires in 2012.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Light and Power. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Green Faith: Good News on the Environment

Roger Gottlieb, last year's keynote speaker at our annual Sacred Trust Forum, has a long, thoughtful, and fact-filled commentary about the intersection of faith and the environment on emagazine.com. Here is an excerpt:

For many, the importance of religious environmentalism goes beyond local church members joining the Sierra Club or starting a recycling center. Ecotheologians argue that a religious vision brings something distinct and very valuable to the secular environmental movement. For one thing, when secular environmentalists rail at out-of-control unsus-tainable consumerism they often come off sounding like shrill spoilsports. “Buy less,” may be a good idea, but it is not, in and of itself, all that appealing. Religious leaders can point to the simple (and comparatively non-polluting) pleasures of religious community as alternatives to consumerism. The joys of Sabbath rest, or the emotional comfort of a familiar congregation, provide replacements for the mall and Amazon.com. Of course one need not be religious to appreciate the nurturing aspects of community and rest. Yet these values are perhaps most familiar to us as presented by a culture of religion which, as writer Bill McKibben puts it, offers something other than accumulation as the highest goal of life.

There is also a deep seriousness in religious language, a seriousness which, for many environmentalists, speaks to the depth of the environmental crisis at hand. When we learn, for instance, that the placental blood of newborns contains 287 toxic chemicals, many are not comfortable just saying that this is unhealthy, inconvenient or a damn shame. The violation of what should be a human being’s safest place calls forth a more powerful, more visceral, response. In this context most people find a language of rights inadequate, and one of “consumer preferences” patently absurd. And thus there is something appealing, even to many secular people, when Bartholomew, head of the 300 million strong Eastern Orthodox Church, states flatly that “To pollute the environment is a sin.”

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Ten Companies on Notice

Bed Bath and Beyond, you just got served! The Investor Network on Climate Risk, a coalition of unions, public pensions, and faith-based institutional investors, have named ten companies who are not keeping up with their peers in coming up with a plan to combat global climate change. This list of sinners includes usual suspects Exxon Mobil and Wells Fargo, as well as Bed Bath and Beyond. (Say it isn't so!) Read the cnn.com article for the full list and a rundown on their shortcomings. (No mention on where to find climate-friendly pillowcases, though.)
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Climate Activists Clever New Tactic

According to an article in SF Gate, Climate activists have come up with a new strategy to force companies to address the issue of Climate Change: Shareholder resolutions asking companies to address global warming in ways such as issuing reports on how it affects their businesses, acting to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions or preparing for carbon regulations.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light.
Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Science and Religion: Together Again

Submitted for your consideration: another editorial on science and religion uniting to solve the problem of climate change. This one is co-authored by The Rev. Sally Bingham, founder of Interfaith Power and Light, who will be the featured speaker at our October 16 Sacred Trust Forum in West Hartford, Connecticut. Here is an excerpt:

Science and religion have proved to be capable of independently inspiring social change and reshaping global consciousness. Just imagine what these forces could do together, in a united effort to reverse the damage we have done to our planet.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.
See our list of links to visit other Interfaith Power and Light sites, including the national IPL site.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mr.(and Ms.) Eco-Justice Goes to Washington

Christians are invited to make their voices heard on the Hill during Ecumenical Advocacy Days, March 9-12, 2007. The Eco-Justice track will focus on global warming and will include in-depth workshops about what we as Christians and members of churches can do to protect the children of today and the children of the future from the dangers of climate change. Learn more about it through the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Ministries. Visit AdvocacyDays.org to find out more about the conference and to sign up.

Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Not In My Backyard: Wind Turbines Face Resistence


A rural county in Virginia finds resistence to a plan to situate wind turbines there, according to the New York Times. The turbines would provide 39 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 15,000 homes.


Jerry Rexrode, a county supervisor who voted to approve a conditional use permit for the wind farm in 2005, said most people he had talked to supported the project. David Jessee, manager of an auto parts store, said of the turbines: “I don’t see a thing wrong with them. Economically, the windmills would draw in a little money and maybe bring everyone up around here.”


But Randy Richardson, president of Highlanders for Responsible Development, a group that opposes the project, said people worried about noise pollution from the turbines’ blades and light pollution from the red strobes that would alert aircraft to the 400-foot-tall structures.
Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Vegetarians are Doin' It for the Earth

In the Huffington Post, blogger Kathy Freston called Vegetarianism the "New Prius." Here is a taste of what she has to say:

Last month, the United Nations published a report on livestock and the environment with a stunning conclusion: "The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." It turns out that raising animals for food is a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and not least of all, global warming.

That's right, global warming. You've probably heard the story: emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are changing our climate, and scientists warn of more extreme weather, coastal flooding, spreading disease, and mass extinctions. It seems that when you step outside and wonder what happened to winter, you might want to think about what you had for dinner last night.


N.B. Except for the occasional fish dish, this blogger has mostly avoided eating flesh since 1980. Check out this link to one of my favorite vegan recipes: chocolate cupcakes. I substitute 1 cup brown sugar for the white sugar.


Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Is Linking Climate to Faith the Key?

The key to getting a handle on the overwhelming problem of climate change is to frame it as a moral issue, according to a story in the Tennesean by Ray Waddle.
He quotes a local activist, Joyce Wilding, who says, "If (climate change) doubters who go to houses of worship will recognize this as a moral issue, then we have a chance." Later he quotes her as saying, "I want to hear more sermons on this. Every seminarian ought to be trained to talk 15 minutes on moral issues of environmental degradation and not be afraid."


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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Evangelical Pastor Calls for Creation Care

Joel Hunter, an Evangelical Christian Pastor, calls for Scientists and people of faith to work together to solve the problem of climate change. In an editorial in the Christian Science Monitor he writes,

Every major religion has a moral mandate to take care of the Earth. For those who look to the Bible for instruction, it is the first responsibility given to man: "The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep [protect] it" (Gen: 2:15, NASB). Our moral obligation, then, does not depend on the rate our planet is warming, or even whether the main cause is human activity. We are to refrain from harming God's creation – period. Few Christians or persons of other faiths (or no faith) would disagree with that statement.

But the latest reports indicate the need to move the care of creation up the priority scale. The great news is that individually we can help as much as we have harmed the physical environment, but we must watch out that we don't poison the environment of relationships in the process.

Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Green Enlightenment?

Lynn McDonald, University Professor Emerita at the University of Guelph calls for a "Green Enlightenment on the Worldchanging Canada blog. She writes,

...change of the scope needed will require a major "paradigm shift," for which we will have to re-examine our values, beliefs and expectations for lifestyle. And so far, governments have failed to give leadership. Several provincial and more municipal governments have at least acknowledged the need for concerted action on climate change, short of coming up with concrete plans, which cannot go far enough without federal involvement.

All this will require careful work. Citizens can help start the process by setting out a framework for a climate change plan. The fine tuning can only be done in concert with government departments and technical experts, but citizens can and should lead. Just as the initiative for change in the 18th century Enlightenment came from outside government, so also might this.

Town hall meetings and "think-ins" at universities, colleges and community meetings could help to spark ideas and promote citizen involvement. Professional associations, faith communities, First Nations, unions, all kinds of voluntary organizations, should be asked to draw on their particular experience and expertise. We have a long way to go to, but there is now a growing consensus that fundamental change is needed.
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Campus Activism on Climate Change

According to ZNews, Almost 600 coordinated campus actions -- from photo petitions to winter "beach parties" -- marked the biggest week of climate action yet.

From Jan. 29-Feb. 2, students across the United States and Canada put on polar bear costumes, jumped on their bikes, chalked their campuses, threw beach parties, staged cross campus "energy wars" and packed university auditoriums with students, administrators and community members as part of the largest coordinated climate week of action in North America yet.

The Campus Climate Challenge Week of Action (Jan. 29 to Feb. 2) included over 580 student groups on campuses all over the nation. The week, which was titled "Rising to the Climate Challenge: Visions of Our Future," was the seventh and largest coordinated collective action hosted by the North American Youth Climate Coalition over the past three years.

Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Green (Wedding) Day

The Green wedding industry is booming, according to an article in the New York Times.

“People are making purchasing decisions based on environmental concerns,” said Gerald Prolman, the founder of OrganicBouquet.com, an online organic florist. Mr. Prolman, who said his Web site has doubled its sales yearly since it began in 2001, added a wholesale business last August to meet growing demand.

“Whether it’s food or cotton or flowers,” Mr. Prolman said, “people are asking questions: How are farmworkers treated? Who produced the product? How is the environment affected in that process?”

Eric Fenster, an owner of Back to Earth, an organic catering company in Berkeley, said that when he started his business in 2001, his clients consisted almost exclusively of social justice and environmental nonprofit groups. But that market has expanded to make weddings a third of his business.
And few events offer as many opportunities to say “I care” than a wedding, whose average cost is $25,000 to $30,000. Bridal magazines, too, have recognized the trend, and a new online site,
Portovert.com, made its appearance last month, catering to “eco-savvy brides and grooms.”
Visit us at www.irejn.org.

New Coal Plants Threaten Climate

Fourteen new coal plants are currently being built in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Nevada and are expected to release nearly 70 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, according to an article in AZ Central. These new plants threaten to undermine the political progress the Southwest region has made in benchmarks for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Our elected leaders have already shown strong leadership on global warming and clean energy issues by adopting greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy benchmarks. These new plants, which are based on outdated technology, threaten to undo much of their hard work," Jana Milford, a senior scientist formerly with Environmental Defense, said in a statement.

