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November 2018

Dear friends,

MAIP&L Annual Conference
The Injustice of Climate Change — A Call to Action

Gina McCarthy on Children's Health: The Front Line in Battling Climate Change
Nathaniel Stinnett on Environmental Politics
Vince Maraventano on The Injustice of Climate Change

Gina McCarthyGina McCarthy, Director of The Center for Climate Health and Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health addressed MA Interfaith Power & Light's 2018 conference at Plymouth Church in Framingham. She said that "Pollution is impacting our kids tremendously, it is impacting the minority communities, the low-income communities, communities of color. They are getting hammered by pollution. This is nothing but carbon pollution. Let's stop talking about it as climate change.... it is just another ... pollutant we can get rid of if we put our minds to it, just like the pollution of the 60s and 70s."

McCarthy added that "Carbon pollution and traditional pollution kill at least nine million people a year and most of those people are from low and middle-income countries, and the vast majority are kids .... We need to get that message out ... that health and climate are intimately entwined with one another. And that a healthy future demands that we take care of climate, and that when we do, it's a tremendous opportunity to ... drive health benefits today, on our way to a healthier planet."

She urged the crowd to "... Speak clearly and with as strong a voice as we can, that we have to give our children a future ... and it is a moral responsibility."

McCarthy spoke of her hopefulness over past progress and the efforts of young people to create positive change. She said, "Don't act like we're losing because we're actually winning. Because of your early efforts to push energy efficiency and clean energy, we are now moving farther and faster than we ever thought possible." Click here to see a video of McCarthy's talk.

Nathaniel StinnettNathaniel Stinnett spoke on Environmental Politics: The Importance of Voting in Every Election. The Executive Director of The Environmental Voter Project, and the Creation Care Voter project, Stinnett told the gathering that there are twenty million voters in the U.S. who care deeply about climate change and the environment, but only ten million of them vote. If the ten million others voted they would "change the world overnight."

Listen to Stinnett's insightful and important presentation on what the environmental movement needs to do here.


Vince MaraventanoVince Maraventano of MAIP&L spoke about the consensus of New England, American and world faith leaders that the moral responsibility to work for solutions to carbon pollution is part and parcel of working for social justice. He said that the faith community needs to do a better job of mobilizing people to motivate and persuade policy makers to reach a goal of "net zero" carbon emissions by 2050, a goal shared by the scientific and faith communities. MAIP&L is working to pass a law pricing carbon in Massachusetts and training leaders to organize effectively to build the movement.

See his presentation here.


Sen. Markey's Senate Hearings on Columbia Gas Disaster in Merrimack Valley

Lucianny Rendon

Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey convened a field hearing of a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee about the Columbia Gas disaster in Merrimack Valley that left one young man — Leonel Rondon — dead and over a hundred homes and businesses destroyed. In emotional and heart-breaking testimony, Lucianny Rondon tearfully testified that she would never have her brother back and that "nobody should ever go through what [she] and her family went through". Markey said that nearly 1,600 families endured the coldest Thanksgiving in 80 years without heat because of a preventable and unprecedented event of destruction, doubt and despair, caused by the negligence of Columbia Gas.

Senators Markey and Warren lambasted Columbia Gas and its parent corporation NiSource for placing profits above safety, for its inadequate response in notifying customers and for delays restoring heat and service. They pressed Columbia and NiSource to promise that everyone would be able to return home by December 16th and would be fully compensated for losses. Markey said that federal regulations for underground gas pipelines are "alarmingly deficient".

Rep Seth Moulton (D. MA) criticized the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities saying that in recent years there have only been 2 state inspectors in the field overseeing 21,000 miles of underground gas pipelines. Sen. Hassan, (D. N.H.), Rep. Niki Tsongas, (D. MA) and congresswoman elect Lori Trahan also raised troubling questions about the safety of underground gas pipelines and numerous explosions. They pressed for stronger federal and state safety regulations.

