Flooding. The climate crisis. Inequitable access to clean and affordable water. These are just some of the issues our region faces. What new practices and paradigm shifts do we need to meet this moment?
Our religious traditions have much wisdom about our relationships to one another and our watershed, and we can also learn from our communities about how to put faith into action in practical ways. Join us for this series about how people of faith and conscience in our region can respond to these issues in this watershed moment.
Thursday, Sept. 23
#1 - Water Stewardship and Justice: An Interfaith Dialogue
With Rev. Roslyn Bouier, Imam Mustapha Elturk, and Rabbi Nate DeGroot
Details and Registration
Sunday, Oct. 3
#2 - Putting Faith into Action: Reducing your Drainage Fee, Installing Rain Gardens, and more
With Rev. Glen Hodges, Steve Wasko, Dr. Alan Hoback, and Rondi Brower
Details and Registration
(outdoors at St. Suzanne's, Detroit)
#3 - Uncharted Waters: Suburban and Urban Faith Communities and our Regional Responsibility
With Rev. William Danaher and others
Details and Registration link coming soon (Zoom)
We are grateful to our co-sponsors: People's Water Board Coalition, Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Movement, the Islamic Organization of North America, the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, the National Wildlife Federation, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Hazon Detroit, Brightmoor Connection, the American Human Rights Council, and the Land and Water Works Coalition.
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. Currently we are working with our partners at the Southside Community Coalition to support this organization’s environmental impact in South Lansing by building a rooftop solar project that will drive their program with 100% renewable energy!
The Capital Area Chapter's efforts currently involve members from the Presbyterian Church of Okemos, Haslett Community Church, Edgewood Church, the Islamic Center of East Lansing, First Presbyterian Church of Lansing, Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing, All Saints Episcopal Church, and University Lutheran Church.
Contact David Arnosti ([email protected]) to join the email list and get involved!
The Capital Area Chapter meets monthly on Zoom; the next meeting is September 28th at 8 p.m. You are welcome to join us at the following link:
Topic: Capital Area MI IPL
Time: Sep 28, 2021 08:00 PM Eastern Time
Meeting ID: 984 8086 9378
leah wiste published We Need the Strongest Clean Car Standards to Meet this Moment in Blog 2021-08-26 11:06:06 -0400
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.
When I first began working at Michigan IPL 8 years ago, we pointed to climate impacts that were happening in other parts in the world and to scientists’ predictions of warming temperatures and increasingly erratic weather. We no longer talk about climate impacts in the future tense.
This summer, the climate crisis brought another thousand-year flood to Detroit (our second since 2014). In June, an overnight rainfall of 7 inches (twice the amount of rain Detroit historically receives in the whole month) shut down I-94 for days and flooded thousands of basements. $96million in relief has been approved by FEMA as of July 15. Beyond the immediate loss and damages, those whose homes were impacted are likely to experience health consequences from lingering mold and sewage, which are especially dangerous for those already made vulnerable by asthma, COVID, and other diseases.
Since transportation emissions are the largest source of US climate pollution, clean car standards must be commensurate with the climate emergency we are experiencing right now. The current proposal falls dangerously short.
The proposed standards are full of loopholes and rely on voluntary commitments from the automakers—the same automakers who got an $80 billion government bailout in 2009, agreed to stronger emissions reductions under President Obama, and then reneged on their commitment when the political winds changed. Too much is at stake for us to rely on the voluntary commitments of this demonstrably untrustworthy industry now.
We at Michigan Interfaith Power & Light envision a world where communities thrive, have abundant health, and live in right relationship with each other and the earth that sustains us. We’re asking for a 2030 standard for cars and light-duty trucks that reduces greenhouse gas emissions to 60% below today’s average and to make all new trucks and buses zero-emissions by 2040. We are calling for all cars and light duty trucks to be zero emissions by 2035, which will require at least 60% to be zero emissions by 2030.
The draft clean cars proposal can be a moral opportunity. We have, in front of us, a chance to respond to the cry of our communities and the cry of the earth, an opportunity to follow the science, and to move rapidly to make the emissions reductions we know are necessary. It is possible and it can be done in a way benefits us in Michigan, our country and the world.
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.
On a recent June Saturday afternoon, Hope for Creation sponsored a tour of several examples of congregational creation care. Each congregation provided a land acknowledgement, simple refreshments, a plant-based recipe and a quick tour of its property, followed by time for questions and connections. First stop was the Growing Community Garden, a shared endeavor of Sunnyside United Methodist Church and Fresh Fire AME Church, where a multiracial garden team tends an extensive plot that is intentionally open for neighbors to forage and play. Garden co-manager Rachelle Yeaman simultaneously lamented the scourge of potato beetles that had required hours of meticulous hand-picking that morning, and rejoiced in the bounty of collards and other greens that were thriving in raised beds built by congregants over the years. Pastor David from Sunnyside and Pastor Bobette Hampton of Fresh Fire are both strong supporters of the Growing Community Garden and can often be found caring for the shared garden. The Sunnyside/Fresh Fire collaboration has several years under its belt and therefore serves as a classroom for other congregations seeking to launch their own collaborative garden projects.
