Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Furnace Rebates In CT

New Hotline Allows Residents to Take Advantage of Furnace Rebates
Call 1-866-940-4676 to request rebate application materials
Consider replacing your home furnaces before this winter's heating season to take advantage of a new state rebate program created by the General Assembly in 2007. Under the program, Connecticut families with household incomes up to approximately $100,000 can receive a $500 rebate toward the purchase of a new, energy efficient furnace or boiler for their home. Families earning up to $200,000 may also be eligible for smaller rebates. "Most homeowners don't consider replacing their furnace unless it breaks down," said Senator Duff. "But the reality is that replacing an inefficient furnace can help save hundreds of dollars on energy costs, especially during the winter heating season. This program is designed to make it easier for middle-income families to replace their old furnace or boiler with one that meets a higher efficiency standard."Senator Duff added, "With projected prices for heating oil this winter expected to be around $5 per gallon, it's important that we do all we can to be prevent what could be a crisis for many Connecticut families. I'd expect the demand for this rebate program to be very high over the next few months, and I urge all of my qualifying constituents to take advantage of this opportunity very quickly."Forms and instructions for applying for the rebates will be available from the state Office of Policy and Management within two weeks. However, interested residents can begin immediately calling toll-free 1-800-940-4676 to request the forms, which will be mailed to home addresses. The rebates are available for qualifying furnaces and boilers installed any time after July 1, 2007. Yesterday, the State Bond Commission approved $5 million to fund the program, which is expected to help about 100,000 middle-income Connecticut families this year.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.
Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Seminar on Bio-Fuels/Heating Alternatives in CT

Seminar on biofuels and other alternatives for home heating!
The Solar Energy Association of Connecticut announces a seminar on biofuels on Saturday, August 30 at 2 PM. It will take place at Flamig Farm, 7 Shingle Mill Rd in West Simsbury. Please register by calling 860 233 5684 www.solarenergyofct.org
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.
Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Greening Connecticut Cities and Towns

Green Goals for Buildings in our Communities:
A Program for Connecticut Towns and Municipalities
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
8 am to 1 pm
AIA Connecticut, 370 James Street, New Haven, CT 06513 Sponsored ByAIA Connecticut Committee on the Environment
AIA Connecticut Building Performance and Regulations
Connecticut Clean Energy FundConnecticut Energy Efficiency Fund
Breakfast and Lunch will be served
Fee: $20 Directions and additional information are at the AIA Connecticut website, www.aiact.org. Please click on September 17 on the calendar. Registration Deadline: September 13, 2008.
Program:Introduction: George Fellner, AIA
Green Guidelines' Benefits: Ross Spiegel, FAIA
Overview and Case Studies: LEED®, Energy Star(TM) , Green Globes(TM) , SB07 Rating Systems: Greg Bergmiller; Michele Helou, Associate AIA; Alan Lagocki, AIA; Rusty Malik, AIA; Linda Reeder, AIA; Tom Roger, Gilbane Building Co. Funding Strategies: Jennifer Janelle, Esq., Shipman and Goodwin, LLCIncentives and Programs: David Ljungquist, CCEF; Fred Wajcs, CEEFAIA Tool Kit for Mayors: Gwen Emery, AIA Connecticut ParticipantConnecticut Building Code and Regulations: Lisa Humble, AIA, State Building Inspector; Louis Free, AIA, State Codes and Standards

John Grim to Speak Sept. 24

Noted environmentalist John Grim will be the keynote speaker at the annual Sacred Trust Forum, Co-sponsored by Hartford Seminary and Connecticut IPL/Interreligious Eco-Justice Network.
Learn more about the event (and register online if you wish) here.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.


Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Google Maps Walking Directions

Perhaps it is a sign of the times, but those who walk to destinations whenever possible will be pleased to learn that Google maps has a "walking" option when searching for directions.
Here's how it works: Go to maps.google.com and choose the "walking" option. The travel time reflects walking speed instead of driving time.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.


Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Friday, July 18, 2008

Gore calls for Carbon-Free Grid in the US

According to an article in the New York Times, Al Gore has called on the United States to switch to clean sources for electric power by 2020. (See excerpt of article below.)
Dot Earth: The (Annotated) Gore Climate Speech
Former Vice President Al Gore said on Thursday that Americans must abandon electricity generated by fossil fuels within a decade and rely on the sun, the winds and other environmentally friendly sources of power, or risk losing their national security as well as their creature comforts.
“The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk,” Mr. Gore said in a speech to an energy conference here. “The future of human civilization is at stake.”
Mr. Gore called for the kind of concerted national effort that enabled Americans to walk on the moon 39 years ago this month, just eight years after President
John F. Kennedy famously embraced that goal. He said the goal of producing all of the nation’s electricity from “renewable energy and truly clean, carbon-free sources” within 10 years is not some farfetched vision, although he said it would require fundamental changes in political thinking and personal expectations.
“This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative,” Mr. Gore said in his remarks at the conference. “It represents a challenge to all Americans, in every walk of life — to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.”

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Go,Team Carbon-Reduction!

A New York Times article talks about Carbon Rally, a website that enables you to join forces with like-minded friends and family to reduce your carbon footprint. An excerpt is below:
I ended up at CarbonRally.com, a site that promised to make me feel good about what I do to save energy instead of feel guilty about what I don’t.
Or, as Jason Karas, the founder, put it, “We’re not going to make you upload your utility bills and measure your carbon footprint and learn fundamentally negative information like, here’s all the really bad stuff you do.”
CarbonRally, which began nine months ago with a single proposal to give up bottled water, now offers a few dozen ways that individuals — or teams — can save energy. For instance, keeping tires properly inflated on an average car that travels 12,000 miles a year will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 29.1 pounds a month.
The site offers an extensive explanation for its calculations. What leapt out at me was a statistic: a car with properly inflated tires will use 1.5 gallons less gas monthly.
That came out to $83.16 a year — or more, if gas prices rise. We needed a family team.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Connecticut IPL Director Interviews Rusty Pritchard of Evangelical Environmental Network

Originally published in Sh’ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility (www.shma.com) June 2008. Reprinted with permission.

