If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it.
--Lyndon B. Johnson

Austin Interfaith Environmental Network Wins Austin Water Conservation Award

On Friday, March 25, Interfaith Environmental Network (IEN), the Austin chapter of Texas Interfaith Power and Light, won an award for Excellence in Water Conservation from Austin Water. The awards, presented by Austin Water Utility, recognize business and non-profits involved in water conservation and environmental stewardship.

IEN and other award winners were recognized at the Friday banquet, described in a story on Time Warner News. Congratulations to IEN for their dedication to environmental stewardship and creation care!

Faith Community Resources for Climate Action around Earth Day

Earth Day is a great time to engage your religious community in a call for action on climate! This year, join with communities of faith around the country to learn, reflect, and act during Faith Climate Action Week, 2016.


Paris Agreement

Latest climate science



Is your religious community planning an activity around Earth Day? Whether it’s a religious school class or a sermon, a festival or a trash-pick-up, a local foods potluck or a letter writing campaign, register your event at the Faith Climate Action Week website


(Photo ”Texas Bluebonnets” by User Jeff P. used under a Creative Commons Attribution License.)

People of Faith Gather around the State for Interfaith Climate Vigils

As international leaders met in Paris for COP21, religious leaders in our state came together in a similar act of solidarity. On December 3, 2015, interfaith groups across Texas hosted events during which members of various faith communities shared their traditions’ perspectives on climate change and discussed what it means to come together in pursuit of a common goal: climate justice and sustainability.

The vigils—which took place in houses of worship in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston—opened with readings of excerpts from various traditions’ declarations and statements on climate change. Whether the words came from the Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis, the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change, Pope Francis’s Laudato Sí, or a host of other faiths’ statements, they all communicated consistent themes: religious conviction, solidarity with the most vulnerable, a shared concern for the natural world, and a vision of hope.

Some of the vigils also participated in a call with Bee, Yaira, Austin Mayor Steve Adler, and Austin City Council Member Leslie Pool, who shared stories and encouragement from their time at COP21. The vigils closed with a time of reflection and discussion during which religious leaders grappled with big questions—How do we continue to effect change at a local level? Where do we find hope in the face these challenges?

Now, COP21 has come to a close. The Paris climate agreement signals a profound moment in the history of international climate work, and the presence, witness, and efforts of the faith community helped make this agreement a reality! 

Media coverage of the vigils:

TXIPL is Going to Paris for COP 21

Texas Interfaith Power and Light is going to Paris! We (that’s us, Yaira & Bee) will be there for the first week of UN climate talks, November 30-December 6, 2015. As leaders from 196 nations meet to hammer out a binding and universal agreement on global climate action, we’ll connect with activists, scientists, and religious leaders from around the world in order to bring real-world climate justice stories home to the Texas faith community through videos, photos, and blog shorts in a special series we’re calling “Boots ‘n’ Berets.”

Learn more about COP 21 here. Follow Bee and Yaira's adventures here.

Local, state and national faith groups from around the U.S. are sending delegates to the talks. Meanwhile, back home in Texas, we know you’ll be calling for climate action in all kinds of ways:

Texas Climate Vigils

On Thursday evening, December 3rd, we hope you’ll join with others in your community to hold an interfaith vigil for climate action. These events will provide dedicated time for reflection, community connection, and shared commitment…plus, we’ll video-conference in from Paris to provide a live update! So far, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston have events planned—and there’s still time to host a vigil if there’s not one already planned near you!

In the wake of the devastating terror attacks in Paris, some of the public actions planned for Paris won’t be possible. This makes global grassroots action—your action!—all the more important. Large and small, from Nacogdoches to El Paso, Amarillo to McAllen, our actions matter and can help make a difference.

As world leaders struggle toward agreements to protect the climate we all need to survive, faith voices are crucial. Faith groups from around the world are issuing calls for strong action, like this statement from the World Council of Churches/ACT Alliance. In the face of daunting challenges, the world needs faithful voices of hope. Join us!

Learn more about the Paris climate talks and ways to take action here.

We will be providing updates 2-3 times per day from November 30 until December 6. Join in the conversation on Twitter #BootsNBerets or follow @TexasInterfaith for news from Paris. You can also keep up with Bee and Yaira's travels on the TXIPL Facebook page or at http://texasimpact.org/Paris-2015.

Host an Interfaith Vigil for Climate Action!

This is an important time in terms of climate conversations and decisions at both the national and the global level, and our leaders need to see grassroots support for action on climate. 

We invite communities all across Texas to hold interfaith vigils for climate action on Thursday evening, December 3, 2015. 

We're all in this together. Climate change is global and affects all of us. It's time now to work in partnership with our brothers and sisters of different faith traditions in calling for a different way forward.

Together, we can pray, learn, and act. Click here to see which cities are already planning a vigil. Not one already happening near you? Sign up to host one!

This is an important year for climate action.

  • In August, 2015, President Obama and the EPA announced final Clean Power Plan standards—our first-ever national standards on carbon pollution from power plants. 
  • In December, 2015, world leaders will meet in Paris for two weeks of UN climate talks. At this COP21 meeting, leaders are expected to adopt a new protocol to reduce global carbon emissions, replacing the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which is due to expire. Leaders will also decide if and how to help the world’s poorest, developing countries adapt to climate change. 

