RI IPL Annual Conference:
Transforming Prayers into Passionate Action
with Tim DeChristopher
Monday, October 16, 2017
5:30 PM - 9:00 PM

August 2017      
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In This Issue

Advocacy Update

7/24/2017 RI IPL joined National IPL in a sign-on letter to Oppose Blunt Clean Cars Rollback Bill
(Senate 1273) 
Summary: This bill weakens the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and threatens the greenhouse gas emissions standards, endangering the health, consumer savings and environment of Americans across the country. 

Film of the Month

At RI IPL, we are always adding new films to our Film Lending Library. All of our films are available for member congregations to borrow. Many of them come with discussion notes as well. In order to showcase the films we have available, we're adding a Featured Film of the Month column to our newsletter.   You can easily bring a movie to your congregation, too. Just contact Kristen Ivy at 

As the blue planet's burgeoning populace faces an uncertain future, never before have the world's oceans been called upon to serve so many, while suffering so much. To address this, people around the world have begun using new approaches to ocean management. It is a movement of scientists, businesses, farmers, fishermen, governments and citizens who care for the sea. The first in a series of four films, Ocean Frontiers: The Dawn of a New Era in Ocean Stewardship takes us on an inspiring voyage to seaports and watersheds across the country-from the busy shipping lanes of Boston Harbor to a small fishing community in the Pacific Northwest; from America's coral reefs in the Florida Keys to the nation's premier seafood nursery in the Mississippi Delta. Here we meet an intermingling of unlikely allies, of industrial shippers and whale biologists, pig farmers and wetland ecologists, sport fishers and reef snorkelers and many more, all of them embarking on a new course of cooperation, to sustain the sea and our ocean economies.
Green Infrastructure at Home
Rain Gardens

Rain garden in Leominster, MA (Photo Credit - MA Watershed Coalition)

A rain garden is a landscape feature designed to collect and absorb stormwater runoff from rooftops, driveways, streets, sidewalks, and other impervious surfaces. It consists of a shallow depression filled with mulch, sand, peat, and soil and planted with plants that are tolerant of both wet and dry conditions.
Most of the time the basin remains dry, so the plants are chosen to be drought tolerant. During heavy rains, the garden accepts large amounts of water to prevent flooding and protect local waterways by filtering polluted runoff. Rain gardens are designed with native plants to be low maintenance, provide butterfly and bird habitats, complement the surrounding landscape, and enhance the beauty of your yard.
Building a rain garden is relatively simple and can usually be accomplished in a weekend or two with the help of a few friends. Visit the  UCONN Rain Gardens Design Guide  for detailed instructions on designing and building your own rain garden.

The Rev. Dr. Anita Schell
Emmanuel Newport
Ray Frackelton, PhD
Newman Congregational
Marty Davey
St. Gregory the Great
Christine Muller
Baha ' i Community
Christine Cassels
St. Luke's
East Greenwich

Sarah Atkins
Emmanuel Newport
The Rev. David Helfer
Unitarian Universalist  
Congregation of
South County
Peace Dale

Kristen Ivy Moses
Executive Director
First Unitarian Church


We call upon the earth, our planet home,
with its beautiful depths and soaring heights,
its vitality and abundance of life, and together we ask that it:
Teach us, and show us the way.
-Chinook blessing

Dear Friends,

Using the Earth as our teacher and guide, we are all  collaborating to mobilize  ever more people toward working for the common good and finding shared means of progress forward.  Rev. David Helfer , who  joined the RI IPL board in April,   describes the experience of how his devotion to the environment has brought him closer with others sharing the same passion in  The Importance of a Shared Solution .

Below are pictures of my  Cool Harvest   Salsa Collection Garden . Next month I'll share the story of my sustainable summer vacation on  Star Island .
Kristen Ivy Moses
Executive Director
Rhode Island Interfaith Power & Light
TheImportanceofaSharedSolutionThe Importance of a Shared Solution
Rev. David Helfer, RI IPL Board Member

In 1992, I found myself in a Masters of Sci e nce Program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The focus: E nvironmental Management and Policy. At the time, it was a gr oundbreaking program; one of five such programs in the country considering the intersection of the environment, business, and policy.
The program grounded me in a collaborative and centrist approach to problem-solving. During my two- decade career in environmental policy and consulting, my focus was bringing diverse voices together to discover shared goals and collaborative answers. 

