“The faith community must be heard, now is the time for people of faith to take a moral stand to save our planet.” –Reverend Canon Sally G. Bingham, president of The Regeneration Project Interfaith Power & Light
I was raised by a God-fearing mom with a strong affinity for fire and brimstone preaching that grounded me with a strong respect for the power of the pulpit. So when someone introduced me to the Interfaith Power & Light (IP&L), an organization of 10,000 churches, synagogues, mosques and temples covering the religions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, my internal radar started to buzz. If I were a business person in America I would post this article on my bathroom mirror to reflect upon every morning because 85 percent of Americans define themselves as persons of faith.
IP&L defines itself as “a national religious response to global warming, promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation.” Its enrolled 10,000 congregations cover 30 states. Its five year goal is to have 30,000 congregations in all fifty states.
IP&L’s efforts combine the power of the pulpit and practical support. From the pulpit rabbis, ministers, priest and imams are delivering a call to action for people of faith to defend God’s green earth. IP&L provides guest ministers, priests, rabbis or imams to address a congregation on issues of faith and individual environmental responsibility. Its website offers a book called Love God Heal Earth, two films called the Covenant and Fighting Goliath that profile its successful efforts at fighting new coal-fired power plants in Texas. It also includes a DVD called Preaching for the Planet: Interfaith Messages on Global Warming. IL&L representatives were in Washington D.C. lobbying on the Waxman-Markey climate change bill. The organization appears energized to fight harder over the inclusion of public policy supportive of coal-fired power plants in the emerging climate change bill. On its website you can download their legislative factsheets and priorities.
The IP&L’s practical actions are focused upon helping the church, synagogue, mosque or temple and its members use energy more efficiently. It has a website called ShopIPL that offers information and price discounts on Energy Star appliances, higher efficiency lighting and water conservation technology. The group has an affinity marketing program with Sears and Energy Federation Incorporated. It provides case study examples and suggestions–ranging from installing roof top solar power to car pooling to church–on how congregations and their members are adopting sustainable practices.
This quote from Rev. Bingham is why the Green Business Coach for Entrepreneur.com is writing this article: “The things we need to do to boost the economy and create jobs are the same things we need to do to solve global warming.” In my book The Secret Green Sauce I label what Rev. Bingham is preaching as “cost less, mean more.” Market research is documenting that if prices are equal, the American consumer will almost always buy the “green” product alternative. Cost less, mean more is the mantra of the businesses I work with that are succeeding in growing green revenues. And now 10,000 congregations are adopting this same concept in their own ways, words and faith. Or as the Rev. Bingham summarizes, “Its time we start using the energy from heaven like solar, wind and the human spirit for doing right to save God’s green earth.”