Leah Wiste at Michigan Interfaith Power & Light
Leah Wiste 1782sc

Leah Wiste

Leah Wiste's activity stream


  • published 2022 Year End Reflection in Blog 2022-12-30 13:04:49 -0500

    2022 Year End Reflection

    Earlier this year, I was mistaken for someone famous. 

    A restaurant worker approached me as I waited for lunch: “I just want you to know… I’m such a huge fan," she said, looking at my very intensely. "I love your work." 

    For a split second there, I sure did think: “Whoa! Michigan IPL is so much higher profile than I realized! How amazing that our good work is being seen by the public and that faithful climate action is on their radar…” 


    Look at our beautiful Board! 

    Read more

  • General Motors is transitioning too slowly to electric vehicles – and at the cost of public health

    In my hometown of Detroit, everything revolves around the automotive industry—the steel mills, the oil refinery, the plants that create the plastics and the parts to build our cars. Dubbed the "Motor City," the auto industry is woven into Detroit, for better – and for worse – to power American-made automobiles.

    Raised as a lifelong Detroiter from zip code 48217, my roots connect back to the auto industry, too. Like many in my community, I worked in the auto industry as a tenured worker at General Motors (GM) for over 15 years.

    Unbeknownst to me, as I played my small part in GM's success, my health was deteriorating both physically and mentally.

    The dirty, gas-powered cars and trucks popularized by companies like GM pollute our air and greatly contribute to our growing climate crisis. In the United States, the transportation industry is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, so it comes as no surprise that 48217 is the most toxic zip code in Michigan. Air pollution is not only a contributing factor to climate change; it is a national public health concern.

    When I left GM, I didn't set out to be an environmental advocate. I had been earning a middle-class living, but despite my experience and years of work, at the time, there was little opportunity to grow as a Black woman in the auto industry. I had to continue working in the plants, and eventually I was forced to leave because of my health.

    Read more

  • published Save Energy 2022-09-13 12:38:46 -0400

    Energy Efficiency and Savings for Your Congregation

    Don't wait to access energy savings and efficiency options for your community of faith! Put your faith into action and take steps today that will benefit for your congregation and creation tomorrow!

    Top projects to complete to move forward with energy efficiency

    1.  Lighting projects pay for themselves in a year or two and result in huge savings. Aside from changing out incandescents for LEDs or fluorescents for T-LEDs, consider motion sensors.    
    2.  Weatherization such as caulking and air sealing is relatively low-cost and can reduce drafts, improving the comfort in your building, and reduce heating costs 10 to 25 percent.
    3.  HVAC projects take planning and an investment but result in long term benefits. However, maintenance like a boiler tune-up can reap savings with relatively low investment. 
    4.  Wi-Fi thermostats can be controlled remotely from your smart phone. 

    Lower project costs and increase energy efficiency with these suggestions

    University Lutheran Church, East Lansing accessed huge savings by connecting to their utility provider's savings programs!

     Utility programs offer free energy assessments, rebates and incentives on projects and instant discounts on qualified purchases.

    For University Lutheran Church in East Lansing the rebates with their utility:
          1. covered 50-75% of the cost of upgrading the interior lighting throughout the building   
          2. replaced their parking lot lighting for just $1,000 on a job for which a contractor quoted them $25,000   
          3. covered $3,000 of the church's $3,600 annual boiler maintenance

    In Michigan, because of state energy legislation, our utilities are required to help their customers reduce their energy waste. That's why there are several ways to get discounts and rebates on energy saving projects. Connect with your utility provider for information on free energy assessments, rebates and incentives on projects and instant discounts on qualified purchases. Connect with Consumers Energy, DTE, Upper Peninsula Power CompanyAlpena Power Company,  Indiana Michigan Power



    The Lord of Lord's Ministries arranged for the purchase and installation of a 13.91-kilowatt ground-mounted solar panel system, a project that cost $31,150. The Inflation Reduction Act’s incentives will provide a direct pay (elective pay) refund of 30% of those costs.

    The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) can provide you with 30% or more back on specific project costs through the direct pay (also known as elective pay) program.  

    Included in the IRA, are clean energy tax credits for:

    •   Solar projects 
    •   Back up battery storage 
    •   Electric Vehicle charging stations 
    •   Geothermal Heat Pumps 
    •   Weatherization such as insulation

     Review the form, FAQ on Federal Programs for Houses of Worship, available at: Federal Funding for Houses of Worship.  