What happens at an interfaith vigil for climate action?

Each vigil will be different, because it will be planned by local leaders to reflect the needs and interests of each community. Here are some ideas:

  • Host the gathering at a centrally located house of worship.
  • Gather at 6:00pm and share a vegetarian potluck meal. Sharing a meal is a great way to build community! (Maybe make it meat-free, because that’s the easiest way to accommodate dietary restrictions for members of several different religious traditions.) OR…skip the potluck and gather food-free, at 7:00pm.
  • When people arrive, collect their names and contact information on a sign-in sheet. This will help you and us plan future events and get information out to concerned Texans about ways to be involved. Download and print a sign-in sheet here.
  • At 7:00pm, begin the program. Invite local religious leaders from different traditions to read excerpts from recent religious statements about climate change. It would be great to have leaders from each particular tradition read from their tradition’s statement or to share teachings from their traditions. Make it fun! Invite leaders to read excerpts in an engaging and compelling way, poetry-slam-style.
  • At 7:30pm, “dial” into a video conference with other Texas communities who are hosting vigils as well as with TXIPL’s Executive Director, Bee Moorhead, and Associate Director, Yaira Robinson, who will be in Paris during the UN climate talks!
    • In order to connect to the simulcast video call, you will need a reasonably new computer (≤ 5yrs old, preferably with a web camera and built-in microphone) and a broadband Interent connection (1Mbps minimum, 3Mbps or higher preferred.) The video conference will be held using Citrix GoToMeeting software. Learn more about requirements for Citrix software here.
    • Audio can be handled by phone or by computer speakers (or, e.g., by connecting the computer to a large set of speakers or your venue’s sound system.) If you do not have access to the video call, you can connect and join the audio call, either by phone (number forthcoming) or by computer. 
  • Ask people to commit to at least one action. People can commit to making changes in their personal practices at home; making changes in their neighborhoods, schools, houses of worship, and workplaces; and/or advocating for policy changes at the local, state, and/or federal level. Our actions matter.


Attend a vigil in your community. (Click here to see which cities are planning a vigil.)

Not one already happening near you? Sign up to host one!


Top photo used courtesy John Ragai via Flickr Creative Commons.

Special Event! Catholic Climate Covenant in Austin, Oct. 20, 2015

On Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. in Austin, Dan Misleh, Executive Director of Catholic Climate Covenant, offers a special presentation, Our Common Home: Care for Creation, Care for the Poor.

See event details.

Pope Francis’s encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si, says that climate change is real and mainly “a result of human activity.” The problem is urgent: “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years.”

We must all change our day-to-day actions to live more sustainably: “Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage, and responsibility. Solving climate change means protecting the planet and vulnerable people, and we must hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor."

Faith can guide us. The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains—everything is, as it were, a caress of God.” The problems are big and urgent. But hope remains if we act in honesty and love. “Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home…. Truly, much can be done!”

Join us in Austin on October 20th to hear Dan Misleh speak about Pope Francis’s encyclical on ecology, resources for learning and action from Catholic Climate Covenant, and ways that we can join together in common effort to care for our common home.

                       When: 7:00-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 20, 2015

                       Where: University Catholic Center
                                     2010 University Ave.
                                     Austin, TX 78705

This program is sponsored by TXIPL along with EnviroMediaUniversity Catholic Center, St. Edward’s University Campus Ministry, St. Edward's Office of Sustainability, St. Edward's School of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and the Interfaith Environmental Network (IEN) of Austin. For more information, call 512-472-3903 or e-mail Yaira.

Ready to learn more and take action? These resources from Catholic Climate Covenant can help:

  • Encyclical toolkit, from Catholic Climate Covenant and Interfaith Power and Light

    "I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all." -Pope Francis


    Photo "Pope Francecso I" by Flickr User Jeffrey Bruno licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license.


Houston Event | More Bright Ideas In Energy Efficiency For Religious Facilities | October 1, 2015

More Bright Ideas In Energy Efficiency For Religious Facilities

When: Thursday, October 1 | 7:30 - 11:00 am
Where: Grace Presbyterian Church | Massey Tucker Hall
10221 Ella Lee Ln, Houston, Texas 77042

RSVP Today!

Join us for a second workshop in a series focusing on how smart energy practices in religious facilities can promote environmental stewardship, increase staff and congregant comfort and save scarce funds. This workshop will focus on practical application of the fundamentals of benchmarking, preventative maintenance, and financing energy efficiency projects.

  • Energy Benchmarking 101
  • Preventative Maintenance
  • Financing tools and resources 

7:30 - 8:00 - Breakfast / Networking
8:00 - 11:00 - Workshop
*Breakfast will be provided.


  • Jerry Lawson, National Manager, ENERGY STAR Small Business & Congregations Network, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Jim Brown, P.E., Principal, Energy Systems Associates
  • Colby May, CEM, President, LIT
  • Kristi Hardy, Energy Efficiency - Program Manager, CenterPoint Energy

*Parking is in the lot at the corner of Ella Lee and the tollway.

