Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Alaska Interfaith Power and Light

Use it up.

Wear it out.

Make it do.

Or do without.

This mantra of the Yankee thrift ethic was a hallmark of our childhood, both in New England and Minnesota. We were not poor, but we learned to be careful, to not waste the bounty of God's gifts. This realization has turned us toward sharing with our faith community and with the larger society the insights of a way of life spent trying to be responsible stewards of the creation that God has placed into our care. Perhaps we can try to live in such a way that in our own life we leave minimal trace of our passing through this world.

This is the premise behind Alaska Interfaith Power & Light

Alaska Interfaith Power & Light is part of a nationwide effort, also known as the "Regeneration Project," to bring faith communities and religious organizations together to take actions aimed at reducing the impact that we Americans are having on the environment. We have been surprised and delighted by the savings resulting from our personal choices. In Fairbanks, Saint Matthew's Episcopal Church recently chose to accept the challenge, by signing the Covenant of Alaska Interfaith Power & Light, and made a beginning by switching out many of the light bulbs and a fixture in the church building from incandescent to more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. While it is too soon to be certain of the savings, there has been a marked improvement in the brightness of the new fixture and of the lights that have been installed. This increased brightness could be a metaphor for the lesson that the choices each of us makes with regard to the use and care of the creation have an impact upon our own lives and the lives of others. Also, we have begun a "Low Carbon Diet," a program developed by David Gershon, founder and CEO of Empowerment Institute. The program is intended to help individuals and families lose up to 5000 pounds of carbon emissions in a year. The group will be our "Team," and together we will explore many ways of reducing our impact on our environment, saving money and energy, and encouraging one another and others to live intentionally on the earth. Our group is comprised of members of Saint Matthew's Episcopal Church, but the program is one in which any group or individual can participate. There is a workbook that provides ideas and sources of vital information for any one who desires to contribute to a better, more sustainable future for our community.

Perhaps most importantly, the leaders of the congregation feel that in their actions they are setting an example for others of stewardship and responsibility toward the creation we have been given by God.

Oliver & Andrea Backlund are members of Saint Matthew's Episcopal Church, which is a member of Alaska Interfaith Power & Light. The Backlunds may be reached at

1 comment:

Dorothea said...

Of anecdotal interest: the headlining phrase was coined during the Great Depression.