Our second stop was Skyridge Church of the Brethren, where Pastor Ruth Moerdyk is leading her congregation in envisioning multiple uses of its extensive outdoor space. Temporary signage indicated the possible locations of a runoff rain garden, a children’s play area, a labyrinth, basketball or pickleball court, secluded sitting areas, a meditation garden, picnic area and compost system. Skyridge hopes to create a welcoming environment that will draw in passersby to explore and enjoy its grounds, and the congregation is hosting a series of walk-arounds where congregants and neighbors are invited to make suggestions and offer input via a short paper survey and topographical map.
Our final stop on this inaugural tour was at the Jubilee Garden, a project of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. A small but dedicated group of congregants tends a garden that provides hundreds of pounds of produce to a local food bank each summer. Improvements include a solar-powered irrigation system and an impressive rodent-proof fence. In addition to the garden and a small plot that has served as a holding spot for landscaping plants for Habitat for Humanity, Prince of Peace also owns acreage that is being lovingly restored to natural savanna.
Tour-goers expressed appreciation and inspiration. One local UCC church sent a delegation to all three stops, hoping to learn and connect as it considered starting its own garden. Ideas were floated to share tools and funding, and -- even on a hot Saturday afternoon during a busy time of summer -- everyone agreed that more tours of more congregational gardens should happen. (Another local AME church is touring the Growing Community Garden this evening, in fact, hoping to learn from the experiences of the two congregations who share in its care.)
See a slide-show featuring all three stops, along with the recipes shared, on the Hope for Creation YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFiUxmQ5hNA
To learn more or to get involved in Hope for Creation’s gardening connections work, email us at [email protected]
Michigan Interfaith Power & Light is helping congregations who have already received a free Energy Analysis take the next steps in your energy stewardship journey:
leah wiste published Send a Faith Delegation to the Treaty People Gathering 2021-05-20 09:16:45 -0400
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!
Wednesday, May 12:
- All-day event led by Great Lakes Water Protectors, Mackinaw City
- 6-7:30pm Shut Down Line 5 Solidarity Rally, Detroit
Thursday, May 13:
- 10am-1pm Evict Enbridge event, Lansing
- All-day activities including the delivery of an eviction notice to Enbridge, indigenous ceremonies and songs, music + speakers, Mackinaw City
Big thanks to MI Climate Action Network for compiling and sharing all these links earlier today!
Hope for Creation made and distributed
hundreds of Earth Day kits for Kids in 2020.
Hope for Creation volunteers at the City of Kalamazoo's first polystyrene recycling drop-off in 2021. 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.
Hope for Creation is hiring! See our Administrative Intern posting.
Each month we're spotlighting the story of one congregation that put their faith values into action by reducing energy waste in their building. We hope these stories and the resources our speakers share will help inspire and equip other congregations to continue their own energy stewardship journeys.
Check this page or sign up for our e-newsletters to learn about upcoming webinars.
Past Energy Stewardship Webinars
Energy Stewardship with Victorious Believers Ministries, 6/8/21In this webinar, Ellis Burns, Facilities Manager and longtime member of Victorious Believers Ministries in Saginaw shared:
- how the church upgraded their parking lot lighting and in the gymnasium
- how incentives from Consumers Energy assisted in lowering the project cost
- how they are on track to upgrade the lighting in the sanctuary with LEDs
Slides from this webinar can be viewed here.
Energy Stewardship: Applying for Rebates 101, 5/6/21
In order to move Michigan to a cleaner energy future, state energy legislation requires our large utilities to help their customers (at home and in their houses of worship and businesses) reduce their energy waste. Less energy waste means less fossil fuel use, cleaner air, and smaller energy bills. In order to achieve this, utilities including Consumers Energy offer discounts and rebates on energy efficiency products and services.
In this webinar, Mike Olsen, an Energy Advisor with Consumers Energy's Business Energy Efficiency Programs, will walk us through the process-- step-by-step-- of applying for and receiving rebates for energy saving projects at your house of worship.
Slides from this webinar can be viewed here.