Learn more and RSVP for this free event today!

Houston Creation Care Fest

The 2015 Houston Creation Care Fest & Environmental Extravaganza on September 27, 2015 will feature presentations by experts on the environment to address the The State of Our World.

In addition to the talks provided by the speakers, there will be childrens' activities about nature for children 5 and older, as well as informational materials from local environmental non-profit organizations.

This is a wonderful opportunity for people of all faiths and ages to gather and learn about the world in which we live, the challenges we face, and what we can do in our own communities to be compassionate and active stewards. 

When? Sunday, September 27, 2015

Where? The University of St. Thomas, Robertson Hall

Schedule of Topics and Speakers

1 p.m. The State of the Air  | Professor Dan Cohan, Rice University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

1:45 p.m. The State of the Waters | Professor Hyun-Min, Texas Southern University, Department of Environmental Science and Technology

2:30 p.m. The State of the Land | Professor Maury Harris, University of St. Thomas, Department of Environmental Science and Studies

3:15 p.m. The State of the Plants | Professor Chris Gabler, University of Houston, Department of Biology and Biochemistry

4:00 p.m. The State of the Animals | Kathryn Hokamp and Ben Johnson, Rice University, students in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

*There are Metro bus stops nearby for lines 25, 56, and 82; parking is available in the lot located on Graustark near Alabama for $5, and bike parking is available in front of Robertson Hall. 

For more information about the event, please contact Lisa or call 713-372-7345.

You're Invited! Fort Worth IPL's "Pope and Potluck"

On September 24, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. central time, Pope Francis is scheduled to become the first pope to address a joint meeting of Congress. Following on the heels of Laudato Si, the pope's encyclical on ecology issued in June, this much-anticipated visit offers the opportunity for people to come together in community and explore how we can better care for God's creation and our neighbors.

On the evening of September 24, the day of the Pope’s Congressional address, Fort Worth Interfaith Power & Light invites you to a “Pope and Potluck” to reflect, discuss, and share good food. Mary Jo Kaska, PhD, Biblical Scholar, and Rita Cotterly, PhD, retired, will offer Catholic perspectives in response to the Pope’s address to Congress. People of all faiths are welcome to attend!

When: September 24, 6:00 PM

Where:  University Christian Church of Fort Worth, room 207

To ensure that we have adequate space, please RSVP to Sandra by September 23, 2015.


“We have forgotten that we ourselves are the dust of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.” – Pope Francis, Laudato Si’

Above photo of Pope Francis used courtesy of The Catholic Church of England and Wales via Flickr Creative Commons; potluck photo used courtesy of Texas Impact. 

A Teaching Resource for Yom Kippur and More: The Pope, Jewish Sages, & Climate Justice

We are delighted to offer a study guide to discuss climate justice in Jewish communities, just in time for Yom Kippur and Sukkot, holidays that invite us to focus on themes of repentance, corrective action, and our relationship with other people and God's creation.

Rabbi Daniel Swartz, spiritual leader of Temple Hesed of Scranton, PA, wrote this study guide, "Laudato Si and the Sages: Reflections on Climate Justice," which connects the Pope's encyclical on ecology with Jewish wisdom and teaching. It features selections from the encyclical paired with a variety of texts from the Jewish tradition, and includes a discussion guide and suggestions for ways to take action. Download the study guide here.

In Rabbi Swartz' own words of introduction:

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Shanah Tovah!  As you prepare to welcome 5776, I invite you to connect with one of the most notable faith events of the year – Pope Francis’s visit to the United States just after Yom Kippur, during which he will speak about his encyclical on climate change and justice, Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home.  At this time of year, as we reflect on how we have treated our fellow human beings and how we might better live up to God’s expectations of us, we have a special opportunity to examine our relationship with all of God’s creation – and the Pope’s encyclical provides us with an excellent way to do just that.

To that end, I’ve selected a number of excerpts from the encyclical and paired them with Jewish sources ranging from the Tanakh, to midrashim, to Heschel, to rabbis of today. Here at Temple Hesed in Scranton, PA, I will be using this text study, “Laudato Si and the Sages: Reflections on Climate Justice,” on Yom Kippur afternoon, and we have invited the press and other faith communities as well. Please use it however it might work best for you: at High Holy Day Services, at a multi-faith gathering, at a social action weekend etc.

The texts are presented in two formats. The first is a more complete four-page selection, designed for in-depth or multi-session discussions; it can be studied in a larger group setting, in hevruta, in small groups or in some combination. The second is a single page of texts, meant to serve as a ready-made one-hour program. In both formats, I’ve included questions on each topic highlighted by the texts, as well as some summary questions. 

I also hope this text study will inspire further action to combat climate change. To help with this, some “next steps” are presented at the end of each discussion guide. 

Many thanks to Rabbi Swartz for compiling the guide, and to him and our friends at Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light for sharing it! If you have questions about how to use this in your community, please email us.

Download the study guide here.


Above photo used courtesy of Chajm Guski via Flickr Creative Commons.