Sharing the Earth
Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener, director of Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light is the spiritual leader of Congregation Pnai Or of Central Conn. She is author of Life on Earth: A User's Guide, and For All Who Call: A Guide to Enhancing Prayer Instruction in the Jewish Community. She is also the translator of Conscious Community, A Guide to Spiritual Development, written in the early years of World War II by Rabbi Kalanymous Kalman Shapira. Dr. Lowell “Rusty” Pritchard, a resource economist, is the National Director of Outreach for the Evangelical Environmental Network and the editor of Creation Care magazine, a Christian environmental quarterly.
Andrea Cohen-Kiener: Does your mandate for climate change come from Genesis?
Rusty Pritchard: Yes, but as an Evangelical Christian, I often go to John 3:16 which starts off, “for God so loved the world.” Most Evangelicals hear that word “world” and think it means all the people in the world. But the word is cosmos. And it fits with the story of creation in Genesis that God loves his whole creation.
Cohen-Kiener: We need to acknowledge our grandeur and our smallness simultaneously. I've experienced a resistance in the Jewish community to environmental efforts; I've heard often over the past ten years, “we have more important issues to address.” Have you experienced similar speed bumps?
Pritchard: The biggest speed bump is a limited conception of God, and a comfortable conservatism that is scared of change. I ask people, “what is it that conservatives should be conserving?” Of course we need to conserve natural resources, families and the ability of families to make a living. We need also to conserve beautiful places, including small towns and farms, all that makes human civilization good and beautiful and diverse. We can respect diversity because it's a blessing from God. That takes us past the shallow conservatism of fearing new ideas and deeper to a conservatism that says we ought to do our best to take care of the natural world.
Cohen-Kiener: In my community, there are primarily two speed bumps. First, my people are a minority and there's a natural tendency toward particularism — taking care first of oneself, one's people, one's family. The universalism of environmental makes some Jews feel it's not an essentially Jewish issue.
Pritchard: Even though it's not demographically true, Evangelicals also feel like an embattled minority culture. Our dominant myth is that we're a faithful remnant that acknowledges the truth even though the world has gone another direction. Until recently, our community viewed environmentalism as a liberal issue, or as a popular fad. But because our theology says that God's character can be seen in the created world, many conservative Christians are beginning to be concerned about creation care. In that view, destroying creation and permitting ecological degradation are like ripping pages out of scripture.
Cohen-Kiener: Let's talk about the pervasive value of consumerism in our culture, our deep hungers of the spirit and flesh. Our culture is so illiterate about the hungers of the spirit that we try to fill up that hunger with a new car or fancy vacation. And we're polluting the planet in that effort. We need a counterbalance to consumerism.
Pritchard: I agree. We have such a fundamental addiction to consuming. The Jewish Sabbath is an antidote to that hunger. It helps us test what we can give up from material culture. The Sabbath idea jumps out of every part of Scripture — the rhythms of rest and satisfaction and enjoyment of the created order are meant to pervade all of our lives. There are weekly rhythms and cycles of seven years and the jubilee cycle of 49 years, all celebrating the sufficiency and the providence of God, where we rest and enjoy and encounter with delight the works of God. The Fourth Commandment requires not only your rest, but the rest of all of your household, including everyone who works for you and all of your animals. And the land itself. It demands we not push to the limits our ecological systems or the people who work for us.
I've just returned from a pastors' conference in New York City where some of the urban churches are trying to reclaim the idea of cities as good places. Evangelicals generally hold an anti-urban bias that comes from a vision of our faith as a remnant existing outside of the mainstream of culture. There's an inability to see cities as places that need investment and work, as places to build meaningful community. In a highly urbanized culture we have to rethink our environmental work — conserving not only wilderness or endangered species but also building sustainable communities. I wonder whether there's something to learn there from Jewish tradition, which thrives in cities.
Cohen-Kiener: A city is a manmade place as opposed to the wild. It raises questions about how to create sustainable structures.
Pritchard: The pastor of Church of the Redeemer in New York City, Tim Keller, is trying to redefine a city to include small towns throughout the agricultural landscape. He envisions multiuse, walkable, human settlements that have density and diversity. Those settlements can be megacities or smaller places where people live in community, and where culture is created. God either wants us in the country or in the city, but I'm not sure we should try to mix the two, as in a suburb.
Cohen-Kiener: That brings us to another, related, issue, environmental justice, and questions about air quality, transfer stations, garbage dumps, what's called source point pollution, which is almost always located around the world in nonwhite population centers.
Pritchard: The worst stuff gets dumped on the poorest communities and on ethnic minorities. Within blocks of our church there's a toxic waste facility, a trash transfer station, chemical plant, an impoundment lot for towed vehicles.
Cohen-Kiener: When we talk about environmental justice we need to do so in partnership with the poor and with the “other.” If there was a garbage transfer station in the western suburbs of Hartford, Connecticut where I'm sitting right now people would be much more avid in their support of reduce, reuse, recycle and pre-cycle. The technology and the market forces would come into play more quickly if the consequences were borne evenly and appropriately.
Pritchard: Maybe we need a public policy that puts toxic waste treatment facilities and landfills only in the zip codes with the highest per capita income.
Systems and institutions can be sinful in ways different than individuals, who are filled with flaws like jealously, pride, and rage. Environmental issues open a window onto the economic and social systems that are unjust and often racist. As an economist, I think our public policies and the ways businesses operate will change once they face the costs of the pollution that they now get to dispose of largely for free. Climate policy may involve getting the right price on carbon dioxide so that it becomes a part of the price of all of the goods that we buy and sell and therefore we implicitly take it into account even if we aren't explicitly looking for the greenest option. It must hit us in our pocketbook. We need to think explicitly about challenging businesses to be not just responsive to price signals and creating value for their shareholders but to think about ethics in a much broader sense and to allow their business models to be contaminated by their sense of morality and not pretend that there is this huge divide that businesses are sort of amoral institutions.
Cohen-Kiener: Influencing minds and hearts is going to open a very powerful, passionate, articulate, empowered wellspring as we reexamine what we really need, what we really want, what really makes us feel wealthy and safe. It's going to look like spending less and having less. It's going to feel like more wealth. The root of this sin is disconnection. And the cure is connection.
(c) 2008 Sh'ma. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Sh'ma.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sierra Club Praises RI IPL