Energy Stewardship with Royal Oak First United Methodist Church, 4/13/21
Royal Oak First United Methodist Church is close to finishing a $4.5 million dollar renovation to their historic building. In the course of this renovation, the church worked hard to reduce the building's reliance on fossil fuels through energy efficiency and solar energy while ensuring a healthful indoor environment and taking advantage of utility discounts and rebates. In this webinar, Bob Prud'homme, LEED AP and Coordinator for Creation Care Ministries, shares about how the church:
- worked through challenges and opportunities to get the church leadership on board with a green renovation
- upgraded lighting in their historic sanctuary (built in 1917) and throughout their facilities
- made their boiler plant and air conditioning systems more efficient
- prepared for the installation of a 20 kW solar array
Slides from this webinar can be viewed here.
Energy Stewardship with University Lutheran Church, 3/4/21
Pastor Gary Bunge, and Judy Kindel and Dale Romsos the Earthkeeping Team at University Lutheran Church in East Lansing share how their church put their faith into action by upgrading to LED lighting (which reduced their electricity use by 40%) and installing solar. Overall, ULC is now using 56% less fossil fuels than they were in 2016/17. They also share how incentives from Consumers Energy covered over half of the cost of the lighting upgrade.
This webinar was co-sponsored by the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association.
Slides can be viewed here.
leah wiste donated 2020-02-06 16:59:05 -0500
leah wiste pledged $1,000.00 2018-10-25 14:32:31 -0400
Your support is vital to our mission: to inspire and equip people of faith to exercise love for all Creation.
This year, your donations helped us:
- Lift up the voices of faith leaders calling for water protection and water justice.
- Offer 5 solar workshops and host 6 solar celebrations around the state.
- Support the greening of Detroit houses of worship by connecting them with the US Green Building Council’s 2030 District initiative.
- Collaborate with the City of Ann Arbor to help 12 congregations explore and figure out how to finance solar energy.
- Install free energy efficiency upgrades in 160 houses of worship (goal: 200 by the end of the year) through Light the Way.
- Gather thousands of signatures to advocate for strong Clean Car Standards.
...and there's so much more to be done!$1,200.00 pledged$5,000.00
leah wiste endorsed 2018-03-27 17:15:06 -0400Line 5 poses an unreasonable risk to Michigan and all of Creation. Water is life! Shut it down!
The Line 5 Pipeline poses an unreasonable risk to our Great Lakes and should be decommissioned. For lots more information, check out Oil & Water Don't Mix.
Faith leaders hand delivered this letter to the Governor's Office on April 23, 2018.
PRIVACY NOTE: We ask for your address only so that we can identify you as a Michigan resident. We won't send you unsolicited mail.
Dear Gov. Snyder and Attorney General Schuette,
As people of many faiths, we are called by the Creator to guide and lead others to love and care for each other and all of creation. Therefore, we ask that you respond carefully and quickly to an issue which is of grave importance to the entire Great Lakes ecosystem and our communities within the Basin.
Members of our faith communities have indicated growing concern over the lack of adequate upkeep and question the necessity of continuing operation of the Enbridge Pipeline 5. This 65-year-old pipeline, which runs over and through the entire State of Michigan, is showing signs of decomposition and has a history of 29 documented leaks totaling over 1 million gallons. The line’s rising potential for rupture jeopardizes the future water quality, ecosystem health, commercial fisheries, tourism, and livelihood of those across and beyond Michigan.
We call upon you, our elected leaders, to uphold the principle of the Public Trust Doctrine, wherein the people of Michigan have the inalienable right to the preservation, use and protection of the waters of the Great Lakes. This doctrine affirms that no private, public or commercial use shall harm the waters of the Great Lakes by materially reducing the flow, changing levels, or polluting the waters of the Great Lakes Basin. This principle aligns with our call as people of faith and citizens of the world to assure the right stewardship of our waters. Simply put, it is our belief that the Great Lakes are not an appropriate place to transport crude oil and it is our right as citizens to demand that this practice cease.
We share with scores of Michiganders their concerns about a growing threat of a spill, vague safety tests, and piecemeal repair each time pipe degradation is observed. These are not solutions to the problem, but a band-aid at best. For all the risk that Line 5 poses to Michigan and the Great Lakes Region, the benefits are few. The public has been crying out for this Line to be closed for almost a decade and easements across tribal lands expired in 2013.
As representatives of thousands of voices across Michigan we demand that you:
- Initiate decommissioning of the pipeline NOW and decline the building of any more underwater lines in the Great Lakes Basin.
- Stop using the “loss of propane” as a scare tactic and make arrangements for land-based transportation for the small amount of propane that is needed in the Upper Peninsula currently coming from the pipeline. Trains and tankers are proven alternatives and viable options.
- Demonstrate proper governmental oversight to protect the people and state resources!
- Show compassion for others and the planet. Consider the legacy you intend to leave for all our children and grandchildren and the earth.
We will continue to pray over this issue and voice our concern everywhere we can. We will pray that you, our elected and appointed representatives, will experience a change in heart and mind, and that you stand with the majority of people who lovingly show compassion for this planet – our island home – we only have one.Endorse