Reducing the carbon footprint of churches in Phoenix and Tucson
Reducing energy use saves money and helps combat climate change. It’s that simple.
It is this basic concept that drives the work of Arizona Interfaith Power & Light (AZIPL). AZIPL is not a utility company; rather, it’s an interfaith ministry devoted to deepening the connection between ecology and faith. The goal is to help people of faith recognize and fulfill their responsibility for the stewardship of our planet.
The 2011 “Footprints of Faith” TogetherGreen project launched climate change mitigation work with inner-city faith communities, creating a model that increases awareness of global climate change and equips congregations and their members with strategies to reduce individual and collective carbon footprints through energy conservation. “Faith-based communities serve as important hubs of information for social services, economic decisions, and environmental justice.” offered Arizona Interfaith Power & Light Secretary Sally Rings.
“Footprints of Faith II,” the Arizona Interfaith Power & Light’s 2012 project expanded on their previous work and brought the program to four more communities of faith in Phoenix and Tucson. From plan inception to conclusion, AZIPL provided coaching and mentorship, served as the liaison between the churches and providers of energy audits, and assisted with energy monitoring. Additionally, they advised participants of steps they can take at home and at their houses of worship to reduce their energy usage (and reduce their carbon output from coal-generated power), as well as save on their electric bills. In order to engage as many congregants as possible, AZIPL translated their “Cool Haciendas” presentation into Spanish. They also expanded their religious diversity by including a Thai Buddhist community in their outreach.
Throughout, “Footprints of Faith” participants built personal relationships with each other and the leaders, putting their faith to work for environmental conservation. AZIPL’s efforts to create such long-lasting relationships created a sense of trust and increased the number of partners, thus magnifying the incredible work of the “Footprints of Faith” program.