Using the tools of education, networking, energy stewardship and public policy engagement, OhIPL is a catalyst helping individuals and congregations grow in their response to climate change and to ally with like-minded individuals and groups. OhIPL’s ultimate goal is to arouse and equip the best talents of Ohio’s religious community to overcome the preeminent moral challenge of our time!
Many congregants and religious leaders are generally aware of climate change but uncertain about the immediacy of the problem and what they can do.
OhIPL addresses this need with:
- Tools and links on our website which provide an array of information such as faith statements on climate change, congregational highlights, and ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
- An annual webinar that is broadcast to sites throughout Ohio featuring scientists sharing up-to-date climate science information.
- Gatherings such as the Earthkeeping Summit which provide workshops, sharing of successes and challenges, and inspirational keynote speakers.
- Preach-In on Global Warming (now called the Faith Climate Action Week) resources and Green Sermons examples that help faith leaders bring the issue to their congregants.
Many congregants and religious leaders want to take action on climate change but lack support. By connecting concerned congregants with like-minded people in other houses of worship, the strength of their conviction grows and they find strategies to move forward.
OhIPL enables this process through activities such as:
- Facilitated discussions, known as Climate Conversations, in which people can connect the dots between their values and climate change, deepen their understanding of its implications, and consider what they might do.
- The Earth Stewards Directory, a first-of-its-kind online database of actions Ohio houses of worship have taken to address climate change. This database enables congregants in one house of worship to learn what others are doing and contact people in those places of worship who might advise them.
A logical first step congregations can take to address climate change is to reduce energy consumption in their house of worship through efficiency and renewable energy measures. This win-win strategy reduces both carbon emissions and the size of utility bills and can generate enthusiasm throughout the entire house of worship for “going green”.
OhIPL makes these measures attractive and affordable through:
- Providing the Energy Stewards program, which includes energy use assessments, green team development, and access to an online energy benchmarking program.
- OhIPL also places student sustainability interns with houses of worship to work together in developing congregational sustainability goals and activities.
Public Policy Engagement
Many voices promote renewable energy and energy efficiency policy, but the faith community speaks uniquely with a moral authority that draws from religious values to be good stewards of creation and ensures the earth’s blessings to the poor, the vulnerable, and all succeeding generations.
OhIPL has been a leading mobilizer of the faith voice in Ohio, providing:
- A continuing strong religious voice in the debate about Ohio’s clean energy and energy efficiency standards and the federal Clean Power Plan, utilizing many levels of engagement such as letter writing, faith-based testimony at public hearings, press events, legislator visits, and online campaigns.