In 2013, I hung up my environmental professional hat and turned my full-time attention toward my second career, Unitarian Universalist ministry. Sure, I'd continue to care deeply about environmental issues, but my focus had shifted. Or so I thought.

If there's anything we are realizing in 2017, it is the intersection of need, and how all of what we do - or don't do - has interconnected responses.

Almost as soon as I arrived to serve my congre gation, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County, I found myself protesting the atrocities being perpetrated by the authorities at Standing Rock. Within months - apparently one of the benefits of being in a state where all truly is interconnected - I found myself serving on two statewide Boards, RI Interfaith Power and Light and the RI Council of Churches. Fast forward a few more months, and I learned of the FANG (Fight Against Natural Gas) Collective, the RI Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty, and about a dozen other groups, all motivated to improve the conditions in RI.

Now, some might notice that only one or two of these organizations are explicitly environmental in focus. I would contend that the opposite is true, that each an d every organization in RI, and beyond, is working towards the same goal. We each and all are working to mobilize ever more people toward creating the common good, finding shared means of progress forward. Together.

One of the many benefits of that Masters program, all those years ago, was the understanding that environmental movements must include marginalized communities, both from an environmental justice perspective but also to create successful and long-lasting efforts. I recall, years ago, learning that Mexico City had some of the best anti-smog programs in the world, and yet the air was almost unbreathable. Why?

To answer that question, one needs to consider Abraham Maslow's 1943 paper, "A Theory of Human Mo tivation." Simply put, there is a hierarchy of needs. Humans (and likely most species, I'm surmising) focus on the prevailing need. If one has insufficient access to food or housing, for example, it is both unrealistic and infeasible to anticipate a focus on societal issues such as climate change. 

In Mexico City, then, strong regulations were strongly counterbalanced by the prevailing poverty. Food was more important than policy. The lesson learned was simple but profound: sustainable environmental progress can only be achieved in the context of more holistic societal healing.
This is all to say that we are in this together, both the challenge and the solutions to climate change, perhaps more than we realize. Perhaps we focus our energies differently, but the movements are interwoven in ways that we do not yet fully appreciate.

As I think about the challenges of climate change, I recognize now that it will be part of my work, my ministry, wherever I am and in whatever capacity I might be serving. Similarly, each of you, in the ways you contribute to the world, are part of the solution.

In the words of Unitarian Universalist minister, Reverend Mark Morrison-Reed,  "The central task of the religious community is to unveil the bonds that bind each to all. There is a connectedness, a relationship discovered amid the particulars of our own lives and the lives of others. Once felt, it inspires us to act for justice."

It is the church that assures us that we are not struggling for justice on our own, but as members of a larger community. The religious community is essential, for alone our vision is too narrow to see all that must be seen, and our strength too limited to do all that must be done. Together, our vision widens and our strength is renewed.

My hope for RI Interfaith Power and Light, and for us all, is that with each step forward we recognize our ability to discover and create truly interwoven and shared solutions to the issues of our time.

Be Informed on Climate Action
National IPL Climate Action Call

The Interfaith Power & Lig ht (IPL) team invites you to join a national climate policy call on 
Tuesday, August 1st 
at 3:00 PM EST
On this cal l we'll hear a concise and compelling overview of important federal climate and energy policies and opportunities for action. This call is appropriate for those with all levels of experience - we promise we won't use lots of acronyms! The call will be no more than one hour and we'll leave plenty of time for questions and answers in that hour. 
At a time when the Trump Administration and some in Congress are trying to slash funding for climate and clean energy programs and roll back safeguards like auto fuel efficiency standards, we need to be informed and ready to act. There are signs of hope - such as the House Climate Solutions Caucus - and we've got to come together and speak with a clear moral voice in support of climate solutions.
Even if you can't make it on August 1st, register to receive the call notes and next steps for action. You will receive ideas and tools on how you can take action when your legislators are home during the upcoming congressional recess.