    Each congregation should speak with their accounting professional when applying for Direct Pay, (Elective Pay) especially when considering inclusion of roof or other costs. Learn about the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and how Direct Pay can help your congregation to recoup efficiency related expenses.

    St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Detroit's diocese was very open to providing funding for a window project that they otherwise would not have been able to do.  As a result, the congregation has been better equipped to create revenue by renting space with an impoved building envelope.

    Find funding!  Financing is often provided at low rates for faith communities.

    Denominations vary greatly in how they approach supporting individual congregations needs for building upkeep and efficiency.  Some are well equipped to offer grants or low interest loans for projects.  Take a moment to explore what options are available to your house of worship.

    Congregations without denominational affiliation or assistance may want to take advantage of some low interest rate options with Michigan Saves. Michigan Saves is all in on clean energy—efficiency, renewables, diversification, carbon reduction—you name it. For congregations that find those improvements are too costly, Michigan Saves can help. Qualifying commercial and municipal customers could receive as low as 0% APR for eligible improvements, like commercial building insulation, HVAC systems, and lighting. Check if your project qualifies! 

    Aside from grants from your denomination/faith, low to no interest financing is another way to fund your projects. Links shared here can assist you in exploring options with denominational and interdenominational funding organizations. 

     

    Our recommendations for Michigan congregations:

        Take action today. Don't wait for grants that may or may not be available to make building upgrades that will benefit your congregation and the environment immediately.   

        Form a Green Team for your congregation! 

               1.  Recruit at least three friends from your congregation who care about sustainability as an aspect of faith.

               2.  Meet with your congregational leader(s) to get their endorsement

               3.  Research your denomination's statements on creation care

               4.  Become an officially recognized group in the congregation. 

          You can find out more about how to form a Green Team by watching Hope For Creation's webinar.

             Get 2 or 3 quotes from qualified contractors. Find contractors on your utility website or use this contractor search tool.

             Plan to do the work yourself?  Access discounts and rebates on materials with your utility provider.

             Learn about the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) Know how to apply and what projects are covered.

             Go on a treasure hunt! Use this handy informational tool to learn all of the options for savings at your house of worship.

     

    Education and Inspiration for Congregational Energy Efficiency  

    Watch our Energy Stewardship Webinar  In this webinar, you will learn:

    • where to start in your energy saving journey
    • how to access discounts and rebates offered by your utility
    • of inspiring examples of faith communities who have put faith into action with energy stewardship

    Check out other past webinars:

    How Royal Oak First United Methodist Church renovated their historic building for energy efficiency and solar 

    How Victorious Believers Ministries (Saginaw) used Consumers Energy rebates to upgrade their parking lot lighting and in the gymnasium with high-efficiency LEDs and how they plan to upgrade the lighting in the sanctuary.


    Help us inspire and equip others in the Michigan IPL network by telling us about how your congregation is putting faith into action.

    Michigan Interfaith Power & Light is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to inspire and equip people of faith to be better stewards of Earth. Helping congregations save energy and reducing their reliance on fossil fuels is one way we advance this mission! As a result of our efforts, we are proud that there are more ENERGY STAR-certified congregations in Michigan than in any other state. 


  • donated 2022-03-22 13:38:16 -0400

  • published 2021 Year End Reflection in Blog 2021-12-28 13:32:21 -0500

    2021 Year End Reflection

    As 2021 draws to a close, I'm writing this to share with you where our issues stand and what I believe our movement of people of faith and conscience for climate justice must do next.  

    The possibility of a world where all beings can thrive has taken some big hits recently.

    The agreement coming out of COP 26—November’s global climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland—has been called a “death sentence” for the poorest people on our planet. Our nation’s most ambitious investment in climate and communities to date, the Build Back Better Act, is now stalled in the Senate. Meanwhile, earlier this fall, a military budget that dwarfs any proposed climate spending was rubber stamped with bipartisan support and without fanfare.

    Thousands of starlings move together as one before resting for the night. Scientists hypothesize that they may do this to confuse predators and minimize individual risk. 

    Read more

  • published Haven House in Blog 2021-12-15 10:17:05 -0500

    Energy Savings at Haven House Mean Helping More Families

    At Haven House, every dollar saved on utilities can be put toward sheltering families and helping them on their paths toward stable homes. 

    Founded in 1983, Haven House’s emergency shelter facility was built in the 1950s, which meant there were a lot of opportunities to improve improve comfort and efficiency and lower operating costs.  

    If we can save money on our electric bill, then we can spend that money on helping our clients with moving costs.

