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The Faith and Energy in Action Team is group of representatives from Austin’s faith communities to address the challenges and opportunities we face today with global warming, climate change and meeting the world’s future energy needs. Climate Buddies is facilitating and consulting the team. Together, Climate Buddies and the the Faith and Energy in Action Team are developing effective, local strategies for individuals and congregations. These strategies are designed to build a sustainable future for both our local and global communities. The Faith and Energy in Action Team currently consists of over 100 members and is founded on the recognition of preserving and improving the interdependence of human life and the well-being of Creation.
The goals of the Faith and Energy in Action Team include:
- Building awareness among ourselves and our congregations about the environmental degradation that has and is occurring from our reliance on fossil fuel energy sources and other harmful human activities that impact adverse climate changes,
- Examining and learning “best practices” for energy conservation, efficiency and the promotion of renewable energy sources at both a personal level and a congregational level,
- Developing plans and making commitments to:
- Reduce individual and collective carbon emissions,
- Identify a feasible sustainable energy plan to meet the future energy needs for Texas and Austin,
- Create a pledge program to encourage congregational participation in strategies we identify,
- Promote public policies that call for energy conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy sources as a matter of our faith convictions about caring for the Creation on which our lives depend.
Our Earth’s Bank
Did you know that reducing your Carbon Footprint is actually measurable? Use our deposit slip to tell us how you reduced yours and we’ll add it to our bank. EVERY action counts; from buying an electric car to turning the lights out when you leave a room, we want to know and recognize you for what you’ve done to help save Mother Earth. There is no limit to the amount of times you submit an act – in fact, the more the merrier! We will do all the hard work for you; we will convert the actions to pounds of carbon saved and add those totals to our Carbon Savings Bank, all you have to do is tell us what you did!
(download version 1.0 here)
We are developing a manual for house of worship to start their journey towards carbon positive status. It includes chapters on spiritual guidance, setting up a team and starting the program. All the nuts and bolts to assist your Faith and Energy in Action Team are part of the toolkit.
Chapter 1. Religious basis for environmental stewardship.
Chapter 2. An introduction to Climate change
Chapter 3. Starting your own group
Chapter 4. Growing leadership in your group
Chapter 5. Conduct a Climate Performance Assessment
Chapter 6. Creating an Energy Action Plan
Watch a 9 minute video of our launch party:
Member success stories – saved over 1,000,000 lbs of CO2!
The Austin Zen Center’s path toward carbon neutrality began in 2011 with the installation of an 8 KW solar panel array on the roof of the building. This array provides over half of AZC’s electricity. A website operated by Lighthouse Solar allows AZC to monitor electricity output and consumption in real-time. Improvements to the building’s floor insulation were also made in 2011. At the end of the year members of AZC formed the Environmental Studies Group to continue the work that started in 2011 and promote a better understanding of the relationship between Buddhism and environmental concerns. Since that time the ESG has worked with the Energy Action Team and Climate Buddies to determine AZC’s carbon footprint and initiate a strategy toward further reductions in carbon output. One coincidence that has helped in this endeavor is the fact that the kitchen at AZC is vegetarian. The ESG has three goals for the near term: purchasing the balance of AZC’s electricity needs from Austin Energy’s Green Choice Program, completing an audit to determine what additional building improvements can be made to reduce our carbon footprint, and taking a closer look at where AZC gets its food.
Central Presbytarian Church of Austin is working on energy efficiency at Central Presbyterian because we are a socially minded congregation focused on improving our community. By streamlining our building and practices, we will require fewer resources and demand less from the planet. By encouraging the congregation to participate in environmentally friendly activities, we will promote positive behavior in the future. Read more here
First Unitarian Universalist of Austin passed the plate for helping to publish the Energy Action Team’s manual available to all faiths to use to implement energy actions in their congregations. They included Reduce Reuse Recycle Handout developed by a representative to the Team from St Mathews for all interested congregations to use. They also sponsored a April Fuels Fest and a National Plug In Day to help show how to save energy on transportation. FUU has a solar array that provides a significant share of their electricity use on their roof. This has resulted in the production of over 60,000 kWh that has prevented the emission of about 80,000 lbs of carbon dioxide. Here is a flier that describes all their actions, much more than we can show here! It is very impressive, and the beauty is, your house of worship can do this too.
Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church hosted a Climate Change Challenge talk for the congregation after inviting a Climate Change Carbon footprint of our church. Team of the Interfaith Environmental Network. Preparing a manual for people of faith to use to educate congregants on specific actions to take that are significant and measurable. (142 metric tons of carbon we are putting into the air).Identified specific, measurable ways to care for the web of life by reducing carbon dioxide (CO2). Including these proposed budgets and actions: An energy plan to go to renewable energy in 2013; Installed and monitored 9 programmable thermostats; Sermon series – inspiring us to care for the web of life; Earth care “minute” during worship; Foyer displays of CO2 reduction goals and actions; Energy monitor demonstrations and checkout for measuring home appliance energy consumption; Purchasing and distributing Low Carbon Diet (used copies) for a weekly CO2 reduction action; Energy Conserving Tips published in church bulletin, newsletter and on the web site. Look at an overview of all their work here
If you want to find out what we are doing, please come and see us during on of our meetings. You can find out what we are doing, who we are and what your unique gift can be to the group. We have about 20 dedicated members already! You can also start receiving our messages via email. This way you keep up to date on events, meetings and important messages. Please send an email to email@example.com and we will add you to the list.
We are always looking for you to show your commitment to our progress, what better way to make sure we can keep going?
The toolkit includes resources that are vital for the implementation of your Energy Action Team, educating your members, performing audits, defining your carbon footprint and much more.
- Carbon Footprint Estimator
- Energy Action Card – Audit Checklist
- Energy action cards
- Why concentrate on Climate Change, Carbon and Energy?
- Definitions and Acronyms
- Recommended readings
- Emergency call list
- Global warming presentation
- List of relevant global, national and local groups
- Links to other presentations/videos
Everybody can send in suggestions and comments. The FEAT members have access to shared documents through Dropbox. If you want access, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earth Has a Fever is a song composed by Marilyn Rucker to celebrate the release of our manual. It is available on cdbaby! It has seen its debute it the Austin Earthday 2013 release of the manual and was played live by Marylin and the EARthworms. Half of all proceeds go to benefit Climate Buddies! You can download the song here
There’s a new book in town for people of all faiths, a guide to climate action – April 18 2013 GreenRightNow
Local faith groups produce manual on how to go green- April 20 2013 Austin American Statesman