Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We're Moving! New web site and blog at

Check out Ohio Interfaith Power and Light's new web site at The site is also the home of our new blog. See you there!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Deadline Extended for OhIPL Gas Rate Reduction Pilot Program

Churches Pool to Reduce Natural Gas Rates

OhIPL is developing an Energy Audit Program for 2009 that can reduce your congregation's carbon footprint and lower your energy costs by 10-40% through conservation and efficiency measures. In the meantime, natural gas prices are predicted to increase this winter, and many of us are feeling the pinch of rising energy costs. Two years ago, 40 Ohio Episcopal Churches joined together to negotiate bulk natural gas rate service using a broker. By aggregating their usage to negotiate a lower rate, these churches averaged over $1000 in savings on their annual heating bills.

PILOT PROGRAM Following the success of the Episcopal churches, OhIPL is offering a pilot program that could save your congregation 25% or more on your natural gas bills this winter. All gas customers can pursue lower rates (to calculate your potential individual savings, click here), but joining together with others makes possible far greater savings than can be negotiated alone. Time is of the essence, however, to secure the best natural gas rates before colder weather arrives and rates increase. The deadline to register for this OhIPL pilot program to help your congregation aquire a reduced gas rate is November 15. For more information about how this program works and to register for the program click here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Green Jobs Now invites faith groups to participate in a national day of action

Green Jobs Now is a national day of action and part of an effort to build an "inclusive green economy" — one that lifts people out of poverty while addressing climate change. Volunteers are encouraged to involve faith groups in local action events on 9-27-08, calling attention to the opportunity to simultaneously address poverty and climate change while underscoring the connection between faith and action.

Green Jobs Now is a non-profit, non-partisan initiative of Green For All, 1Sky, the We Campaign, and many other sponsors and partners including Interfaith Power and Light's ally Faiths United for Sustainable Energy (FUSE). Click here for more information about Green Jobs Now and the 9-27-08 national day of action.

UPDATE 08-22-2008: Many people are also organizing around the Pickens Plan. Pickens PlanWhile the Pickens Plan does not directly address the need to lift people out of poverty, it is promoting massive investments in wind energy as a solution that will benefit the United States' economy and security, and the environment. Click here to visit the Pickens Plan site, and here to view a compelling video at EV World.

However, some are concerned there may be a flaw in a key tenet of the Pickens Plan. Natural gas, billed as a clean alternative to oil, may not be so clean after all. Click here for "Hydraulic Fracturing 101" and here for "Our Drinking Water at Risk" [PDF], both at EARTHWORKS. Click here to read a Newsweek article about a nurse's life-threatening encounter with toxic fracturing fluid.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Green Sermon Initiative

Ohio Interfaith Power and Light's campaign to recognize Creation Care sermons by clergy or faith community leaders in Ohio is nearing the submission deadline. Any sermon presented in 2008 and received by the end of summer (August 31) will qualify. This includes, for example, a green sermon already given for Earth Day 2008.

Email or hardcopy mail the sermon to us, and we'll post it on our Web site. We will donate a copy of Interfaith Power and Light's "Lighten Up!" and the new "Renewal" videos to each faith community that submits a sermon. Mail to:

     Ohio Interfaith Power and Light
     P.O. Box 26671
     Columbus, OH 43226

Use the email address listed above if you have a question about this campaign. You are welcome to submit prayers, litanies, calls to worship or other accompanying materials – these will be posted together with the sermon. Click here to see the sermons we've received so far. For those who are writing a new sermon, click here to view or read sample sermons.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Grace Cathedral Goes Solar; Benedictine Women take the LEED

The Very Rev. Alan Jones and SF Mayor Gavin NewsomGrace Cathedral in San Francisco, the church of Interfaith Power and Light's founder, the Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, is getting greener as it announces the installation of a new solar photovoltaic system. And in Wisconsin, the Benedictine Women of Madison are building a LEED Platinum monastery.

Photo: (L) the Very Rev. Alan Jones, Dean of Grace Cathedral, and (R) San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
© 2008 Episcopal Life Online

Thursday, July 10, 2008

OhIPL Joins Utility Consumer Advocates in Evaluating Electricity Prices and Rules for Ohioans

Ohio Interfaith Power and Light has joined a coalition of Ohio's utility consumer advocates to review proposed rules issued by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to implement Senate Bill 221, the bill recently signed into law to address electricity prices, energy efficiency, and alternative energy planning. More...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

How many lightbulbs does it take to change an Episcopalian?

The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio is launching a summer campaign to replace all incandescent bulbs in all 95 churches throughout the Diocese with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

For the full story, click here or read the first comment posted below.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Church bells toll for global warming

The Sound of Hope and SpiritLast Sunday, UCC congregations in Massachusetts began ringing their bells 350 times to call attention to 350 parts per million carbon dioxide, a goal advocated by NASA scientist James Hansen,, and others. Click here to read coverage in The Boston Globe's Green Blog, and here for an article from the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ. is inviting all faith communities around the world to add their voices. If you are a representative of a religious institution that wants to join this project and involve a larger network of communities, please visit "The Sound of Hope and Spirit" on their website to learn more and to access online organizing tools.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Two new studies: Extreme weather more likely; U.S. could go 10% solar by 2025

1) The U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research report that droughts, heavy downpours, excessive heat, and intense hurricanes are likely to become more commonplace as humans continue to increase the atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Click here for more details.

