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Dear MIP&L members and friends,
In a far reaching call for action Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' (Praise Be) calls climate change "a global problem with grave implications" and "one of the principal challenges facing humanity today." Citing a "very solid scientific consensus ... that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climate system" Francis acknowledges that most global warming in recent decades has been caused by greenhouse gases "released mainly as a result of human activity."
Asserting that "Both everyday experience and scientific research show that the gravest of all attacks on the environment and of society are suffered by the poor" Francis emphasizes the strong relationship between climate change and social justice, saying,
"...we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor."(Par. 49).
Saying that "human ecology is inseparable from the notion of the common good, a central and unifying principle of social ethics" Francis proposes several lines of action:
In a strong critique of the current system of production and consumption Francis contends that "....only when the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations, can those actions be considered ethical" (Par. 195).
Calling for a spiritual ecological conversion Francis emphasizes that "Living our vocation to be protectors of God's handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience. (Par. 217)
According to the New York Times, "Polls show that a majority of American Christians view climate change as real, but fewer than a third of them understand the point, thoroughly documented in scientific studies, that poor people are already being harmed by it."
"Hundreds of ... churches, mosques and synagogues across the country have put up solar panels in recent years or retrofitted their buildings to cut energy use, or both. With the cost of renewable energy falling, that number could soon be in the thousands." Read more about what houses of worship in Massachusetts have done to reduce their energy use and carbon footprints.
Interfaith Leaders are calling the encyclical a call for a moral response to climate change. Pope Francis will visit Washington, D.C., in person in September to address a joint session of Congress and to meet with President Obama, who said, "... as we prepare for global climate negotiations in Paris this December, it is my hope that all world leaders—and all God's children—will reflect on Pope Francis's call to come together to care for our common home."
HEARINGS on OIL HEAT EFFICIENCY BILL JUNE 30th
Please save the date of Tuesday June 30—the date that the oil heat efficiency bill and other energy efficiency titles will be heard before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. The hearing will be from 1 P.M. to 4 P.M. in hearing room B-1. We hope that you will be able to join us on Beacon Hill and lend your support for H2909/S 1766 An Act further promoting energy efficiency and green jobs.
A third of Massachusetts residents (about 900,000 homes) and about half the houses of worship rely on oil for heat. MassSave programs do not provide low or no-interest loans or any other financial incentives to houses of worship wanting to upgrade oil-heating systems or convert to less carbon intensive fuel like natural gas. Much of this heating equipment is very old and inefficient, and many don't have a way to convert to a cleaner fuel.
We believe we need to keep pushing for all kinds of clean energy solutions, and one of them is to create a modest oil heat efficiency fund. Visit OilheatSaveEnergy.com for more info. Please contact Chris Gregory at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Bill
Recognizing that extreme weather threatens the public health, safety and economy of Massachusetts, Rep. Frank Smizik and Sen. Marc Pacheco have introduced a bill providing for the establishment of a comprehensive adaptation management plan in response to climate change (H.752/S.451).
The bill provides, among other things for:
Attorney General Cautions Against New Pipelines
Attorney General Maura Healey's office cautioned the Baker Administration against additional natural gas pipeline infrastructure. Assistant Attorney General Christina Belew, in written comments to the Department of Public Utilities, stated that"Reducing winter demand for pipeline gas through a variety of methods may turn out to be far more economic than obligating Massachusetts ratepayers to pay for long term contracts for firm transportation on a new pipeline and/or additional expanded pipelines."
More on the story is here.
You are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.
Mass. Interfaith Power & Light works in collaboration with 40 other state affiliates across the country to provide technical expertise on energy efficiency and renewable energy, information on effective public policy solutions, and a connection to the teachings of our faiths that call us to care for creation.
Please help us carry out this critical mission by logging on to www.MIPandL.org, clicking on the DONATE button and making a secure, fully tax deductible donation.
If not us who? If not now, when?
Peace and blessings,
Your friends at MIP&L