Government has failed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and religious groups must take a leadership role in adopting renewable energy, according to a church group in California.
CHULA VISTA, California – “Episcopal Power & Light believes that because the government hasn’t found a solution to cutting CO2 emissions, the faith community is called upon to take a leadership role by its exemplary behavior and by putting faith into action,” says The Rev. Sally Bingham, founder and co-director of the group. “While others wait and debate, the faith community has begun taking steps to help heal the environment.” Rev. Bingham is founder and co-director of Episcopal Power & Light. She was in Chula Vista last week to witness the signing of two local congregations that are the first churches in San Diego County to switch to renewable energy electricity. Clergy from St. Johns and St. Marks City Heights Parishes signed up as customers of Green Mountain Energy Company. “Making electricity creates more air pollution than any other industry,” explained Karen Norris of Green Mountain Energy. “We are working to change the way power is made by providing cleaner, renewable sources of electricity.” Rev. Bingham from Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and the Rev. George Keith of St. John’s Episcopal Church in San Diego held a press conference to announce the signing and to visit clergy from other Episcopal congregations. In July, the Episcopal Church’s General Convention passed a resolution to encourage churches and their parishioners to use renewable sources of electricity in a theological response to global warming. For each church that switches to its “Breathe Easy Payment Plan(SM),” Green Mountain Energy will donate $250 to the church. For each parishioner who enrolls in the plan through their church, another donation of $35 will be made to that parish. The fixed-rate pricing plan is offered to residential and small business customers in San Diego and Orange counties in the SDG&E and SCE service territories. The price of 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour is guaranteed until the end of next year. Rev. Bingham has recently returned from Nepal, where the Episcopal Power & Light initiative was honored by the Alliance for Religions & Conservation and The World Wildlife Fund as being a “Sacred Gift to the Living Planet.” In October 1998, the Episcopal Diocese of California adopted a resolution to support renewable sources of electricity, and the initiative was formed as a grassroots effort to expand the spiritual dimensions of ecological problems.