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. “Footprints of Faith II” will enable Arizona Interfaith Power & Light, with support from Audubon Arizona, to expand on their previous work and bring the program to two more communities of faith in Phoenix and two in Tucson—with potential to reach hundreds of families. AZIPL will provide each community with an energy audit and analysis to pinpoint energy-saving strategies and small grants to begin implementation.
“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’ will raise their awareness of climate change, acknowledging their role in it, and helping them reduce their carbon footprints.”
From plan inception to conclusion, AZIPL will provide coaching and mentorship, serve as the liaison between the churches and providers of energy audits, and assist with energy monitoring. Additionally, they will advise 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 will provide this information and education through films, workshops, speakers, discussions, and other project activities at the partner congregations. South Phoenix congregations will be able to access programs and events at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center, located in a restored riparian habitat in a formerly degraded five-mile stretch of the historic Salt River, providing an amazing and vital connection to nature right in their neighborhood.
Throughout, “Footprints of Faith” participants will continue to build personal relationships and put faith to work for environmental conservation. The hope is that the families reached in “Footprints in Faith II” will join in a growing network of climate change mitigation organizations, offering a collective voice for climate change action through houses of worship within the two largest population centers of Arizona.