By Ted Nesi PBN Staff Writer
NORTH KINGSTOWN – An interfaith group that is working to raise awareness about climate change was spotlighted today in a Sierra Club report on faith-based environmentalism.
Rhode Island Interfaith Power & Light, founded in January 2007 by a dozen of the state’s religious leaders, describes itself as “an interfaith ministry devoted to deepening the connection between ecology and faith.”
To date, more than 60 congregations have joined in Rhode Island Interfaith Power & Light, according to the Rev. Harry Rix, chairman of the board for the North Kingstown-based organization. The local group is a state chapter of the national Interfaith Power & Light.
Rhode Island Interfaith Power & Light’s activities so far have included free screenings of the film “An Inconvenient Truth” and the distribution of free compact fluorescent light bulbs, provided by Wal-Mart, to low-income households.
The Sierra Club report – “Faith in Action: Communities of Faith Bring Hope for the Planet,” released by the Rhode Island chapter this morning at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Providence – spotlights faith-based environmental initiatives in all 50 states. According to the report, 67 percent of Americans say they care about the environment because it is “God’s creation,” and organizers are looking to tap into that feeling to boost the burgeoning “creation care” movement.
“This report demonstrates that the call to care for the earth comes no matter what one’s faith background is,” Chris Wilhite, director of the Rhode Island Sierra Club, said in a statement. “We are inspired by Rhode Island Interfaith Power & Light’s leadership in working to protect the planet, and this report is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to the many people of faith working on creation care initiatives across the country.”
In Massachusetts , the report looked at the work of the Rev. Fred Small, a Littleton pastor who in 2001 founded the organization Religious Witness for the Earth.
Small’s group has planned environmental prayer services, circulated petitions, and testified at state and federal hearings. In March 2007, Religious Witness for the Earth held what the Sierra Club report describes as the largest anti-global-warming demonstration in the country’s history.
“I wanted to explore how to apply the lessons of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., to a challenge of comparable moral urgency,” Small told the report’s authors.
Rhode Island Interfaith Power & Light, a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 to promote deeper “connection between ecology and faith,” is a state chapter of the nationwide Interfaith Power & Light. For more information, visit riipl.org.
The Rhode Island Chapter of the Sierra Club is an affiliate of the nationwide nonprofit environmental policy and research group. For more information, including the full report, visit www.sierraclub.org/ri.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Do Flatscreen TVs cause climate change?

An article in the British newspaper The Guardian warns about this new danger to the environment (see excerpt below):
The rising demand for flat-screen televisions could have a greater impact on global warming than the world's largest coal-fired power stations, a leading environmental scientist warned yesterday.
Manufacturers use a greenhouse gas called nitrogen trifluoride to make the televisions, and as the sets have become more popular, annual production of the gas has risen to about 4,000 tonnes.
As a driver of global warming, nitrogen trifluoride is 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide, yet no one knows how much of it is being released into the atmosphere by the industry, said Michael Prather, director of the environment institute at the University of California, Irvine.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Go Behind the Wheel of a Smart Car


Curious about the energy-efficient Smart Car? Salon has a
video review of how it drives.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ice-Free North Pole in '08?

The chances are greater than 50% that there will be no ice at the North Pole this summer, according to this article in The Independent (see excerpt below):
Seasoned polar scientists believe the chances of a totally ice-free North Pole this summer are greater than 50:50 because the normally thick ice formed over many years at the Pole has been blown away and replaced by huge swathes of thinner ice formed over a single year.
This one-year ice is highly vulnerable to melting during the summer months and satellite data coming in over recent weeks shows that the rate of melting is faster than last year, when there was an all-time record loss of summer sea ice at the Arctic.
"The issue is that, for the first time that I am aware of, the North Pole is covered with extensive first-year ice – ice that formed last autumn and winter. I'd say it's even-odds whether the North Pole melts out," said Dr Serreze.
Each summer the sea ice melts before reforming again during the long Arctic winter but the loss of sea ice last year was so extensive that much of the Arctic Ocean became open water, with the water-ice boundary coming just 700 miles away from the North Pole.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

$7 Gallon by 2010?

That's what Bradford Plummer is saying, according to an article in The New Republic. Check it out below
Via the WSJ's Keith Johnson, this new oil forecast from Jeff Rubin of CIBC World Markets is genuinely shocking, especially with its prediction of $7/gallon gas in the United States by 2010. There seems to be no way to avoid it: Saudi Arabia's pledge to pump out more crude amounts to a "pittance," China's decision to cut gas subsidies will barely move prices, and the most promising attempts to open up new supplies, in both the Canadian oil sands and Gulf of Mexico, have been plagued by overruns and delays. So, add it all up, and the effects on driving in the United States are going to be titanic:
Over the next four years, we are likely to witness the greatest mass exodus of vehicles off America’s highways in history. By 2012, there should be some 10 million fewer vehicles on American roadways than there are today—a decline that dwarfs all previous adjustments including those during the two OPEC oil shocks. ...
Our analysis suggests that about half of the number of cars coming off the road in the next four years will be from low income households who have access to public transit. At their current driving habits, filling up the tank will have risen from about 7% of their income to 20%, an increase that will see many start taking the bus.

Nearly 57 million car-owning households have "reasonable" access to some form of public transit, so that's where most of the shift will happen, but even then, it won't be easy—especially since transit systems are already overwhelmed (and facing budget shortfalls themselves because of high oil prices). And people in more remote—and especially rural—areas will be screwed.
Eventually, land-use patterns would start to change. Already people
are starting to move out of the suburbs and closer to city centers in response to high gas prices, but it's another thing entirely for millions to abandon the vast car-oriented infrastructure we've erected over decades and try to adopt European-type living patterns in just a few short years. To put things in perspective, only about 5 percent of Americans used public transit to commute as of 2005, compared with about 50 percent in Japan and Europe, where pricey gas has long been a reality. It's not clear whether the United States could scale up that quickly by, say, 2012, though it sounds like, among other things, it would be a good idea to get started now. (Oh, and that's not even touching on the potential for stagflation if $7/gallon gas really is on the way.)
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Congregations Making a Difference

