More than a thousand clergy took part in the 2012 National Preach-In on Global Warming, and many are helping their congregations take action year-round on climate change. A few more religious professionals-to-be may be ready to join their ranks after a visit to the headquarters of The Regeneration Project, its Interfaith Power & Light campaign, and California Interfaith Power & Light.
Dr. Devin Zuber, Assistant Professor of American Studies, Literature, and Swedenborgian Studies at Pacific School of Religion, taught an intensive two-week class in Environmentalism in American Religion and Culture during PSR’s summer session. One August afternoon, after trekking from Berkeley to San Francisco’s Presidio to visit the Thoreau Center for Sustainability and see works by environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy, the students traveled downtown to learn about working at the intersection of faith and environmental stewardship.
The students represented several religious traditions, and all were eager to hear how a faith approach is helping values transcend ideology in the urgent issue of global warming. IPL executive director Susan Stephenson explained how Interfaith Power & Light helps congregations identify and take energy-saving steps ranging from replacing light bulbs to going solar. (California IPL program director Greg Bedard showed a TV news video about two Silicon Valley congregations powered by the sun.)
The seminarians also heard how IPL works with our state affiliates to defend the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to strengthen the Clean Air Act, how we’re assisting our Michigan state affiliate in a campaign to boost that state’s renewable energy standards, and how our Carbon Covenant program benefits projects to curb climate change in developing nations.
Zuber said the visit helped his students understand “how one does effective advocacy from a faith-based perspective” and how to tie deep questions about spirituality and nature into public engagement. “It’s been extremely inspiring for all of us be here and hear these stories,” he added. (Hear more from Zuber in this two-minute video.)
Interfaith Power & Light offers internship opportunities to students who are interested in pursuing work in faith-based environmental stewardship. Check below for current openings in our San Francisco office or contact your state affiliate for more information.