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Dear MIP&L members and friends,
Hanukkah, or the festival of lights is a commemoration and celebration of the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after Judah Maccabaeus and his brothers defeated the Seleucid rulers in 165 BCE. When the eternal light was lit it was found that there was only enough oil to burn for one day. However the lamp burned for 8 days, enough time for the priests to find more oil. Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting a candle on each of its 8 days.
In one of her Hanukkah reflections, Rabbi Katy Allen of Ma'yan Tikveh notes that "Despair is an easy emotion to experience. All we need to do is watch or read the news and consider the widespread ... violence that wracks our world ... [and] the super storms and droughts and heat waves that remind us that climate change is ever more surely impacting the Earth and all that lives upon it ....
It takes trust and faith to overcome despair .... There is faith and trust that G!d is with us, and that G!d will be with us, and that we will never be alone. But there is also something even more fundamental:... Living with trust. Living with faith. It is a moment-by-moment experience. It is being in the now with confidence, security, and a sense of wellbeing. It is setting despair aside and opening our hearts and minds to find new ways of being, new answers, new avenues." For more reflections go to http://www.mayantikvah.org/
The four outer candles of the Advent wreath represent the period of waiting during the four weeks of Advent. On the first Sunday of Advent the candle of hope is lit, a devotional may be given, and a prayer offered. The prayer may include words like: We have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises made to us. Our Hope comes from God.
The weekly progression of the lighting of the candles symbolize preparation, prayer, penitence, and the anticipation of a joyful future. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works ..." (MT 5:15)
One of our philosophies at MIP&L is to lead by example. When you take a positive action to reduce your energy consumption or increase your energy efficiency spread the word. Don't curse the darkness. Instead light candles of re-dedication, faith, trust, hope, joy and love.
A Gift of Trees
Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us how about a gift for our precious Mother Earth? The Earth itself is a precious and wondrous gift to us, and global warming confronts us with a growing moral crisis. Heartbreakingly, deforestation is responsible for almost 20 percent of global carbon emissions. But today, we can do something about it with Interfaith Power & Light's Carbon Covenant Gifts of Life.
Just $25 brings together Christians and Muslims to plant 10 trees in Cameroon and $100 supports Buddhist "eco-monks" in their daily forest patrols to stop illegal deforestation in Cambodia, protecting local peoples' land and livelihoods. Will you join with us and order your Gifts of Life today?
Donate $25 or more to give Gifts of Life to your friends or family members and plant trees in the developing world. It's a unique and powerful way to honor your loved ones this holiday season.
To donate, click here.
Warsaw Climate Discussions Accomplish Little
Against the backdrop of UN climate talks that made little tangible progress on a number of key issues, a bright spot of the negotiations was a comprehensive agreement on policies to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). "The Warsaw Framework sets down deep roots for REDD+, and sends a clear signal that REDD+ will continue to be a crucial tool for conserving forests and protecting the climate," said Nathaniel Keohane EDF's Vice President for International Climate. Outside of the agreement on forests, countries failed to make significant progress. On the last day of the conference WWF, Oxfam, ActionAid, the International Trade Union Confederation, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace walked out of the conference. Oxfam' Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said: "[Governments] must ... come back in 2014 ready for meaningful discussions on how they will deliver their share of the emissions reductions which scientists say are needed and their share of the money needed to help the poorest and most vulnerable countries adapt."
Fasting for the Climate in Solidarity with the Philippines
By Spencer Johnson [in The Climate Beat of 350 MA]
On November 8th, 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan ... struck the Philippines. According to NASA this was perhaps the most powerful tropical cyclone ever to make landfall ... It ripped through over 494,000 houses and 628 schools, killing approximately 4,000 people, though the exact death toll might never be known. 12,500 people were injured and 1,600 are still missing.... The storm surge in Tacloban, ... was 17 feet high.
The ferocity of this storm was no accident. Michael Mann, a meteorologist from Penn State points out that "models suggest more frequent and intense storms in a warmed world" and that "readings of ocean heat" suggest Haiyan was an "unnaturally powerful" storm" ...
In response ... Naderev Yeb Saño the Philippines' Lead Negotiator, declared in a speech that personally brought tears to my eyes, that he would eat no food throughout the course of the [Warsaw COP 19] conference's 12 days or until appropriate action was taken to address the global climate change crisis. Since then, a petition has been signed by over 605,000 citizens around the world who stand in solidarity with Saño and the Philippines, in addition to all those suffering worldwide as a result of catastrophic climate change ... a week after Saño started his fast, college students from all over the world signed on to join him for a day, a couple days, or (like myself) for the whole week.
The "Stop The Madness" Facebook Event ha[d] over 1,100 participants after only two days and the numbers are continuing to grow."
To participate, go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/770707529611909/?source=1
The annual convention of The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts brought together approximately 500 clergy members and delegates from each of the diocese's congregations on Saturday, November 2nd at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston. The convention voted in favor of a resolution on divesting church funds from fossil fuel companies. The resolution asks that "all managers of Episcopal endowments" freeze "all direct investments in the Carbon Tracker top 200 fossil fuel companies" and that the Trustees of Donations report back with a plan for making the Diocesan Investment Trust free of investments in fossil fuels not deemed best in class by November 2018. See the report on the diocesan website for more information.
Beacon Hill Briefs
Proposed legislation, S.1225 would require the state of Massachusetts to divest fossil fuels from its pension fund. S.1225 sponsored by Sen. Benjamin Downing of Pittsfield, continues to be in the hands of the Joint Public Service Committee which is chaired by Sen. Will Brownsberger of Belmont, and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz of Boston. More about this bill in our January newsletter.
Emissions from residents, businesses, vehicles and other sources are 10% less than in 1990. This progress comes from new state policies and programs to provide cleaner, more efficient energy, cleaner cars, relative changes in fuel prices as well as from the global economic downturn. GWSA's goals are a 25% reduction by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Making the next 15% reduction while enhancing the overall economy is the focus of the state's efforts.
Massachusetts is saving energy every year with new energy efficiency investments and programs as the state continues to embrace efficiency as our state's "First Fuel." These diverse programs saved enough electricity to power 109,707 homes for a year and enough natural gas to heat 15,000 homes for a year. Energy efficiency reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 431,000 metric tons – the equivalent of taking 84,681 cars off our roads for a whole year. For every one dollar invested in efficiency, the average benefit was $4.17 for homeowners and $5.10 for businesses.
Massachusetts was again named the most energy efficient state in the nation. The ranking of the US compared to other nations however is quite poor. Much progress has been made in Massachusetts and much work remains.
As you consider your holiday and end-of-year giving please consider making a donation to MA Interfaith Power & Light. To make a secure on-line donation go to www.MIPandL.org and click on the Donate button on the upper right corner.
Peace and blessings,
Your friends at MIP&L