The National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Programs is highlighting churches doing things to protect creation. Read about it below:
In May, the call went out for stories to be submitted of what local congregations were doing across the country to protect God's Creation. The response included more than 50 submissions, covering a wide spectrum of activities including Children's Ministry, Green Building, Food and Faith, Energy Conservation, Alternative Transportation, Recycling, Environmental Justice, and Comprehensive Program, with the winner of each category receiving a $500 grant to continue their work. To view a collection of the stories submitted, click here.
The Manassas Church of the Brethren in Manassas, Virginia, is the winner of the Children's Ministry category, with their Junior BUGS program, imparting the message of Creation Care to the children of their congregation. The Madison Christian Community, an ecumenical partnership between Advent Lutheran Church and the Community of Hope in Madison, Wisconsin, won the Food and Faith category for their restorative justice gardening, reaching out to inmates in local prisons to teach horticulture.
In the Green Building Category, St. Marks Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California, was recognized as the Audubon Society's 'Greenest in the Nation', and built their new building with LEED standards in mind. For the Energy Conservation category, the award goes to First Grace United Methodist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana, for their work to conserve energy in their rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina. "One of the most at-risk cities for the effects of global warming is New Orleans, and one of the biggest contributors is energy usage," says Sarah Fleming, one of the church volunteers.
Kern Road Mennonite Church, in South Bend, Indiana, has started the tradition of riding bikes to church, earning them the award in the Alternative Transportation category. "When one person starts something like this then the next thing you know you have a whole group of people," said Deanna Waggy, a church member. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, All People's Church has reclaimed a garden in an urban community, earning them the award in the Environmental Justice category.
For the Recycling category, Wesley United Methodist Church in Yakima, Washington, has kept more than 5 million pounds of trash out of the landfill through their community recycling program. And in the Comprehensive Program category, Maryland Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland, has, among other activities, reclaimed the wooded area around the church, and named environmental stewardship as a priority in everything the church does. "As our reputation for creation care grows, so has our congregation, which now attracts members from a 20-mile radius," said Bill Breaky, a church member. The church is currently preparing to install beehives at the rear of the woods. According to Breaky, "We look forward to the day when we can give jars of honey to visitors."
Congratulations to all our winners, and thanks so much to all of you who submitted stories for the contest, and keep filling us in on what you are doing in your congregations to better protect God's Creation!

Click here to send an email and tell about what you are doing.
To view a map and see what congregations in your part of the country are already doing, click here.
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Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.

Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Republican Senator Pushes Renewables

A remarkable showdown is taking place in Congress this week, according to the Washington Post. See an excerpt of the story below:
A Republican senator from Nevada, home to the highest foreclosure rate in the nation, yesterday blocked an ambitious plan to help troubled borrowers save their homes, saying he will not permit the measure to go forward unless the Senate adds tax breaks to encourage the production of renewable energy.
The demand by Sen. John Ensign
(R-Nev.) stalled a massive housing package with broad bipartisan support even as a report showed that new-home sales continued to tumble, underscoring the severity of the nation's housing slump. It also threw the Senate into chaos days before Congress is scheduled to leave town for the July 4 holiday, prompting Senate leaders to threaten to keep lawmakers in Washington through the weekend.
Late yesterday,
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said the Senate is unlikely to take a final vote on the housing bill until next month. But the Senate will eventually approve the measure, he said, adding: "We need to finish housing. . . . With 8,500 houses going into foreclosure every day, we have an obligation to the American people."
Ensign said he would not back down from his demand to tack on more than $6 billion in tax breaks for producers of renewable energy, such as solar and wind power. The measure is popular with both parties -- Sen.
Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) is a co-sponsor. But Senate Democrats oppose adding it to the housing bill because it is not accompanied by tax increases to make up for the lost revenue. Such an addition would ruin efforts to forge a compromise on the housing bill with the House, where 218 Democrats, a majority of the chamber, have signed a pledge to reject measures that increase the deficit.
Still, Ensign's insistence puts Democrats in the uncomfortable position of opposing renewable energy, a concept many of them ardently support.
That point was not lost on Ensign, chairman of the
National Republican Senatorial Committee, who has been trying for weeks to attach the energy credits to a bill that has some hope of reaching the president's desk.
"Especially in an election year, very few things are actually going to make it into law and going to be signed by the president," he said. "The housing bill has a great chance of being signed into law. And that's why we're trying to get this renewable tax credit on this piece of legislation."
Ensign said the credits are critical to ending the nation's dependence on foreign oil and are important for his home state, where renewable-energy investments are becoming a major economic-development tool and source of jobs. Every quarter the tax credits remain off the books, he said, the nation and Nevada lose investment dollars and jobs that will never return.
Ensign acknowledged that his state also has been racked by the mortgage crisis and has led the nation in foreclosures for more than a year.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at
http://www.shopipl.org/

World's Dirtiest Cities


Check out the photos and text at Popsci.com. I've personally been to two of the top ten. What's your score?
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Home Depot Recycles CFLs

Good news for users of compact fluorescent bulbs--all Home Depot locations will now offer recycling services, according to the New York Times. (See excerpt below.)
Home Depot, the nation’s second-largest retailer, will announce on Tuesday that it will take back old compact fluorescents in all 1,973 of its stores in the United States, creating the nation’s most widespread recycling program for the bulbs.
“We kept hearing from the community that there was a little bit of concern about mercury in the C.F.L.’s,” said Ron Jarvis, Home Depot’s senior vice president for environmental innovation, using the industry abbreviation for the bulbs. “And if the C.F.L.’s were in their house, how could they dispose of them?”
Until now, consumers had to seek out local hazardous waste programs or smaller retail chains willing to collect the bulbs for recycling, like Ikea and True Value. Some consumers have waited for retailers like Wal-Mart
to have a designated recycling day. Others bought kits to mail the bulbs to a recycling facility.
The
Environmental Protection Agency has been looking into putting bulb drop-off boxes at post offices, said Jim Berlow, director of the agency’s hazardous waste minimization and management division.
But those plans are not final, and across most of the country, recycling the bulbs has been inconvenient at best. Industry professionals estimate that the recycling rate is around 2 percent.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog. Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Seas rising and warming


According to this entry in the New York Times "Dot Earth" blog, the world's oceans are rising and getting warmer faster than expected. (See excerpt below):

The study, by Australian and American researchers, reviewed millions of measurements of ocean temperatures taken using a particular instrument on submarines and other vessels over four decades. The researchers found a subtle error that, when fixed, shows that the rate at which seas warmed and rose between 1961 and 2003 was about 50 percent greater than previous estimates.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Friday, June 13, 2008