According to Rev. Joel Almono of Grace Episcopal Church in Lawrence, "Out of all the suffering and hardship that the gas disaster has caused, it has truly helped us find our own strength and the strength of others. We have found new commonalities across our three communities so that together we can move toward recovery from this crisis." Read more about the hearing here.

Watch the hearing here.


Cool Congregations Challenge

Cool Congregations

Not only have congregations across the country pledged to the world that they are "Still In on Paris" but they are taking real action to reduce their carbon footprints and educate their members. Is your congregation one of them?

Click here to enter the Challenge or to download the entry guide today, for a chance to win $1,000 in each of the five entry categories.

Has your congregation been busy this year finishing a solar project or an energy efficient lighting upgrade? Maybe you've installed a new HVAC system or windows? Does your green team have an organic garden or drought resistant landscaping project they'd like to show off? Now is the time to prepare your entry for our annual Cool Congregations Challenge for a chance to win prize money and to inspire other faith communities into action.

Your congregation is eligible to enter if it has finished an energy efficiency, renewable energy, or grounds and water conservation project this year, or if it has engaged your community in response to global warming. There is also a planning category for those who have recently finished their energy audit and developed plans for improvements.

So, don't wait—click here to enter the Challenge or download your entry guide today.

It includes all the details, as well as a flyer to get your green team excited about entering, inspirational stories of past winners, and links to the entry form.

The deadline for entries is December 15, 2018.


Massachusetts Transitions from SREC to SMART Solar Incentive Program

solar incentives

The state officially began accepting applications for the SMART program, a new solar incentive for Massachusetts. The program authorizes new solar incentives for 1,600 MW of panel capacity, which if installed would about double solar capacity in Massachusetts.

The program offers less in overall incentives than past ones, but proponents argue that it sends more money directly to developers and creates stability in solar markets. Some are concerned about the possibility for incentives to be used up too quickly in the high demand utility service territories (i.e. National Grid).

After the first 400 MW of capacity is reserved, the state's energy department will do a complete review of the program and make any necessary changes. Some solar developers expect the first 400 MW to be used by early December, with any necessary changes in place by Spring. Read more here.


From the Jewish Climate Action Network


refuah shleima

R'fuah shleima - Healing Ourselves in a Time of Climate Disruption
Thursday, December 6, 7:30 PM

This is the first in what is intended to become a series of web-conversations for those struggling with despair and seeking resiliency and a way forward into an unknown future.

Join together with others who are concerned about the future for inspiration and deep conversation. On-line sessions will be hosted by Rabbi Katy Allen, cofounder and President pro-tem of the Jewish Climate Action Network and spiritual leader of Ma'yan Tikvah — A Wellspring of Hope, or another Jewish climate leader. Each session will begin with a resource from Jewish tradition that suggests a pathway toward resiliency at difficult times and will be followed by a facilitated conversation.

Sign up now for either of these webinars here.


Prayers of the Month


God full of compassion, remember
Your covenant with all life,
the covenant of the waters of Noah.
Spread a Sukkah of compassion and
peace over us, over all Life's species;
Surround all our relations,
with Shekhinah's radiance;

Water them with Your river of delights
in all of their habitats.
Then "the bow will appear in the cloud,"
joyful and beautified with its colors,
and the Tree of Life will return to its
original strength,
so that we and our descendants
may merit to live many days on Earth,
like days of the Skies over the Land.
Blessed be the Life of the worlds!

Based on the P'ri Eitz Hadar

Creator God, you make all things
and weave them together in an intricate tapestry of life.
Teach us to respect the fragile balance of life and to care for all the gifts of your creation.
Guide by your wisdom those who have power and authority,
that, by the decisions they make, life may be cherished
and a good and fruitful Earth may continue to show your glory and sing your praises.

Almighty God,
you have called us to tend and keep the garden of your creation.
Give us wisdom and reverence for all your plants and animals who share this planet with us and whose lives make possible our own.
Help us to remember that they too love the sweetness of life and join with us in giving you praise.

From the National Council of Churches



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Peace and blessings,

Your friends at Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light


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