Leah Wiste at Michigan Interfaith Power & Light
Leah Wiste 1779sc

Leah Wiste

Leah Wiste's activity stream


  • 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.

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  • published Next Steps 2022-09-13 12:38:46 -0400

    Next Steps

    Congregations that have participated in Light the Way, our energy efficiency for houses of worship program, may already be saving energy and money with free upgrades like LED lights. You've also received a report from Consumers Energy that outlines your facility's recommended next steps. This is your roadmap!  (If you need another copy of your Energy Assessment report, contact Jennifer at [email protected] or 248-463-8811.)

    Because of state energy legislation, Michigan 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. We are here to help you navigate these programs! 

    University Lutheran Church's Story

    University Lutheran Church in East Lansing reduced its electricity usage over 40%, thanks in large part to the efforts of Dale Romsos of the Facilities Team and Judy Kindel of the Earthkeeping Team.  These efforts saved the church $6,000 in 2019 alone.  

    Rebates from Consumers Energy:
    • covered 50-75% of the cost of upgrading the interior lighting throughout the building
    • replaced their parking lot lighting for just $1,000 on a job for which a contractor quoted them $25,000
    • covered $3,000 of the church's $3,600 annual boiler maintenance

    Learn more and see slides from the ULC team as they share about this journey, including installing solar.  

    New Hope Missionary Baptist Church's story



    Rev. Dr. Willie F. Casey, pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Saginaw, noticed the lighting in the sanctuary was dim and dingy and suspected that it needed cleaning. As he looked into, it he saw that the fixtures themselves had turned yellow. That prompted him to conduct an extensive replacement of the church’s lighting. The church r
    eplaced over 40 4-foot T12 fluorescent lights with high-efficiency LEDs and retrofitted the exterior lighting.  

    Consumers Energy's Instant Discount Program
    • Saved the church 60% on the cost of the lights, which will yield immediate savings on energy bills

    Pastor Casey is saving on energy bills and says the new LEDs make the building feel fresh and bright: "It’s a whole different building inside and out. And beyond better illumination, it’s also about caring for God’s Creation."


    Wait, Why is Consumers Offering Discounts and Rebates?

    One of the ways utilities make profits is by selling us energy. So why would they want to help us save energy? We get this question a lot.

    Since the enactment of the Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act of 2008, and the extension of the Energy Efficiency Standard in 2016, Michigan utilities are required to spend a percentage of their profits on energy efficiency products and services for their customers. Programs like this-- which we helped advocate for!-- help utilities fulfill this obligation and move Michigan toward a cleaner, more efficient energy future. 


    Instant Discount Program

    For straightforward projects, you can save money by buying energy efficiency products through Consumers Energy's Instant Discount Program

    1. Find your products online and view the discounts available 
    2. Purchase through a local distributor
    3. Install them yourself or hire a professional

    This option:

    • Gets you instant discounts, with no paperwork or wait for rebates
    • Is good for more specialized products you can't find at a big box store


    Online Marketplace

    Consumers Energy’s Online Marketplace allows you to purchase energy efficient products with the convenience of online shopping and free shipping. Available products include: 

    • LED fixtures, linear tubes, and screw-in bulbs
    • lighting occupancy sensors
    • water saving measures
    • smart WIFI thermostats
    • pipe wrap
    • smart power strips

    This option: 

    • Gets you deep discounts on energy-saving products with the ease of online shopping
    • Better for everyday energy efficiency products, not specialty items

    Enter code SB25 at ConsumersEnergy.com/marketplace to get 25% off your first order.


    Apply for Rebates

    For larger or more complex projects-- from lighting and refrigeration to HVAC-- you'll want to investigate Consumers Energy's Rebate Catalog and Application process

    This option: 

    • Helps you save on larger or more complex projects
    • Is good if you have the technical knowledge to implement a project yourself OR are working with a contractor (find a Consumers Energy-approved contractor who can help you navigate the process here
    • Requires that an application be approved before you begin your project (including purchasing products); the rebate is provided after the completion of the project

    Watch our "Discounts and Rebates 101" Webinar

    In this webinar, Mike Olsen, an Energy Advisor with Consumers Energy's Business Energy Efficiency Programs, explains how to get the discounts above and walks us through the process-- step-by-step-- of applying for and receiving rebates for energy saving projects at your house of worship.

    Mike's presentation starts at 7:23. 


    Slides from this webinar can be viewed here.

    Check out other past webinars:

    Reach out to us for help!

    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. 

    Because state energy legislation requires our utilities to invest in helping their customers save energy, we work with Consumers Energy on this program and are here to provide you with FREE support navigating these programs. 

    Contact our Energy Programs Manager Jennifer Young: 

    And finally, if you haven't already celebrated the energy savings steps your faith community has taken thus far, please consider doing so and making energy stewardship part of your congregational life. Here's a link to a template service bulletin announcement that you can share with your congregation to celebrate the steps your faith community has taken in it's energy stewardship journey!



  • 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 Watershed Moment in Programs 2021-09-08 12:38:29 -0400

    Watershed Moment

    Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021
    from 6:30-7:45pm

    #1 - Water Stewardship and Justice: An Interfaith Dialogue

    With Rev. Roslyn Bouier, Imam Mustapha Elturk, and Rabbi Nate DeGroot

    View the recording: https://youtu.be/LjqADRL2EGs 
    Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021
    from 2-4pm

    #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

    In person event, no recording available
    Monday, Nov. 22, 2021
    from 6-7:30pm

    #3 - Uncharted Waters: Suburban and Urban Faith Communities and our Regional Responsibility

    With Fr. Bill Danaher, Pastor Charles Christian Adams, and Palencia Mobley

    View the recording:
    https://youtu.be/0bd3vTQyscM 

    One of our goals for the Watershed Moment series is to get more faith communities talking about issues of water protection and water justice and to see these as core areas of concern that emerge from their holy texts. Click here to receive resources from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions to help you spark or deepen this conversation in your community:


    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 OrganizationHazon DetroitBrightmoor Connection, the American Human Rights Council, and the Land and Water Works Coalition


  • 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. 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 South Side Community Coalition has met and exceeded its Green Energy Project $35,000 fundraising goal! We expect the solar panels will be installed in late winter/early spring and celebrated around Earth Day (4/21/22). Read more here.

    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, University Lutheran Church, and Kehillat Israel.

    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 · 1 reaction

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  • 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


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