June 2016

In this issue

  • New Board Member: Dori Chandler
  • Words from Our Outgoing Executive director
  • Solar Panels Dedicated
  • On the National Scene: Methane Rules
  • More Workshops, More Workshop Leaders
  • Has Your Congregation Joined H-IPL?
  • Calling All Unitarian Universalists June 4th
  • Watch for Climate Boot Camp
  • Solar Forums in Northern Indiana
  • Exploring the “I” in Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light: This month we focus on the Indiana Muslim community.
  • Consider a donation


New Board Member

We welcome Dori Chandler to the H-IPL board of directors! Dori brings a wealth of non-profit experience in the areas of advocacy and organizational skills. As an educator and leader within the Jewish community, she is eager to share in the interfaith work of promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. In addition to working with the Citizens' Climate Lobby, she has shared a passion for addressing food waste and recycling. Her leadership skills have been honed through her work as an urban planning fellow in Midtown Manhattan. "We have the capacity to love and cherish the world through our humility and care." This affirmation of her faith reflects her profound insight from the justice teachings of the Torah. We are delighted to have Dori join the board as H-IPL expands its mission and programming.

Words from Our Outgoing Executive Director

Serving as the first executive director of Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light for the past two years has been a distinct honor. Rarely have I experienced such potential for true interfaith work, and such commitment on the part of board and volunteers to find common ground for making a significant difference in our communities. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity. We are poised to move to a new level of effectiveness. Together we have developed a structure and created a set of programs that will provide the foundation for a strong voice of faith as we work to find solutions in the midst of climate change. Caring for creation and promoting energy efficiency raise significant moral and ethical issues which can be informed and impacted by interfaith communities. Thank you for your continued service in helping to bring healing and wholeness to our environment.

With gratitude, Larry Kleiman

Solar Panels Dedicated
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Rev. Anastassia Zinke, All Souls Unitarian Church, Indianapolis, led a Blessing of the Solar Panels service on Sunday, May 22nd. The church “went live” on Tuesday, May 24, with a new 14.535 kW system using an Indiana-made Fronius inverter. The church thanks H-IPL and the Indiana Office of Energy Development for the grant that helped make it possible. All Souls is the sixth UU congregation in Indiana with solar panels (three with H-IPL grants). There are now 25 Indiana congregations that have obtained solar panels via grants through H-IPL, representing 18 different Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith traditions and 10 different Indiana cities.
AllSoulsSolarSign.jpgAllSoulsSolarPanels.jpg


On the National Scene: New Methane Rules

MethanBurning.jpgOur parent organization Interfaith Power & Light has researched three upcoming and proposed methane rules. Here is information to help Hoosiers talk to our US senators and representatives:

The oil and gas industry is leaking millions of tons of methane pollution, a potent greenhouse gas, into our air. Oil and gas sources also emit other dangerous pollutants that harm Americans' health, including smog-forming volatile organic compounds and cancer-causing pollutants like benzene. The “fugitive emissions” are either unintentional leaks or are purposefully released as a byproduct of oil and natural gas production. It was recently announced that more than 9 million metric tons of methane pollution was leaked into the air by the oil and gas industry in 2014. The 20-year climate impact of those emissions is equal to the pollution caused by over 200 coal-fired power plants.

To address this methane pollution, there are two proposed rules and one rule anticipated in the coming months. The first rule proposed was the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule on new and modified sources of methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The EPA is preparing to finalize this rule. These will be the first national standards for methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. These standards are a huge step towards improving public health and protecting our environment. The second rule was the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule on public and tribal lands and it includes both new and existing sources of methane pollution. The public comment period on this rule recently ended. The third rule, we hope to see proposed by the EPA in the coming months, will address methane pollution from existing oil and gas infrastructure.

Go here to read more on why we need action on methane pollution, and the benefits of such action. For help on contacting your congressional leaders, go here.

More H-IPL Workshops, More Workshop Leaders

Looking for a workshop or class for your group or congregation? Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light offers a number of events statewide. In addition to our regular offerings, we have a growing roster of experts in various areas who are willing to come to you. Visit us here for information about our leaders and the wide variety of topics they offer. This page will continue to expand, so check back often!

Has Your Congregation Joined H-IPL?

Until recently H-IPL did not have a formal way to join us as congregations. But members have been asking, and now we do! Your congregation can register to affiliate with H-IPL, find help locating like-minded congregations and people in your area, and receive news and information, as well as being invited to share your congregation’s name, contact info, and creation care stories on our website.

Or if you would like to take the further step to become a H-IPL Using Energy Prudently Congregation, taking on clear goals of energy conservation in worship buildings and homes and becoming elegible for the possibility of receiving a solar grant through us as they become available, we would welcome your participation! 

Find all the information you need for joining H-IPL in these two ways in Section 2 of the free, downloadable UEP Guide.

Calling All Unitarian Universalists

UULogo.jpgIt’s not yet too late to plan to attend the statewide UU/H-IPL gathering on Saturday, June 4, 10:30 am to 2:30 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis (615 W 43rd St, Indianapolis, IN 46208). Register here.

Several UU congregations in Indiana have been taking the lead in energy conservation and environmental action and advocacy. Six UU churches in Indiana now have solar panels on their rooftops. We are calling all Hoosier UU’s to join together in the vital work of earth care.

We will tell stories, share concerns, learn about the UU Green Sanctuary program and Hoosier IPL’s energy conservation and solar programs, enjoy a free lunch, and tour a church that has managed to reduce its utility bills by over 45% in the past six years.