2) Clean Edge and Co-op America have produced a study that finds solar could provide 10% of U.S. electricity generation by 2025. Click here for an excerpt and a link to the full report.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Faith community's strong support of Climate Security Act grabs spotlight

"'We have seen the faith community come out in very strong support of this bill,' said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., sponsor of the bill, along with Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and John Warner, R-Va. 'It's God's creation that's at stake. … They feel very moved to respond.'" - writes Rosalie Westenskow. Click here to read the rest of her UPI article.

While the UPI story doesn't mention Interfaith Power and Light by name, OhIPL's support of the bill was covered by local media. Click here to read coverage by WOSU Radio.

Click here to read a well-researched white paper from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on how a well-designed bill can fully shield low-income consumers from economic hardship.

Click here to visit the Interfaith Power and Light Action Center, or better yet, take a moment to call Ohio's U.S. Senators Voinovich and Brown to express your support for the Climate Security Act (S.3036):

     Senator Sherrod C. Brown
     216-522-7272   Cleveland
     202-224-2315   Washington, D.C.

     Senator George V. Voinovich
     800-205-OHIO   (toll free from Ohio)
     202-224-3353   Washington, D.C.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lives cut short on average by 10 years

New research finds rates of heart attacks, strokes, and other serious diseases increase exponentially when people breathe air containing even slightly higher amounts of particulate pollution, microscopic particles which sink deep into the lungs. Californians exposed to high levels of this type of air pollution had their lives cut short on average by 10 years.

"When Dublin imposed a coal ban, when Hong Kong imposed reductions in sulfur dioxide, when there was a steel mill strike in Utah . . . they saw immediate reductions in deaths," said Bart Croes, chief researcher for the California Air Resources Board, according to a May 22, 2008, article in the Los Angeles Times. Click here to read the rest of Janet Wilson's article.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Evangelical leaders host creation care symposium May 3

"Creation Care: The Intersection of Science, Theology, and Practice," a one-day symposium featuring Dr. Calvin DeWitt and Rev. Ken Wilson, will be held Saturday, May 3, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ohio State University. The event is open to the public.

Click here to view the event's flyer (PDF). Click here to register. Ohio Interfaith Power and Light is listed as a supporter of this symposium. Join us!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Top climate scientist will lecture at OSU May 1

Dr. James Hansen, one of the world's top climate scientists, will be giving two presentations at the Ohio State University on May 1 --- a technical lecture at 4 p.m. and a general lecture at 7 p.m. [new time]. These lectures are free and open to the public. Click here to download a PDF with details.

"If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm." The entire report, "Target atmospheric CO2: Where should humanity aim?," and its supporting material by Hansen et al. were posted to on April 7, 2008.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Photos from March 15 event

Click here ( to see photos of OhIPL's March 15 symposium.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Advocate for state renewable energy bill

Voices are urgently needed now to encourage passage of H.B. 487 in the Ohio House of Representatives. This bill reinstated the benchmarks and penalties that were deleted from S.B. 221. These provisions are needed to get renewable energy going soon in Ohio. Contact Brandon Cavanagh, Environmental Advocate, at Environment Ohio for specific talking points if you wish to know more before you contact your state representatives and urge them to support these provisions. Let them know how important renewable energy is to you. Reach Brandon at or 614-460-8732.

The Columbus Dispatch covers OhIPL symposium

Click here to read Dispatch reporter Alan Johnson's article which was featured prominently on the front page of the Metro&State section of today's Columbus Dispatch.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Exciting speakers for March 15 event featuring the Rev. Sally Bingham

The Reverend Sally Bingham, founder and president of The Regeneration Project, will give the keynote address at a special public event to be hosted by the newly forming Ohio Interfaith Power and Light. The program, which will be held from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 15, 2008, at Broad Street Presbyterian Church, 760 East Broad Street, Columbus, is a response to the rapidly growing interest in climate change among people of faith. Reverend Bingham began the Interfaith Power and Light effort in 1998 with Episcopal Power and Light and the support of Grace Cathedral as a unique coalition of Episcopal churches aggregated to purchase renewable energy. In 2001, she co-founded California Interfaith Power and Light, which helps people of faith in California to organize and promote positive environmental change around energy and climate change. Nationally, she is working to establish Interfaith Power and Light programs in every state.

Also speaking during the program will be: the Reverend Rebecca Tollefson, Executive Director of the Ohio Council of Churches; Al Compaan, Chair of the Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Toledo and leader of a research group focused on thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar cells; and David Wilhelm, founder of Adena Ventures, a venture capital fund targeting central Appalachia, which includes the southeastern Ohio area in which he was raised.

