FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2022
Oakland, CA — On Monday, March 7, the Chair of the Board of Directors of Interfaith Power and Light, Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley, announces the appointment of two new directors: Eijun Linda Cutts and Gopal D. Patel.
Eijun Linda Cutts is a Zen Buddhist priest with the San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC). Since 1993 she has resided at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, an organic farm and garden, and meditation and retreat center.
Linda served as Abbess of SFZC in different capacities from 2000 to 2019. She teaches and leads retreats at Tassajara, Zen Mountain Center, Green Gulch Farm, and elsewhere. Linda first served on the California Interfaith Power and Light Steering Committee (CIPL) in 2009. Linda also served on the Interfaith Power and Light (IPL) board and stepped down while taking a year-long sabbatical in 2019. She now rejoins IPL’s national board.
Linda offered, “I am very glad to return to service with the national board of IPL and to take up once again, along with others, the governing, visioning, and fiduciary responsibilities. Given the dramatic developments in our world stemming from climate change, our work has an urgency that is indisputable and critical to the lives of millions, as well as to the well-being of our shared, sacred planet.”
Gopal D. Patel is a faith-based environmental activist, campaigner, and consultant. He has spearheaded environmental initiatives that engage religious communities and leaders in India, East Africa, Europe, and North America for more than a decade. He is Co-Founder and Director of Bhumi Global, a non-profit organization that works to educate and mobilize Hindu communities globally for environmental action.
He is co-chair of the United Nations Multi-faith Advisory Council and is a member of the Advisory Board to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. He also serves as an advisor to several global interfaith and environmental initiatives. Born and raised in England, he currently lives in the New York City Metro Area.
Upon being appointed to the IPL Board, Gopal said, “The work of IPL in mobilizing faith communities at the grassroots and advocating for better national environmental policies is vitally important to our success in meeting our challenges. I look forward to strengthening the voice of IPL within international forums, such as the United Nations, and engaging younger climate activists who seek religious and spiritual belonging outside of traditional religious structures. IPL plays a critical role in bringing the diverse but united voices of faith together to challenge policymakers and industries that are damaging our planet.”
Durley expressed his delight at expanding the Board of Directors “now to include a Buddhist and a Hindu leader, each with extensive experiences and skillsets that will help IPL advance its purpose and mission.” A noted civil rights activist for decades, Durley spoke with reverence about MLK Jr’s landmark speech regarding the “fierce urgency of now” and the volition that “we cannot walk alone” as also being relevant in light of the magnitude of the climate crisis and how we might address it together. Understanding the intersectional character of environmental and racial justice issues, Durley echoed King’s words about the task that confronts us, saying: “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with a fierce urgency of now.”
The President of Interfaith Power & Light, Rev. Susan Hendershot, added that “in this historical moment, we see the intersection of environment and climate justice issues with virtually every other issue, from systemic racism to international security. We benefit from religious leaders who possess the vision and acumen of Linda and Gopal. They understand the vitally important role that faith actors can bring to shaping a moral agenda for our sacred planet.”
The terms of service on the IPL Board are three years in length with opportunities for renewal.
Interfaith Power & Light inspires and mobilizes people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change. With a network of more than 22,000 congregations and 40 state affiliates across the country, IPL regularly reaches six million people of all religious and spiritual traditions.