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

In today's Washington Post columnist Dana Millbank takes a look at a congressional hearing aimed at dealing with rising incidents of food contamination. See an excerpt below:
The tomatoes attacked us brutally and without warning. Yesterday, our leaders struck back against the pernicious produce.
"As we hold this hearing, grocers and restaurants nationwide have been pulling tomatoes from the shelves and menus," announced Rep. John Shimkus, the ranking Republican member of the House Commerce subcommittee assigned to skewer the tomatoes.
One hundred sixty-seven people have been sickened by salmonella-tainted tomatoes -- and that's not the worst of it. "I tried to get a BLT sandwich in the cloakroom yesterday, and no tomato!" Shimkus recounted. "I had a BL sandwich."
Now THIS is war! And the more they talked about it, the more members of the panel realized that the Global War on Tomatoes would have to be broadened. Other freedom-hating foods are trying to kill us, too.
"We can see tomatoes, spinach, grapes, mushrooms, seafood and dozens of other items which have gone on to poison and sicken the American consumer," complained Rep.
John Dingell (D-Mich.).
"Jars of Peter Pan peanut butter containing salmonella, cans of green beans containing botulism, spinach tainted with E. coli, poisoned pot pies," rejoined Rep.
Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). "The largest meat recall in the history of our country. . . . Salmonella was found in Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat cereals. . . . Tainted cantaloupes."
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) was losing her appetite. "The longer you sit on this committee, the more depressed you get, because the issues never get resolved and crop up again and again," she said, betraying no sign that her "crop" pun was intentional.
It was one of the scarier moments in horticulture since the 1978 B movie "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes," in which mutant fruits turned against humanity. And there was no escaping the horror yesterday, even on lunch break in the Rayburn cafeteria downstairs from the hearing room. "Because your health and safety is our first priority, we have followed the FDA warning by removing the tomato varieties of concern," a sign above the salad bar announced.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.

Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rhode Island Moves Toward Renewable Energy

According to this article in the Providence (Rhode Island) Journal, Rhode Island is going green. Read an excerpt below:
BY TIMOTHY C. BARMANN and KATHERINE GREGGJournal Staff Writers

State Rep. David Segal, D-Providence, answers questions from his House colleagues as his alternate-energy bill is debated.
The Providence Journal / Connie Grosch
PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Senate last night passed a series of energy bills designed to encourage and embrace renewable energy projects, both large and small, in order to make the state less dependent on electricity produced by traditional fossil fuels.
The House of Representatives approved one of its own and started debate on another. But in this corner of the State House, the debate escalated into allegations the bill had been stuffed “chock-full” with so many “treats” that it had been turned into the legislative equivalent of a piƱata, and then rammed through a House committee without the opportunity for public comment on the potential added costs to ratepayers.
The House will resume its alternative-energy debate today, with passionate advocates on both sides.
Supporters of the legislation said it would spark development of small-scale renewable-energy projects, foster private investment in large-scale wind and solar projects, stabilize electricity prices, and at the same time spur economic development within the state.
Environmental advocates, who helped craft the bills, said enacting the laws would thrust Rhode Island into the forefront of renewable energy development in New England.
The centerpiece of the legislation is a bill that would require National Grid to enter into long-term contracts with renewable-energy developers to purchase their electricity. That requirement would give assurance to prospective developers that there would be a customer for the electricity produced by the project. Such assurance, the developers have said, is needed to borrow money to build renewable energy projects.
On the House side, some legislators were not convinced the bills were a good idea, and suggested that the General Assembly should take more time to study the potential impacts, such as how the bills might affect electricity rates.
“These are very complicated subjects which tend to be overwhelmed by emotional appeals to the ‘need to do something’ about alternative energy,” said Rep. Laurence Ehrhardt, R-North Kingstown.
The most significant energy bill, which passed the Senate yesterday, requires National Grid to enter into “commercially reasonable” long-term contracts to buy renewable energy from developers who plan to build large-scale renewable-energy projects. The company would be required to buy at least 5 percent of the power it delivers to Rhode Island, and the contracts would last 10 to 15 years, or even longer with approval by the Public Utilities Commission.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Green Energy in Middletown, CT

Landfill Gas Project Moves Forward

Middletown’s Common Council unanimously approved an agreement with business partners gathered by the Jonah Center for Earth and Art to move forward on the landfill gas project.

What are the environmental benefits of this project?

Assuming methane emissions of 150 cubic feet per minute (a reasonable estimate), flaring the gas to destroy the methane would reduce annual greenhouse gas emission equivalent to removing 2900 cars from the road. Utilizing this same methane to fuel a 350 KW generator would be equivalent to reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions from an additional 2800 passenger vehicles or powering 280 homes for one year. (Source, U.S. EPA Landfill Methane Outreach Program).

Endurant Energy LLC (Oak Terrace, IL) is the “developer;” Environmental Credit Corporation (State College, PA) will market the greenhouse gas reduction credits; William Charles Waste Companies (Rockford, IL) will determine the best location for the wells. Highland Power (Brockton, MA) will arrange for the local test well drilling. This initial phase of the project will determine the amount and quality of the gas emerging from the landfill. If there is sufficient gas, a 350 kW electricity generator will be installed to supply power to the grid.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wasting Food is as American as Apple Pie


America wastes a lot of food, according to the New York Times health blog Well:

For a detailed look at how much food the typical family wastes each month, check out this great graphic that appeared in The Times this weekend, along with this story on food waste by my colleague Andrew Martin.
I’ve also started reading
WastedFood.com, a great blog byjournalist Jonathan Bloom, who chronicles food waste and efforts to salvage food. Recent blog postings highlight the fact that 60,000 pounds of shrimp are consumed in Las Vegas each day, and how immigration policies can lead to food waste in the field because there aren’t enough workers to pick it.
To see a slide show illustrating how much edible food gets wasted every day, click
here.

The USDA publishes information about food recovery and gleaning (the ancient practice of going through a harvested field a second time to recover food missed in the first pick).

The Society of St. Andrew has information about a gleaning network.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.

Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Greening Glastonbury Connecticut

This article about faith communities making a difference for the environment appeared in the (Vernon, CT) Reminder News on May 6, 2008:
Glastonbury’s religious leaders are collaborating on a new green scheme with a strident environmental message.