    Representatives from Michigan IPL, the Islamic Center of East Lansing, Haslett Community Church, and University Lutheran Church present Haven House with a donation of $5,500 to be used toward energy improvements. 

    With a $5,500 donation from Haslett Community Church, University Lutheran Church, the Islamic Center of East Lansing, and Michigan IPL's Carbon Fund, Haven House made energy upgrades to its facility. They upgraded the lights in their emergency shelter to LEDs, installed energy efficient air conditioning, new windows, and additional insulation. 

    Read more

  • published Congregations Caring for Creation in Blog 2021-10-07 13:01:47 -0400


  • published A Rabbi's Reflection on Being an Eco Chaplain in Blog 2021-10-04 12:48:12 -0400

    A Rabbi's Reflection on Being an Eco Chaplain

    I had never thought in depth about my relationship with nature or anything having to do with the environment until the summer of 2013.

    At the time, I had just finished my second year of Rabbinic School and was spending the summer working as a Young Adult Interfaith Coordinator at the Chautauqua Institution, an education and arts community in southwestern New York state. Each week, we heard from speakers from around the country, who addressed themes from various religious and scientific perspectives. From clergy and scientists, we learned the creation stories of different cultures and about our roles at this point in the Universe’s history.

    One idea changed the trajectory of my life: humanity’s resourcefulness, creativity, and wisdom have not only brought unimaginable blessings to the world, but these same strengths have made us so destructive to other species and our very own habitat that we are unleashing a global extinction.

    Read more

  • published Cultivating Community in Blog 2021-10-04 12:45:05 -0400

    Cultivating Community


    At Sunnyside UMC, garden manager Rachelle Yeaman tells the story of the Growing Community Garden, a collaboration with Fresh Fire AME Church, as tour-goers gather under the welcome shade of a centrally located maple tree.

    Recognizing that, in work at the intersection of racial and environmental justice, trusting and mutually beneficial relationships are key, Hope for Creation (MIIPL’s southwest Michigan affiliate) is building connections around shared interests in working the soil.

    With the support of generous grants from the Congregation of St. Joseph and the Mesara Family Foundation, we are engaging master gardeners and other volunteers in our member congregations to develop partnerships in neighborhoods facing food insecurity, with the twin goals of expanding capacity to produce healthy food and safe neighborhoods and of building lasting healing relationships between people of faith from diverse communities. Our focus in 2021 is supporting collaboration in neighborhoods that are environmental hot-spots in Kalamazoo and fostering connections between established and emerging gardening efforts.

    Read more

  • published Capital Area Chapter in Get Involved 2021-08-31 13:26:08 -0400

    Capital Area Chapter

    What is our response, as people from faith communities, to the challenges of climate change and racial injustice? Individually, our houses of worship have already begun to highlight a path to a renewable future. Together, we can do much more! 

    Members of congregations from the Lansing area are joining together to promote transformative climate action in our community.

    In 2022, the Lansing Area Chapter raised funds for a solar installation at the South Side Community Coalition. The array was installed in the spring and celebrated on Earth Day! Read more about that project here. 

    In 2023, the group is raising money to fund the installation of a solar array for an all-electric home in a new affordable housing development not far from the South Side Community Coalition. 

    The Capital Area Chapter's efforts currently involve members from the Presbyterian Church of Okemos, Haslett Community Church UCC, Edgewood United Church (E. Lansing), the Islamic Center of East Lansing, First Presbyterian Church of Lansing, Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing, All Saints Episcopal Church (E. Lansing), University Lutheran Church (E. Lansing), Kehillat Israel (Lansing), Community of Christ (Lansing), People's Church (E. Lansing), Faith Lutheran (Okemos), and Charlotte Congregational UCC. 

    To make a donation to the Lansing Home Solar Project.

    Contact David Arnosti ([email protected]) to join the email list and get involved!


  • We Need the Strongest Possible Clean Car Standards to Meet this Moment

    Today, I spoke at an EPA hearing about the draft Clean Car standards proposed earlier this month. This is my testimony:

    My name is Leah Wiste, and I’m the Executive Director of Michigan Interfaith Power & Light. We work with over 300 member congregations throughout the state, which comprise thousands of people of faith and conscience committed to bold climate action and protecting our communities.  Thank you for allowing me to offer testimony today.

    When President Biden announced the draft tailpipe emissions standards earlier this month, Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee offered a strange kind of praise, saying “This is sort of a Goldilocks goal… Not too much, not too little. It’s just right.” But it’s clear that the time has passed for moderate, “not too much, not too little” policy.

