My two friends and I started the Cool Congregations Earth Stewardship Program for Households when we heard about a proposed coal power plant in our neighboring town of Waterloo, Iowa in 2007. As people of faith and mothers concerned about our children’s future, we felt called to be part of the solution. “If we use less electricity,” we thought, “then there would no need for new coal plants.” The priest at our church had long said, “To keep the faith, we must keep the earth.” So we took his words to heart and formed a small group in our church, St. Luke’s Episcopal in Cedar Falls, dedicated to measuring and cutting our carbon footprints. Little did we know that the work of our small congregation would become a model not just for communities in Iowa, but across the nation.
The participating families in our home church cut their emissions by 67 tons in just the first year, averaging a reduction of 9% and saving around $200 per household. Given this success, it didn’t take long before we were hiring babysitters, packing the station wagon, and traveling across Iowa to get others started on the program. As I write this letter now, we have had over 250 faith communities in Iowa participate in Cool Congregations and Interfaith Power and Light has adopted and adapted the program for congregations too! I’m thrilled.
The mission of Cool Congregations household program is to inspire and educate people to be faithful stewards of creation by responding to Climate Change through energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. Its purpose is to bind care of Creation to the heart of faith communities.
Cool Congregations has made a big difference in my own congregation. And I joyfully report that because of the public outcry, the proposed coal plant in Waterloo was abandoned. We hope that you will feel empowered as an individual to make a difference in your own home, and to join us in restoring God’s Creation!
Founder, Cool Congregations Earth Stewardship for Households
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