The Green Action Calendar is the brainchild of retired Reverend Gordon Bates, a member of the First Church of Christ, Congregational and chairman of the National United Church of Christ task force on environment and energy.
Under the scheme, each of Glastonbury’s participating faiths and congregations will be allocated two-month slots during which they will promote environmental themes through talks, events, sermons and educational programs.
The First Church of Christ is leading the way through June and July, focusing on the themes of water conservation, organic lawn care and environmentally friendly transport. Buckingham Congregational Church picks up the campaign during August and September, when it will encourage Glastonbury citizens to avoid using pesticides and insecticides . In October and November St James Episcopal Church will promote energy efficiency, and as the year draws to a close, Congregation Kol Haverim will encourage the town to enjoy a green holiday season.
Bates says that, if successful, 5,000 of Glastonbury’s citizens could be reached through the program. The message, he says, is an urgent one. ”We don’t have a lot of time to play around with this… There are environmental dynamics that are irreversible, once they meet a certain point, and we are very close to several of those tipping points.”
Climate change is already a reality in Connecticut, said Bates, referring to the state’s increasingly warm summers and mild winters. “Less than 60 years ago the Connecticut River would freeze enough that they could drive wagons across it,” he said, adding that now we are in a very different era.
Of the new scheme, Rabbi Craig Marantz of Congregation Kol Haverim said, “We are very privileged to have a strong inter-faith , inter-congregational reality in Glastonbury. The clergy are friendly, and the congregations are friendly, and we find ways to interact. This is yet another chapter in the story of that relationship .
“From Jewish perspective, we are always obligated to preserve our environment . So, whether there is a specific environmental crisis or not, we have to take care of our planet,” he said.
The Connecticut Audubon Society is also supporting the Green Action Calendar . Judy Harper, director of the society’s Center at Glastonbury, thinks that churches have a dual role to play. “First of all, they touch an awful lot of people. Second, they have pretty big buildings,” she said, which could be the focus of sustained efforts to cut fuel bills through insulation , changing to energy efficient light bulbs and recycling.
Harper continued, “It pleases us as the environmental community to know that the churches are involved, because stewardship of the earth is pretty basic to almost every religion. For a long time it wasn’t their highest priority, but now I think they are realizing that they have a piece of this action too,” she said.
The project’s coordinator, Bates, said that his passionate advocacy of environmentalism began when we saw his grandchildren growing up. He said, “To change your whole lifestyle for something that may not happen for years and years only begins to register when you reach my age, and you are thinking increasingly about your children and grandchildren and even the next generation down. You ask yourself, what kind of world do they have a right to have? What kind of earth resources will be left for them?” We know we are running out of fossil fuels, he said, but, “that only begins to register to the average person as increasing gas costs.”
“Its been the American dream to have anything you want whenever you want it, in as much quantity as you want it, regardless of the cost to anyone else. That dream has the danger of becoming a nightmare for us and the world, if we are not careful – and so far we haven’t been very careful,” he added.
Bates commented that everyone has a role to play in protecting the environment . It can be as straightforward as swapping light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs. He said, “That one simple step, if the majority of people would take it, would have an enormous impact on electricity demand.”
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Polar Bears "Threatened" Species

In a victory for environmentalists, Polar Bears were named a "threatened" species by the U.S. Dept. of the Interior, according to the Washington Post.
Under the law, the federal government is now required to draft a recovery plan for the species, which entails assessing the population and its habitat. The ruling also compels federal agencies to consult with the Interior Department when considering decisions that could further imperil the polar bears.
Administration officials, however, sought to minimize the policy consequences of the decision -- the first time the Endangered Species Act has been invoked to protect an animal principally threatened by global warming. Kempthorne made clear that the decision would not justify regulating emissions from power plants, vehicles or other human activities.
Dale Hall, who directs the
Fish and Wildlife Service, which decides how to protect listed species, said such regulations would be justified only if the administration could prove a direct connection between the emissions and the polar bears' predicament.
"We have to be able to connect the dots," Hall said. "We don't have the science today to be able to do that."
But environmentalists, who by and large praised the decision, said the administration would have no choice but to curb greenhouse gases.
"The law says what it says, not what the administration wishes it says," said Kassie Siegel, climate program director at the Arizona-based
Center for Biological Diversity. "This is great news for polar bears. . . . It's also a watershed moment, the strongest statement we've had to date from this administration about global warming."
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

CT Legislature Passes Climate Bill

Both houses of the Connecticut Legislature has passed a sweeping new Climate protection bill. Governor Jody Rell has not yet signed it but is expected to do so. See the details below as reported by The Nature Conservancy:
Monday, the Connecticut State Senate, in a unanimous vote, approved Bill 5600, An Act Concerning Global Warming Solutions. Passed last week by the House, the bill will now go to the Governor's desk, and even though the recently announced state budget woes have thrown many initiatives into doubt, it appears the Governor will sign this bill.
The bill establishes a mandatory greenhouse gas emissions cap, requiring the state to reduce our emissions by 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, and by 80% by 2050. The legislation includes provisions directing state agencies to investigate and implement actions to achieve the caps.The bill also includes a provision, introduced by The Nature Conservancy, that directs the existing Governor's Steering Committee on Climate Change to establish a subcommittee, comprised of additional state agencies and outside experts, to assess the impacts of climate change on Connecticut's human infrastructure and natural communities, and to make recommendations for enabling our human and natural communities to adapt to the those impacts. Here is the link to the bill's language.If Governor Rell signs it, Connecticut will join 4 other states (California, New Jersey, Hawaii and Washington) that have established mandatory greenhouse gas emission caps, and 3 other states (Alaska, New York and Maryland) that have established state bodies to look at how to prepare for and mitigate the impacts of climate change on natural and human communities.
The emissions cap levels are in accord with the reductions that the Interplantetary Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), among others, have said are necessary globally if we are to have any chance of keeping carbon dioxide levels in the range of 450 parts per million (they're currently at about 380-390, up from about 260-280 pre-industrial). That 450 ppm level will create very serious impacts, but exceeding it will be catastrophic, according to many scientists.
The Nature Conservancy is on the Steering Committee of the coalition that introduced the legislation; the other members being Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Environment Northeast, Clean Water Action, Environment Connecticut, and Environmental Defense.
Legislators who warrant particular mention for their efforts on this bill include Representatives Pat Widlitz and Bob Godfrey and Senators Don Williams, John McKinney and Ed Meyer.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Miriam MacGillis at Mercy Center in CT

INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED SPEAKER COMING TO MERCY CENTER
Miriam MacGillis Will Provide Lecture and Day of Reflection

MADISON, Conn., MARCH 12, 2008 – Mercy Center is pleased to announce Miriam MacGillis, winner of the The Thomas Berry Award is providing two opportunities to learn more about sustainability and cosmology. Only One Future: Perspectives on Cosmology and Sustainability will be covered in a lecture on Friday, June 27 at 7pm and on Saturday, June 28 from 9:30am – 4pm will be a day of reflection facilitated by Miriam to allow participants to go deeper into the connection of cosmology and sustainability.& nbsp; Both events are fundraisers for the Mercy Northeast Ecology Project.

Drawing from the writings of geologian Thomas Berry and cosmologist Brian Swimme, Miriam will open perspectives from "deep time" into the seamless fabric of our planet's origin in the stars, and the intricacy of the memory woven into the DNA of the one single community of life. The unity of the whole provides the perspectives for our generation to re-vision itself in a new identity and purposefulness.