One of Ohio Interfaith Power and Light’s founders, Keith Mills, says, “We believe that energy use is a spiritual issue. People of faith from all religions, that see caring for each other and the Earth as our sacred responsibility, are coming together to reduce harmful carbon emissions.” Everyone is invited to attend the event. There will be a freewill offering during the program.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Southern Baptist leaders shift position on climate change

Forty-five leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., denounce the denomination for being too timid on environmental issues. Click here to read CNN coverage. (A hat-tip to Sister Paula!)

Update: Also, Vatican lists "new sins," including pollution. Click here to read Reuters coverage. (A hat-tip to Greg!)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A faith-based approach to "going green"

Ohio representatives of many faiths are coming together to form Ohio Interfaith Power and Light, which seeks to mobilize a religious response to climate change and to promote energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy. The coalition represents a broad spectrum of religious traditions, including the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ, the Lutheran Church, and members of the Quaker, Jewish and Muslim faiths. The goal is to help people of faith fulfill their responsibility for the stewardship of creation.

Ohio is the 26th state to become an affiliate of the national Interfaith Power and Light campaign. It began in California as part of The Regeneration Project through the efforts of the Reverend Sally Bingham, an Episcopal priest (see related posts about her March 15 visit to Columbus). St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Dublin became the first congregation to join Ohio Interfaith Power and Light when the vestry approved the Congregational Covenant on February 13, 2008. There is no charge to sign the covenant. It is a pledge for a congregation to do one of the following: educate parishioners about energy and its use in relation to climate change; conduct an energy audit of buildings to identify energy waste and financial savings; make energy efficiency improvements to church buildings; use renewable energy, such as solar and wind power; offset non-renewable energy consumption by purchasing alternative, efficient, or renewable energy sources; and support public policies that contribute to the goals of Ohio Interfaith Power and Light. Click here to view a printable PDF of the covenant.

Ohio Interfaith Power and Light contributes to achieving the seventh Millennium Development Goal (MDG), “Ensure environmental sustainability.” This is the one MDG that everyone can do something about in their daily lives.

Click here to visit The Regeneration Project's web site, which has information on each state’s Interfaith Power and Light group, and features an online shop for the purchase of discounted energy conservation products, such as all types of compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Friday, January 11, 2008

What do Interfaith Power and Light organizations typically offer?

Educational resources on the spiritual aspects of energy use;

Educational programs for members of religious communities on energy conservation and the use of renewable energy in members' homes, transportation and businesses;

Webcasts and presentations on energy use and climate change prevention;

Energy audits of church, temple, mosque and other religious buildings to reduce overall energy use and shift remaining use to renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions and conserving religious community financial resources which serves as an example to others;

Support for religious communities to produce clean renewable energy, such as wind and solar, or purchase green power from their utility;

Group purchases of energy saving devices, such as energy efficient lighting products;

Partnership with other groups to foster “green jobs” (jobs involving building weatherization and those involving the design, manufacture and installation of energy efficient products and renewable energy equipment);

Advocacy for state and national laws that address climate change. Click here to view OhIPL co-founder Keith Mills' October 2007 testimony to the Ohio Senate on the electric energy restructuring bill.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What can our religious community do right now to start taking action on climate change?

1. Sign Up to become an Energy Star Congregation. Consider ways to improve the efficiency of your buildings and equipment and curtail unnecessary energy use. For information, call 888 STAR-YES. The National Council of Churches USA's Eco-Justice Program is offering a new creation-friendly, free PDF download building guide entitled, "Building a Firm Foundation: A Creation-Friendly Building Guide for Churches."

2. Check out the Empowerment Institute's Low Carbon Diet, a 30 day program that helps you lose 5000 pounds. Find out how you can become a cool household by shedding pounds of carbon dioxide from your life. Also see "Everyday Environmental Stewardship" from Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light.

3. Conduct a home energy audit. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory offers a web-based do-it-yourself energy audit tool. Use thermostat settings and insulation to conserve heating, hot water and air-conditioning energy.

4. Sign up for renewable electric energy from your utility. In Ohio it's referred to as the Green Resource Option. Here is a State of Ohio Public Utilities Commission announcement, and links for First Energy customers, American Electric Power customers, and Duke Energy customers.

5. Ask your religious leader to give a sermon on global warming. Tell them about our Green Sermon Initiative. Share with them An Interfaith Declaration on the Moral Responsibility of the U. S. Government to Address Global Warming from The Regeneration Project's Web site.

6. Buy energy efficient home appliances and buy a fuel efficient vehicle. Consider shopping at, a new online store for energy efficient products which provides individuals and religious communities with high quality conservation options at a discount.

7. Use a car less and walk, bike and use mass transit more. Ride matching services such as Rideshare Ohio can help you find others who have similar commutes and work hours, who are interested in carpooling.

8. Write, call or email your elected officials. Tell them why climate change is a concern of faith for you. Find your representatives' contact information at Project Vote Smart using your ZIP code.

9. Stay informed. Explore The Regeneration Project's links page for new ideas to help you and your religious community fight global warming.

10. Order the award winning video, "Lighten Up!: A Religious Response to Global Warming," which helps explain the complex issue of global climate change and offers ideas on what each of us can do to help. The video is available in DVD and VHS formats with a suggested donation of $15. Watch a clip and order the film by clicking here, or call 415-561-4891.