Recommended actions by the
Diocese, parishes, and organizations, to conserve energy, use
energy from renewable sources, and cooperate with Virginia Interfaith
Power and Light
(1) that this 210th Annual Council supports with renewed urgency
all measures that reduce energy use and strongly urges that all
parishes and Diocesan organizations, wherever feasible, plan to
adopt renewable sources of energy at the earliest possible date.
(2) that the Diocese, parishes, and other Diocesan organizations
subscribe to the newly formed Virginia Interfaith Power and Light
organization to learn of opportunities for reducing energy use
and introducing renewable energy.
Background and Rationale:
(1) Although one of the first commands
God gave to his human creatures was to work and care for his garden,
our increasing human ability to use the gifts of His earth to gain
energy to add to our own possessions and ease our life has not been
paralleled by increased care for the garden to preserve those gifts.
Fossil fuels have many deleterious effects
on God's earth and His living creatures. This was recognized by
our Presiding Bishop Dr. Griswold, on 19 May 2000 when he joined
29 other religious leaders of many faiths and scientists in urging
the U.S. Senate to revisit the question of climate change and
seek reduction in "greenhouse"gasesprincipally
the excess CO2 from burning fossil fuels to supply energy. Earlier
springs and melting of the Arctic and Antarctic ice packs confirm
that human activities are affecting the world's climate, rainfall,
and air and ocean currents. The particulates and other gases released
affect human health, increase childhood and adult respiratory
problems, and threaten the wellbeing of all of God's creatures.
The Episcopal Church recognizes social justice issues arise when
toxins from fossil fuel energy production near their homes directly
affect our brothers and sisters who live in poverty.
(2) Good stewardship of energy is also
good stewardship of congregational operating funds. Money wasted
on unnecessarily high utility bills could be saved with energy
efficiency investments, and the savings more productively used
on the church mission.
(3) It is therefore increasingly necessary
to turn to renewable, or "green", sources of energy
and energy conservation. Among "green" sources we include
wind energy, solar energy, water power, underground thermal energy,
methane recaptured from waste dumps, and biomass. Technology that
permits us to reduce energy consumption and use renewable sources
is rapidly improving; and information for study and planning is
increasingly available from engineering, governmental, and commercial
(4) While the Church can properly assist
our Lord's mission to bring a healthier and more abundant life,
it can also bring together consumers in a market place to gain
the advantages of bloc purchasing power. This was shown several
years ago in the Diocese of California when a priest, Sally Bingham,
organized Episcopal Power and Light. A General Convention Resolution
supported the project in 1997. The movement has become ecumenical,
and Interfaith Power and Light (IPL) energy planning and purchasing
cooperatives are now established in 17 or more states, including
the Greater Washington Area and Virginia, just this past November.
There is no membership fee in Virginia. These organizations are
made up of parishes and individuals that agree by covenant to
take advantage of one or more options to educate themselves on
renewable energy matters, arrange audits, exchange reports, and
seek renewable energy through listed vendors, creating a breadth
of demand to encourage investment in supply, and thus sharing
in reduced costs of installation and operation.