At Neighborhood Sun, we know that addressing the climate crisis will require all of us to come together, from every sector of our communities. That’s why we’re committed to being a responsible B-Corp business, and why we partner with other organizations and groups across our greater “neighborhood.”
Our Featured Partner this month, Interfaith Power & Light, reminds us that religious communities — congregations of all traditions — have an important role to play in building the climate movement we need. They are working with thousands of folks in hundreds of diverse communities across our region to respond to the climate crisis as a moral issue and to come together to protect our neighbors and what Pope Francis calls “our common home.”
After over a decade of grassroots work in Maryland and the DC area, the IPL team has come to believe that a church or synagogue, temple or masjid, meeting or ethical society, is one of the most powerful places in the world to talk about climate change. In other contexts, the climate issue has become polarizing and politicized. But when we talk about climate change in our sacred communities, folks hear that our role in the climate crisis is a matter of living out our values and doing right by our neighbors. All sacred traditions teach that we are responsible to our neighbors. So people listen differently in their congregations — with their “moral ears.” In fellowship halls and church basements and lately online, practically every weekend, IPL reaches people across our region who would not hear climate messages anywhere else.
Once folks in congregations understand how climate change is hurting all of us, they are determined to shift to cleaner power, at home, in their communities, and system-wide:
Interfaith Power & Light invites folks to shift to clean energy at home by subscribing to community solar projects through Neighborhood Sun, and to other energy efficiency and clean energy opportunities through partners including Solar United Neighbors and Civic Works.
Congregational buildings are beacons in their communities. Interfaith Power & Light maintains an online map of congregations already powered by solar panels across the region, offers a free guide for congregations seeking to finance solar projects on their own facilities, and helps congregations find resources to undertake energy upgrades and purchase wind energy.
We at Neighborhood Sun are mindful that changing our personal and communal energy choices is only the beginning; we have to come together across entire cities, states, and nationally to shift away from fossil fuels entirely and embrace a clean energy future.
So we’re inviting all of our Neighborhood Sun subscribers this month to participate in Interfaith Power & Light’s #LightingtheWayMD campaign!
Last month, artist Caryl Henry Alexander, in Clinton, created a painting and a color-in version for folks to download. Since then, friends from Reisterstown to Germantown, from Frederick to Southern Maryland have shared photos with the lights of the season and their collective vision of a clean energy future for all of us.
Join them! You’re invited to download this sheet, decorate it, and take a photo of your own household with any lights, envisioning a future where we can live and thrive together without fossil fuels. (Or print the full-color art, here.) Tag the photos #LightingtheWayMD on social media, or share them here.
Throughout the 2021 Maryland legislative session, IPL will gather these photos together to raise our voices in support of just transition legislation that sets Maryland’s remaining coal-fired power plants on a timeline for retirement, and does right by the workers they currently employ.
If you’re interested in helping your congregation and its members to shift to cleaner power, you can connect with our partner Interfaith Power & Light here.
And if you’d like to learn more about advocating with your community for strong climate policy in Maryland, campaign to ensure a just transition for Maryland’s last two coal-fired power plants, along with efforts to pass a Climate Solutions Now Act, advance transit equity, and to enshrine a right to a healthy environment in the Maryland constitution in the 2021 Maryland legislative session, please join IPL’s online legislative briefing, with Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake and the Howard County Earth Forum, on Sunday January 31st at 2 pm.