Friday night's lecture will provide an overview of this perspective with a sense of direction for ending the ecological and social devastation of our times. Saturday's Day of Reflection, a day of retreat, will be on the same themes of Friday's night lecture, but will provide more resources for the inner and outer transformation to which we are called.

Miriam Therese MacGillis is a member of the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, New Jersey. She lives and works at Genesis Farm, which she co-founded in 1980 with the sponsorship of her Dominican congregation. She sees Genesis Farm as a learning center where people of good will are welcome to search for more authentic ways to live in harmony with the natural world and each other.

Miriam also coordinates programs exploring the work of Thomas Berry as he has interpreted the New Cosmology. Miriam describes herself as having been formed by the three rivers which have shaped the regions of New Jersey where she has lived her life. In 2005, Miriam was presented with the Thomas Berry Award by the Center for Life and the Environment, and in 2007 was named among the planet’s top 15 green religious leaders by Grist magazine.

Mercy Center is a spiritual retreat and conference center for human development. We seek to a center that runs efficiently and economically while incorporating more sustainable operations throughout our facility. As we educate ourselves, we also strive to provide workshops and events to help the community learn about local environmental concerns and connect with nature and offer opportunities for greater spiritual connections to Earth.

Registration is required. Registration for Friday night’s lecture is $10 and Saturday’s day of reflection is $65. Saturday’s retreat includes lunch. Register for this program online at www.mercybythesea.org or for more information please contact Betty Orosz at 203.245.0401 or betty@mercybythesea.org.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Sunday, May 4, 2008

LED Lights, Bargain or Ripoff?

Salon's Enviro-expert Pablo takes on LED lights. Read an excerpt below:

A 7W LED can be compared to a 10W CFL, which also emits 500 lumens. The closest incandescent bulb that I could find was a 460-lumen or 40W bulb. The next thing is to compare the efficacy of the bulbs. This is done using the measure of lumens per watt, or light emitted per electricity input. The incandescent bulb has an efficacy of 12 lumens/watt while the CFL has an efficacy of 50 lumens/watt, only to be outdone by the LED at 71 lumens/watt. So it's clear that LEDs are by far more efficient than incandescent bulbs. But does this justify forgoing CFLs in favor of LEDs? At over $50 per bulb, the high upfront cost will give everyone pause. But is the long lifetime or the high efficiency worth the cost?
A 10W CFL, available online for $6.90, has an expected median lifetime of 10,000 hours. While this is about 10 times longer than the life expectancy of an incandescent bulb, it is only one-fifth the expected life of the LED. So LEDs have the potential of cutting down on ladder time by a factor of 50 over incandescent bulbs! At about 25 cents apiece, the incandescent has by far the lowest upfront cost, which is why many people still use them. If we normalize the cost of all the bulbs over a 50,000-hour period, the incandescent bulbs cost $12.50, while CFL bulbs cost $34.50, and the LED bulb costs $59.95. But, as you may already know, the upfront cost of a bulb is by far the cheapest part. It's the electricity required to operate the bulb that adds up.
Over a period of 50,000 hours, a 40W incandescent bulb will use 2,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh). At 15 cents per kWh, this will put $300 in the pocket of your local utility, bringing the total cost of the incandescent bulb, over 50,000 hours, up to $312.50. The CFL bulb only uses 500kWh over the same time period, or $75, totaling $109.50. Finally, the LED bulb will use 350kWh for $52.50, with a total cost of $112.45. So, in this example, the LED light does cost a few dollars more but the difference is negligible. Think of the time you will save by not running to the store to buy bulbs and climbing the ladder to change them.



As for their disposal, LED lights, unlike CFLs, contain no mercury and many of them are compliant with the European Union's Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive. Like CFLs they do contain electronic circuits, which are hard to separate back into individual materials for recycling. But with a life span of 50,000 hours, the relative amount of waste created will be quite minimal.
There are still some limitations to LEDs. The best idea is to figure out your lighting needs and speak with a lighting professional at a local lighting store or at LED Waves to find the solution for you. Be sure to tell them if you are looking for area lighting or spot lighting, bright light or colored light, indoor or outdoor, on/off or dimmable. There are a growing number of options in the LED bulb market and you should be able to find the right bulbs for you. An exciting lighting innovation that comes with the commercialization of LED lighting is the versatility of LEDs in creating changes in brightness and color using a computer controller. It's now possible to wake up to a simulated sunrise or to set the mood for a romantic dinner at the touch of a button.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Monday, April 28, 2008

Clean Energy Tours in Canton, CT

There are still a few tickets left for the PACE solar/clean energy tour. Here is the info:

SOLAR TOUR/SEMINAR...This Saturday in Canton!
There are a FEW tickets left for this interesting experience...a chance to talk to experts, to ask your questions, to explore solar and green options of all kinds and to share an interesting discussion and visit. Come and celebrate spring and the hope and sanity that solar energy exemplifies!
Our 50th SOLAR HOUSE TOUR & SEMINAR!
sponsored byPACE (People's Action for Clean Energy)
and The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Noon or 3:00 PM (Rain or shine)
Canton, Connecticut
Featuring:· new 5.5 Kw solar electric system· domestic solar hot water system· passive solar construction· sunspace· timber frame construction with stress skin panels· insulated slab floor· energy efficient windows· recirculating air ventilation system tied into wood stove & sunspace· seminar including experts on green building, solar electricity, solar hot water and new engineering technologies· Connecticut Clean Energy Fund Rebate information· Prius hybrid car· clean energy literatureTickets & Directions - $20.00 per person
(Only $15.00 per person for 2008 PACE members.)
To order tickets, send twenty dollars per person to:PACE c/o Linda Pearson, 85 Westledge Road, West Simsbury, CT 06092(Please indicate your preferred tour/seminar time: 12 Noon or 3:00 PM)
For ticket information, call (860) 651-7449.For tour information, call (860) 693-4813.PACE is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public health organization.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Monday, April 21, 2008

Greening Faith in Connecticut

The Stamford Advocate has an article about Connecticut IPL.
'Green Faith' aiding the Earth
By Lisa ChamoffStaff Writer