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Friday, February 9, 2007

$25M for Greenhouse Gas-Removing Technology

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson has announced a $25 million prize for the scientist who comes up with a way to extract greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, comparing it to the 17th-century quest to revolutionize navigation by determining longitude,according to Forbes.com.
Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Interfaith Climate Change Event Apr. 14

Interfaith/Ecumenical Climate Change Gathering
at Yale Divinity School
New Haven, CT
April 14, 2007 11:00AM to 1:00PM

Event Description:Yale Divinity School invites delegations from religious communities to gather in expression of shared concern about climate change. Assembly at 11am; reception and very brief program following. Optional workshops before and after by experts in congregational organizing and the science of climate change. Delegations are encouraged to bring a banner and other symbols of their community.
For more information on the National April 14 Climate Change event visit www.stepitup07.org.

All events free; RSVP preferred.

Location:Gather in the central Quad of the Dinity School at 409 Prospect St, New Haven. (Rain site, the Great Hall, above the main entrance.)

Directions:From I-95 North or South, take I-91 North towards Hartford. Take Exit 3, Trumbull St. At the end of the ramp go straight on Trumbull Street. At your 5th light, take a right onto Prospect Street. The Divinity School is about one mile on the right, #409.

India Explores Climate Change Options

According to the India Times, India's ministry of earth sciences is putting together a plan to involve scientists from all over India in an effort to address the issue of Climate Change. According to the recent Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change report, India is expected to experience serious effects from Climate Change.
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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

China's Response to Climate Report

According to the Scotsman, China's chief environmental scientist says that China lacks the technology to lower greenhouse gas emissions and wants larger, more developed nations to take the lead.

China is the #1 producer and consumer of coal, and is expected to pass the US as the #1 source of greenhouse gases in the next 10 years.

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Canadian Jewish Community Revives Environmental Stewardship

A recent symposium for members of the Jewish community held in Halifax featured keynote speaker Richard Zurawski, a meteorologist and scientist; Stephen King, Halifax’s head of resource management; Daisy Kidston, education programmer with Clean Nova Scotia; and Cantor Ari Isenberg of Halifax’s Shaar Shalom Synagogue to speak on global warming issues, according to an article in the Canadian Jewish News.
Isenberg stressed that Jews must revert back to the respect for the environment noted in several parts of the Torah and practised during the harvest festivals of Sukkot, Shavuot and Pesach.
He said the celebration of Tu b’Shvat, the new year of the trees and agriculture, reminds Jews of the spiritual lesson of the tree – that it’s not merely a plant that produces fruit and shade, but a symbol of life and an upright person.
“Tu b’Shvat reminds us of our responsibility [to the environment], but we have drifted and become abusive to it,” he said.

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Tourism and Climate Change

According to the Travel Daily News,

The Tourism Sector should be brought to the table in the global response to Climate Change, said UNWTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli, addressing the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) Governing Council in Nairobi, Kenya. Mr. Frangialli announced a work programme which will culminate in two major conferences in 2007 – a preparatory sectoral summit in Davos, Switzerland, in September, supported by the Swiss Federal Government, and a Global Ministerial meeting in London, co-organized with the UK Government and World Travel Market, in November.These meetings will intensify the follow up from the UNWTO Summit on Climate Change and Tourism, held in 2003 in Tunisia, which resulted in the Djerba Declaration and plan of action.


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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Yale Divinity Event Feb. 7, 2007, 4 PM


Scholars from the Yale Divinity School, Yale School of Forestry and the YaleInterdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, join together to discuss:


"Religious and Ethical Responses to Environmental Issues"


WEDNESDAY, February 7, 4:00 PM

Yale Divinity School Common Room

Light Refreshments to follow


As the issue of global climate change has drastically altered political, social and personal agendas around the world, creative ways of addressing this, and related environmental issues, have emerged. The four panelists - Professor Stephen Kellert (FES), Professor Willis Jenkins (YDS), Professor Mary Evelyn Tucker and Professor John Grim (Bioethicist in Residence at Yale),with moderator Professor Margaret Farley (YDS) - will discuss the ways in which religion, spirituality, and ethics have and will contribute to the environmentalmovement and the fostering of human-nature relationships.Come join us for an exciting and historic opportunity to explore therelationship between religion, ethics, and environmentalism, with five of Yale's most prominent voices on the topic.


We look forward to welcoming you,

Yale Earth Care Committee, YDS

People of Faith Take Environmental Lead

In Minnesota, as in other states, people of faith are taking the lead in grappling with environmental issues, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
"Global warming is harming God's creation and God's people," said Kendra Brodin of the Plymouth Center for Progressive Christian Faith at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis. "It's wreaking havoc on the land and on human beings who are losing homes, jobs, safety, even their lives in storms, floods, droughts and heat waves."

This week, Archbishop Harry Flynn of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Bishop Craig Johnson of the Minneapolis synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America joined polar explorer Will Steger and Minnesota scientists at the Capitol, where they called for action against pollution that can cause global warming.

But can religious people really make a difference on this most complex of issues?

Just watch us, movement leaders say.

N.B. The Director of IREJN is a Minnesota native and the Saint Paul is the home of this blogger's favorite coffee place and Vietnamese restaurant.

Visit us at www.irejn.org.