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
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
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 out the National IPL Blog.
Find discounts on energy saving products at

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