Salsa Collection Garden
Ever grown your own salsa? Well now is your chance!  The 7 Heirloom Varieties is everything a fresh salsa lover needs to create their own fresh and canned salsa. From Northern California's The Living Seed Company, the organic seeds are vigorous, open-pollinated varieties that are highly productive, flavorful and nutritious. The plants are hardy, adaptable to most climates and are known for their high disease-resistance. Organic seeds are pesticide- and herbicide-free and non-genetically modified. 

Salsa Collection
Organic Cilantro, Organic Green Tomatillo, Organic Jalapeno Pepper, Organic Purple Tomatillo,   Organic Purplette Onion, Organic San Marzano Tomatillo, Organic Yellow Pear Tomato

Here are some pictures of my Cool Harvest Garden :

Genovese Basil

San Marzano Tomatillo, Yellow Pear Tomato,
 and Juanne Flamme Tomato

For more information visit:

Students imagine sea-level rise

Photo by Joseph T. O'Connor

The Projecting Change exhibit is a RISD student project examining possible solutions to sea levels rising due to global warming. The exhibit is currently on display at RI IPL member Emmanuel Church Newport through Aug. 28.

Providing Resilience Education for Planning in Rhode Island
PREP-RI is a series of short educational videos for anyone wanting to learn about improving their community's resilience to flooding and erosion.  Considering current and future impacts helps shape decisions that enhance the health, safety, and welfare of Rhode Island's communities. The brief modules provide an understanding of the implications of a changing climate in Rhode Island.

Topics include climate change, flooding, stormwater management, mapping tools, infrastructure impacts, and adaptation. Modules may be viewed individually or in succession. Relevant examples and lessons learned from Rhode Island communities are included, as well as ways to use resources and tools in decision-making. PREP-RI builds upon existing State efforts and is the product of collaboration among local experts and practitioners from a variety of fields.
PREP-RI is a partnership of the URI Coastal Resources Center and RI Sea Grant at the Graduate School of Oceanography and the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Support for this project was provided by the state of Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is encouraging Rhode Islanders to leave their cars at home for the daily trip to work, to catch a flight, or to visit the capital city by making in-state travel free on trains between Wickford Junction, T.F. Green and Providence stations.

RIDOT is making commuter rail service free from July 3 to the end of the year to raise awareness about this convenient transit service. RIDOT hopes it will also help people decide to make the train a way of life which will relieve them of the burden of parking in the city. More transit riders also mean less congestion on the busy Route 4 highway and in downtown Providence.

"Rhode Island ranks on the bottom when it comes to the percentage of travelers who use transit as opposed to cars, yet we have the infrastructure and train service to make it easy for people to get around our state without a car," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said. "Making it free for a period of time will make more people aware of this great service and provide them an opportunity to try it and use it on a regular basis."

Parking at Wickford Junction Station is free year-round. The facility - located minutes from Exit 5 on Route 4 in North Kingstown - includes covered garage parking, restrooms, a climate-controlled indoor waiting area, electric car charging stations and vending machines.

Sept. 8, 2017 | 6-9 p.m. | Fete Music Hall

Join our friends at ecoRI News to  celebrate their eighth birthday! Everything at this lively ultra-green party will be eaten, imbibed, recycled, reused, or composted. Enjoy live music from  Eric and the Nothing  and  Seatbelt , plus tasty food from  Julians  and raffle items from local businesses.

Save $10 off general admission tickets when you purchase before Aug. 4.

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Is your congregation or organization panning a climate change or environmental event? We want to know about it! Email us the details of your event and We'll share it on our webpage and in our newsletter. Please send newsletter submissions by the 15th of the month.  Send RI IPL related events or announcements to Kristen Ivy Moses, executive director, at .

Rhode Island Interfaith Power & Light
PO Box 15043, Riverside, RI 02915  (401) 324-9142