     

    Read more

  • published Cultivating Community in Hope for Creation Blog 2021-07-15 09:49:21 -0400

    Cultivating Community


    At Sunnyside UMC, garden manager Rachelle Yeaman tells the story of the Growing Community Garden, a collaboration with Fresh Fire AME Church, as tour-goers gather under the welcome shade of a centrally located maple tree.

    Recognizing that, in work at the intersection of racial and environmental justice, trusting and mutually beneficial relationships are key, Hope for Creation (MiIPL’s southwest Michigan affiliate) is building connections around shared interests in working the soil.

    With the support of generous grants from the Congregation of St. Joseph and the Mesara Family Foundation, we are engaging master gardeners and other volunteers in our member congregations to develop partnerships in neighborhoods facing food insecurity, with the twin goals of expanding capacity to produce healthy food and safe neighborhoods and of building lasting healing relationships between people of faith from diverse communities. Our focus in 2021 is supporting collaboration in neighborhoods that are environmental hot-spots in Kalamazoo and fostering connections between established and emerging gardening efforts.

    Read more

  • published Hope for Creation Blog in Blog 2021-07-15 09:45:27 -0400

    Cultivating Community
    Posted by · July 15, 2021 9:49 AM

    See all posts

  • published Events 2021-07-09 21:31:03 -0400

  • published Energy Stewardship 2021-05-28 15:00:39 -0400

    Energy Stewardship

    Michigan Interfaith Power & Light is helping congregations who have already received a free Energy Analysis take the next steps in your energy stewardship journey: 

    Earn $

     

    Save $

    with House of Worship Rewards

     

    with Discounts and Rebates

    Your congregation can earn up to $5,000 by helping members and friends save energy at home with a free Home Energy Analysis offered by Consumers Energy. Residents receive free installation of energy saving upgrades.

    St. Margaret of Scotland Church in St. Clair Shores earned $2,000 by helping members and friends save energy at home.

     

    Because of state energy legislation, discounts and rebates on energy-saving projects-- from lighting and refrigeration to HVAC-- are available through Consumers Energy. These can cover up to 100% of the cost of some projects.

    New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Saginaw got 60% off new lighting. This not only cuts energy bills, it also makes the building feel fresh and bright.

     



  • published Evict Enbridge in Blog 2021-05-10 17:15:44 -0400

    Evict Enbridge: Events This Week!

    Last fall, Gov. Whitmer ordered Enbridge to shut down Line 5-- the 68-year-old pipeline that sits on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac-- by May 12.  

    Enbridge, the company responsible for the pipeline that burst in 2010 causing nearly 1,000,000 gallons of tar sands crude to flow into the Kalamazoo River, has vowed to continue operations in defiance of Whitmer's order

    If you, like us, believe that corporations have no business risking our Great Lakes and our last shot at a livable climate for the sake of making a buck, I hope you'll find a way to plug in to this week's outdoor and socially-distanced events in Detroit, Lansing and Mackinaw City!  
    Read more

  • published Hope for Creation (SWMI Chapter) in Get Involved 2021-03-02 11:50:27 -0500

    Southwest MI Chapter

    Hope for Creation made and distributed
    hundreds of Earth Day kits for Kids in 2020.
    Styrofoam Collection Team
    Hope for Creation volunteers at the City of Kalamazoo's first polystyrene recycling drop-off in 2021.
    HFC logo Michigan IPL has a Southwest MI regional chapter: Hope for Creation Hope for Creation is a grassroots inter-religious group working to encourage and support faith-based action on climate change in greater Kalamazoo. 

    Getting involved in Hope for Creation connects you (and your congregation or faith-based organization) with others across the region and is a symbol of your congregation’s commitment to Earth stewardship and climate action.

    What are the benefits of being part of Hope for Creation?
    • Information and support for reducing your carbon footprint through energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainable practices. 
    • Connections with technical experts, peer communities, and relevant programs.
    • Guidance on starting and maintaining a congregational Green/Justice Team.
    • Up-to-date information about issues that affect the health of our communities and our common home, along with opportunities to advocate for systemic change.
    • Avenues to celebrate and promote the ways your house of worship has sustained the earth and to contribute to shared local conservation and sustainability efforts.
    • Opportunities to work with, worship with, and advocate alongside other people of faith who are champions of Earth stewardship in their congregations and in the public sphere.

    To get involved with Hope for Creation, email [email protected]

    You can also like Hope for Creation on Facebook and check out their YouTube channel.





connect