The White House took the time on Monday afternoon to honor some of America's 'faith champions' making an impact on climate action. The list of those being honored (below) demonstrates a shared moral imperative with a tremendous ability to bring a diverse panel of religious traditions together for a common cause, or as Pope Francis put it, 'our common home.'
- Huda Alkaff, West Bend, Wisconsin
- Steven Beumer, Maitland, Florida
- Sister Joan Brown, Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Cassandra Carmichael, Annapolis, Maryland
- Patrick Carolan, Stratford, Connecticut
- Reverend Gerald Durley, Atlanta, Georgia
- Nana Firman, Riverside, California
- Rachel Lamb, Silver Spring, Maryland
- Reverend Kim Morrow, Lincoln, Nebraska
- Rabbi Marc Soloway, Boulder, Colorado
- Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr., Hyattsville, Maryland
- Sunita Viswanath, Brooklyn, New York
Among the chosen few was Blessed Tomorrow leader and Interfaith Power and Light board member, Reverend Gerald Durley who began his social justice campaign during the civil rights movement of the 1960s; since expanding his social action to include climate change. During Rev. Durley's talk at the White House, he noted the inextricable link between issues of social justice and the environment, explaining that climate change impacts minority communities the hardest - encouraging everyone to care for the world's most vulnerable.
Rev. Durley wasn't alone as the packed stage of IPL board members were honored for their distinctive efforts in climate action. Among them were Sr. Joan Brown, executive director of New Mexico IPL, Huda Alkaff, leader of Wisconsin IPL and the Rev. Kim Morrow, executive director of Nebraska IPL.
SAN FRANCISCO – Four leaders of Interfaith Power & Light (IPL), a national organization with 40 state affiliates spearheading the faith response to climate change, are among 12 White House “Champions of Change” to be honored for their role in combating climate change.
“IPL is very proud that after over a decade of empowering America’s religious communities to act on environmental issues, so many of our leaders are being honored for pioneering this issue,” said the Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, IPL founder and president.
The White House confirmed (see statement below) that Champions would include two IPL national board members, the Rev. Gerald Durley, and Sr. Joan Brown, who is also the executive director of New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light. Huda Alkaff, leader of Wisconsin Interfaith Power & Light and the Rev. Kim Morrow, executive director of Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light will also be honored at the White House event, to be held on Monday, July 20th at 2:00 PM ET.
In 15 years of action, IPL has greened over 4,000 houses of worship while growing a network of over 18,000 congregations from every major religion who see the transition to clean energy as a moral issue. The organization also plays a key advocacy role, encouraging renewable energy standards at the state level while supporting federal initiatives such as the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. With programs like the Paris Pledge, in which churches, mosques and temples set greenhouse gas reduction goals to become carbon neutral by 2050, IPL continues to be at the forefront of the faith response to climate change.
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