The first book of the Bible tells of God creating the Earth in six days.
While there is no mention of climate change, energy efficiency or solar panels in Genesis, that has not stopped some religious leaders from embracing the ideals of environmentalism that were once reserved for the crunchy granola set.
Earlier this year, the Vatican included pollution in a list of seven new sins.
"Environmental problems are getting obvious and worse," said Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener, director of the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, a Hartford-based environmental advocacy group. "People feel that when they look outside."
One of the Eco-Justice Network's projects is Connecticut Interfaith Power and Light, which is part of a national campaign that promotes renewable energy, with more than 25 states participating.
Over the last two years, Connecticut Interfaith Power and Light has helped organize the program This Old House of Worship, which assesses the energy efficiency of churches, synagogues and other religious buildings. A new workshop will focus on homes.
"I think people are coalescing around it," Cohen-Kiener said. "We're building community with it."
Religious environmentalism is not new. The Interfaith Power and Light effort began 10 years ago. The New Jersey-based organization Green Faith has been around for more than 15 years.
But religion only recently began playing a major role, said John Grim, who teaches religion and ecology at Yale University with his
wife, Mary Evelyn Tucker. They also co-founded the Forum on Religion and Ecology.
This partially stems from the efforts of religious leaders, such as Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, Grim said.
Religious groups and scientists also have started to express common opinions on environmental issues.
"There's a feeling of a shared ground now," Grim said. "They've put aside those differences and tried to realize that this common ground we share is this habitat we live in."
A conference at Yale University last month, "Renewing Hope: Pathways of Religious Environmentalism," drew dozens of people.
Yale Divinity School recently began offering a joint degree program with the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and there are many faculty members who work at both schools.
Willis Jenkins, who teaches social ethics at Yale, is one of three faculty members with a joint appointment. He teaches a class on the interaction between Christian theology and environmental problems.
While there are currently just four joint degree students at Yale, there are Divinity School graduates who work with faith-based environmental organizations, including Green Faith and Earth Ministry in Seattle.
Religious groups have found that the values they hold translate well to environmentalism, Jenkins said.
"Religious communities are much quicker to make the connections to human suffering," Jenkins said.
Locally, religious groups are latching on to the environmental movement. Various area churches have hosted screenings of former Vice President Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth."
Others are finding small ways to help save the planet.
Yesterday morning, members of the Northeast Community Church, a new non-denominational church based on Knight Street in Norwalk, teamed with environmental group Save the Sound to clean Calf Pasture Beach in honor of Earth Day.
Pastor Thomas Mahoney said this is the church's first specifically environmental project, but that members intend to organize other initiatives.
"We do believe strongly that we have a responsibility to care for creation," Mahoney said. "We believe that's pretty well outlined in the first book of the Bible, in Genesis. We're working through what that means for us as a community and how we implement that. We definitely feel that it's not just an environmental issue, but it's a spiritual issue."
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C.

Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Friday, April 11, 2008

Al Gore's New Slideshow

See it at the Huffington Post.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Green Political Convention?

Nancy Pelosi(D, CA), Speaker of the US House of Representatives, is promising that this year's Democratic National Convention will be the most sustainable ever, according to this entry in the Washington Post campaign diary The Trail:
An Eco-friendly Convention Contest
By Juliet Eilperin
Despite the fact that their delegates will be traveling thousands of miles to attend their national convention in August, Democrats remain optimistic they will have "the most environmentally-sustainable Democratic Convention in history," they announced yesterday.
In order to ensure that happens, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and convention organizers have launched the "Green Delegate Challenge," which offers incentives to the delegation that does the most to offset its carbon footprint.
There's one significant payoff for those who compensate for the fossil fuels they burn along the way to the Denver nominating event: Delegations with the highest percentage of members offsetting their carbon impact get better seating sections on the floor of the Pepsi Center. Each delegate, alternate and superdelegate from winning states will also receive a limited-edition eco-friendly prize -- to be determined -- and convention organizers will update the public on the course of the contest on DemConvention.com.

Even if a state delegation doesn't win the prize, each delegate who offsets his or her travel gets a unique wearable "green item" to wear during convention week, so all their fellow delegates can know how virtuous they are.
"Colorado is going green in ways both large and small, and I'm proud to be a part of the effort to provide Colorado citizens and convention delegates alike the opportunity to offset our carbon footprint," said the state's Democratic governor, Bill Ritter. "Between the delegate challenge and its comprehensive greening initiatives, the Democratic National Convention can make an important contribution to our New Energy Economy."
One hint to the delegates: There's an easy way to win the contest without breaking a sweat -- stay at home, and vote for the presidential nominee by proxy. After all, that's the most eco-friendly move of all.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.Check out the National IPL Blog.

Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Maine Action!

Attention Mainers--Action is needed on the following proposal:

Help Protect Maine's Environmental and Energy Future...
Make Maine Homes More Energy Efficient!

We need your help to ensure that Mainers get money-saving, energy efficient buildings! LD 2257, An Act to Establish a Uniform Building and Energy Code in Maine, would comprehensively reform our state's building codes, including an energy code. It's good for the economy! It's good for the environment! It's good for families struggling to pay energy bills!

Please call or email your legislator TODAY and ask them
to support the majority report on LD 2257!

LD 2257 would establish uniform, predictable building and energy codes that tackle rising energy costs, help developers and builders, and make it easier to rehabilitate existing buildings. The energy efficient building code would save money for new homeowners from day one. In fact, a home not built to the energy code costs more to heat in one winter than it would cost to meet the code!

Maine's current optional system does not work: 85% of new homes built in Maine fail to meet the minimum energy standard, so Maine families are burdened with unnecessarily high heating bills.
LD 2257 provides options and flexibility for towns to implement the code, and towns under 2,000 are exempt from enforcement. If we don't pass an enforceable statewide energy code, Maine will continue to see skyrocketing energy costs and global warming pollution.

Contact your legislators to urge their support for the Majority Report on LD 2257. To find out who your legislators are, please visit here. If you know who your legislators are then please call them at these numbers:
To leave a message for your senator, please call (207) 287-1515 or (800) 423-6900.
To leave a message for your representative, please call (207) 287-1400 or (800) 423-2900.

Your message is simple: support the majority report on LD 2257.

To find out more about LD 2257 visit NRCM's website or contact Sara Lovitz at: slovitz@nrcm.org or 1-800-287-2345 ext 205.

TOWN AND CITY OFFICIAL SUPPORT IS CRITICAL!!!

We also need the support of town and city officials to help pass this bill! If you are a municipal official please sign-on to a letter to House and Senate leadership. Join with others who have already expressed their strong support for a uniform building and energy code that is long overdue! Sign on to this letter here. If you are not a municipal official please encourage any official that you do know to sign this letter.

Thank you for taking this important action today!

Harry Brown
Executive Director
Maine Interfaith Power & Light
www.meipl.org

P.O. Box 4834Portland, ME 04112(207) 721-0444 Contact Us
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.
Check out the National IPL Blog.Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/