Although the weather outside is frightful, Vermonters are experiencing an old fashioned winter that offers plenty of snow shoveling, slippery and challenging driving, boots, and warm coats. We’re used to that. Boston is buried in six feet of snow from the two largest recorded snowstorms since the Civil War – it’s unprecedented. Wild weather is happening everywhere and it is impacting all of us. The big question remains, are these weather patterns a result of global climate change?
More skeptics are coming to the conclusion that whatever the cause, we need to take action now. Scientists state that their model predictions are coming true but not willing to state that one particular storm is the result of global warming. It is evident that we need to mobilize our citizens to combat climate change now. This weekend in communities around the country, including Shelburne, Interfaith Power and Light (IPL) is organizing a National Preach-In on Global Warming in churches, synagogues, and mosques in a unified effort for a faith-based call to action to combat global climate change.
IPL is a growing national network that encompasses 40 state affiliates, 15,000 congregations, and hundreds of thousands of individuals. They are unified in their belief that climate change is not just a scientific or political issue but a moral issue that the country must address from the perspective of shared values.
Vermont Interfaith Power and Light (VTIPL) supports the efforts of many different faith communities across Vermont to address the environmental crisis posed by climate change. Board President Sam Swanson shared, “We seek to empower the actions of diverse faith communities and their members across Vermont to act to address the crisis. VTIPL facilitates collective action by congregations and their members, demonstrating that the changes needed to slow global warming are both desirable and possible. VTIPL advocated for public policies and programs that enable Vermont communities, our nation, and people worldwide to move quickly and effectively to slow the pace of global warming.” One of the many ways they accomplish this is to offer free “walk through” energy assessments by a volunteer professional to get congregations started with their energy improvements that save money and reduce their carbon footprint. They also focus efforts to educate, motivate and empower congregations to take action and jump on the “band wagon” of living a more sustainable lifestyle.
Mary Abele, Pastor at All Souls Interfaith Gathering (ASIG), has made combating climate change a central theme in this year’s work and beyond. In addition to forming a “green team” and future plans for Center for Earth ministry retreats and classes, her congregation will participate in the National Preach In on Sunday. Ascension Lutheran Church of South Burlington and Pastor Nancy Wright have been involved with Preach In since its inception five years ago and set a great example for other congregations. Abele shares, “The future of the Earth is hanging in balance. We cannot wait; we must act to save our planet. The energy we generate in our efforts will be contagious. As each one of us steps into the arena, our very presence will motivate others. As others observe our passion and efforts to save the Earth, something powerful will stir within and move them to join us. This is a huge and exciting task we are being invited to take on. Let’s join hands and hearts, join with the Divine intent- and get the job done.”
On Sunday, Jan. 15 at 5pm, Shelburne resident Sue Dixon will deliver the Evensong homily, “Living Earth: The Whole and Holy” at ASIG located on Bostwick Road, and invites the community to join. There will be a mini-resource fair in the lobby following the service including Sun Common, VTIPL and others. Dixon shares “Global warming for me is a spiritual issue. The unintended consequence of a deep imbalance in our relationship to the earth raises profound questions of our relationship to Creation, the source of all being. Time is of the essence. We must extend our ability to care wider than ever before. Beyond self and family and nation, it’s urgent that we care for the whole community of all life, care as it our lives depend upon it, because they do.”
For more information please visit IPL at www.interfaithpowerandlight.org, VTIPL at www.vtipl.org, or ASIG at www.allsoulsinterfaithgathering.org.