Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing humanity today. Every major religion has a mandate to care for Creation and to act as good stewards to preserve life for future generations. Many religions also now have climate statements, which you can find on our website. The Cool Congregations program is designed to support faith communities as they “walk the talk” by reducing their own carbon footprint, thus helping to cool the planet. A side benefit of the program is the ‘multiplier effect,’ as congregants are encouraged to model the same energy saving behavior at home that they see at their congregation.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program estimates that if America’s 370,000 congregations cut energy use just 20% it would save nearly $630 million per year that could be applied to missions and other priorities, while providing more than 3.6 billion “new” kWh electricity per year without additional cost or pollution. These energy savings would prevent more than 2.6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year — the equivalent of eliminating emissions from 480,000 cars, or planting 60,000 trees every year!
Interfaith Power & Light offers both certification and a prize money challenge to exemplary Cool Congregations. IPL’s annual Cool Congregation Challenge is a fun and easy way for congregations to compete for recognition and prize money. Certification is a higher bar, and at present is being offered by invitation only. You can nominate your congregation to receive an invitation for certification by writing an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re very pleased that you’re interested in joining the ranks of Cool Congregations nationwide. Thank you for providing inspiration and leadership to your congregation. By empowering your members to act, you will also bring more voices to the growing interfaith movement that is demanding accountability and leadership from world leaders on behalf of the Earth and the common good.