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Ohio Congregations Put Faith into Action Against Climate Change

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 By Mary KuhlmanContact
September 27, 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio - While they may not share the same religious background, congregations from across Ohio are putting their faith into action to combat climate change. Over 200 faith communities have joined Ohio Interfaith Power and Light to help promote energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.

Director and board chair Greg Hitzhusen says climate change is an issue of moral concern and basic stewardship.

"All faiths recognize that human beings are called to be good stewards of the creation that we've been given, and also to have concern for future generations, for the kind of world we are going to leave our children."

Hitzhusen says there is also a social justice concern, since weather events intensified by climate change have a tremendous effect on the poor and vulnerable, as was seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Hitzhusen says congregations in Ohio have a lot to gain by focusing on energy efficiency. He points out that there is as much square footage of houses of worship in the United States as there are of medical facilities. And he adds that those buildings are some of the least efficient buildings in the country.

"All you have to do is think of all the old leaky churches to recognize why that would be true. In most cases not a lot has been done, and a lot of the money that we're spending on our energy is kind of going out the windows, quite literally."

The Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club is partnering with Ohio Interfaith Power and Light to spread the word on energy conservation.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Miller says it goes to show how climate change is an issue that affects people from all walks of life.

"The faith communities and what they are doing in their own congregations is a powerful example of the strength of energy efficiency and why protecting the environment should concern all of us."

Ohio Interfaith Power and Light has programs to help congregations conduct energy audits and provide opportunities to network and connect with green volunteers, services, and educational resources.

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