Interfaith Power and Light, an organization dedicated to a “religious response to global warming,” has just launched an online store, ShopIPL.org, where religious institutions, people of faith, and freeloading atheists can go to buy energy-efficient lighting, solar cookers, and other environmentally friendly gizmos for house and church alike.
It’s creation care in action. I learned about this through my sister-in-law Allison Fisher, who works for the Greater Washington division of Interfaith Power and Light. Heretofore, she’s mainly been confined to having one-day church presentations where people can buy compact fluorescent lightbulbs and a handful of other eco-appliances; now, even congregation members who don’t make it to church every Sunday can read about the website in their church newsletter and go online. While they’re there, they’ll be able to purchase a full range of energy-efficient schwag, from LED exit signs to high-tech insulation. (Prices are generally lower than other stores, especially with the discount you get by entering the shopIPL code at checkout.)
This sort of activity could have a significant impact (from an IPL press release):
The EPA reports that if more than 300,000 places of worship … across the United States reduced energy usage by 10 percent, they would save nearly $200 million. Cutting energy use by just 10 percent would also prevent more than 2 million tons of greenhouse gas (global warming) emissions — the equivalent of removing 400,000 cars from the road.
Perhaps more importantly, Allison reports that buying LED exit signs has proved a gateway drug to environmental activism; more than 30 percent of the congregations she’s worked with on improving the energy efficiency of their churches have gone on to get involved in local climate activism with groups like the Chesapeake Climate Action Network — where they’ve helped pass, for instance, a clean energy standard, a Clean Car Act to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from cars, and even state carbon caps.
I think the prophet Isaiah would agree, this is better than prayer!