Watch for Climate Boot Camp

BootCampLogo.jpgA popular workshop for clergy and faith leaders is being planned for three times, three Mondays this fall in the north, central, and south end of the state. Dates and locations for this day-long Monday event, led by IU climate scientist Ben Brabson, pastor and H-IPL board member Wyatt Watkins, and biblical scholar and program director Trisha Tull, are currently being planned. If you want to be sure not to miss receiving word, let us know by contacting Trisha Tull.

Solar Forums in Northern Indiana

You are invited to attend these upcoming solar forums hosted by congregations who recently installed their solar panels:

  • St. Anthony de Padua Catholic Church, South Bend, Saturday June 11, 1:00-3:00. More information hereHere is a recent news story.
  • PlymouthCongregational Church, 501 W Berry St, Fort Wayne, 46802, Saturday, June 18, 9:30-11:30. More information here.
  • Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren, 2810 Beacon St, Fort Wayne, 46805, Saturday, June 18, 2:00-4:00. Here is a recent news story about the church’s solar panels.


Exploring the “I” in Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light

Hoosier IPL includes Indiana congregations and people from all faiths whose religious beliefs lead them to environmental efforts. Starting this month, H-IPL’s newsletter will highlight members of our various faith groups who are active with H-IPL. Because Ramadan, the holiest month in the Muslim calendar, begins this week, we will begin with Islam and our several Muslim congregations.

In July we will highlight Indiana’s Friends community. If you are a Friend and would like to contribute, please contact Trisha Tull to add your voice.

Even Greener This Ramadan

Green is said to have been the Prophet Mohammad’s favorite color, and it has been a traditional color for mosques around the world. But now green is taking on a new meaning.

The Green Masjid (Mosque) Movement began last year and has been growing through out North America. H-IPL’s own board member Dr. Saiyid Masroor Shah, a resident of Newburgh, Indiana, member of the Islamic Center of Evansville, and retired radiation physicist, chairs the Islamic Society of North America’s Green Masjid Task Force. Indiana also boasts a second founding task force member, Ms. Uzma Mirza, a LEED-certified professional architect with the US Green Building Council in Fort Wayne, whose work focuses on sustainability and green Mosque design, interfaith bridge building, and a non-profit sustainable platform that hosts Fort Wayne’s annual Taste of Ramadan. Both Dr. Shah and Ms. Mirza are active members of H-IPL affiliates.

What Is Ramadan?

During the month of Ramadan, which begins this year on June 6, Muslims around the world practice one of the faith’s five pillars by fasting. The first revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad also occurred during this month. From sunrise to sunset Muslim adults (except those traveling, pregnant, or ill) fast from all food, liquids, smoking, and sexual relations, and are encouraged to offer increased prayers, charity, and spiritual self-discipline. A predawn meal called suhur begins each day, and a post-sunset meal called iftar breaks the fast, often with extended family, friends, or even in large banquet halls.

What Is Green Ramadan?

GreeningRamadan2.jpgIncreased attention to spiritual practices during Ramadan, as well as the environmental demands of iftar, have made Ramadan an excellent season to attend to environmental impacts. ISNA’s Green Masjid project invites all mosques and members to join the Greening Our Ramadan campaign. Reminding members of the Qur’anic command, ““Eat and drink but waste not by extravagance” (Surat Al-Aʿrāf 7:31), the Green Masjid Task Force asks Muslims to:

  • Conserve food at iftars, and avoid wastefulness by giving excess food to people in need. Conserve water, especially during wudu. Follow the tradition of Prophet (peace be upon him).
  • Use quick degradable or paper products for iftars and not Styrofoam cups and plates.
  • Recycle materials, especially plastic water bottles.
  • Replace all light bulbs with energy saver bulbs and thus conserve electricity.
  • Give a khutbah (sermon) on the Islamic imperative to conserve and protect our environment.


What Are Hoosier Muslims Doing?

Islamic greening practices do not end with Eid al-Fitr at the conclusion of Ramadan. Here in Indiana several congregations are leading the way year-round:

IslamicCenterSolarPanels.jpgIn South Bend the Islamic Society of Michiana is participating in Greening Our Ramadan. They have been working extensively on energy conservation measures and just last week installed 20 kW of solar panels on their rooftop. Recently retired engineer M.H. Jerry Muhajeri, P.E., who moved here from Iran in 1959, has been the dynamic driving force behind the mosque’s efforts.

 

ICEYDinner.jpg

In Bloomington the Interfaith Community of Environmentalist Youth, or ICEY, including several members from the Islamic Center, has been the powering home weatherization projects for the past two years as well as lobbying in Washington D.C. They are also helping the Islamic Center reduce energy and acquire solar panels.

SolarLights.jpgThe Islamic Center in Evansville has made Ramadan this year greener than ever with the installation of Sunforce 82120 120-LED Solar Motion Lights, a necessity especially after Ramadan’s late-night gatherings. These battery-equipped, solar powered lights cost about $250 per post, and the simple installation was done by members. The batteries charge during the day and turn on at night with motion sensors. A priority this month and in the future will be to discontinue food waste and use of bottled water during meals.

Several other mosques throughout Indiana have joined the Greening Our Ramadan campaign, including the Iqra Center in Plainfield, Masjid al-Fajr and the Muslim Community Center in Indianapolis, the Northwest Indiana Islamic Center in Crown Point, and Masjid Noor ul-Islam in Fort Wayne. 
To learn more about Islamic green practices, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin’s book GreenDeen: What islam Teaches about Protecting the Plant is a great resource, as are the websites linked to in this article.

For those of us who are not Islamic, this is a wonderful time to give thanks for the faithful Muslims among us who by their skills, openness, and patience teach respect and holiness, and to wish our Muslim friends and neighbors “Ramadan Mubarak” (blessed Ramadan)!

Did You Know?

Recent issues of the monthly newsletter can be accessed by scrolling toward the bottom of our homepage.

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