Is your faith community looking for a meaningful way to reach out to developing nations? Interfaith Power and Light’s Carbon Covenant program helps communities in the Global South work to reverse deforestation and build sustainable livelihoods.
As of fall 2012, Carbon Covenant has raised close to $50,000 to help people who are working in local communities to address climate change in developing nations. Hundreds of individuals have pitched in, donating from $5 to $1,500, but organizations can have an even greater impact.
The Sisters of St. Francis of Rochester, Minnesota, have made two $10,000 grants in support of Carbon Covenant programs in both Cambodia and Cameroon. “My Franciscan community loved this project for a variety of reasons,” says Sister Joan Brown. “We are actively engaged with people of various faith traditions and look for ways to connect the dots between addressing poverty, caring for creation, empowering local communities and supporting solidarity actions with those affected by climate change around the world.”
“One of our sisters had worked in Cambodia and knew first hand the destruction of the forests. Several of our community members also have connections in Africa,” Sister Joan adds. “As followers of St. Francis and St. Clare we know our kinship with every person, element, and tree as brother and sister and we must extend love and healing. Carbon Covenant is a creative and real way to extend the Creator’s love across the oceans.”
In Palo Alto, California, First Presbyterian Church raised more than $1,200 in one day for the Carbon Covenant program through its offering plate. “Several of us were taken by the idea of a Carbon Covenant because these are people on the front lines of climate change,” says Shirley Eglington, a member of the church’s Cool Planet team, which coordinated the project. “Our church has long been interested in social justice, and we’ve been working with the congregation to shape the understanding of climate change partially as a social justice issue and an environmental justice issue.” (Hear Shirley talk more about that.)
Many faith communities dedicate an occasional offering plate to a special cause. Please consider Carbon Covenant for your congregation’s plate-share program, or schedule a special offering during the 2013 Preach-In on Global Warming. You can earmark your donation for one of the programs or support all four. The Carbon Covenant projects can also be an ideal way to introduce youth groups to the reality and impact of worldwide climate change.
Deforestation is responsible for almost 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and takes a grave toll on communities living in or near these ever-shrinking forests. Our partner communities are reforesting degraded lands, protecting existing forests, empowering women and youth through sustainable livelihood trainings and eco-clubs, and building crucial interfaith alliances. For more information on how your house of worship can help address climate change worldwide through Carbon Covenant, contact Julie.