IPL Educates Faithful on Connection Between Food and Climate Change

Guest Blog | March 22, 2011 | Climate Change

This guest post was written by Andrée Duggan of Interfaith Power & Light.

community-gardenA new program, Cool Harvest, run by Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) hopes to build on successful faith & food programs to address climate change. Working in 38 states with around 10,000 congregations, IPL is attempting to rally the nation’s faithful to address global warming as a moral issue.

Historically, faith communities have worked to feed the less fortunate through food pantries, soup kitchens, and other programs to combat hunger. Recently, that work has broadened to include planting community gardens, distributing culled produce, and hosting local farm stands and farmers’ markets.

Worldwide, about one-fifth of global warming pollution comes from the food industry. That’s more than from all transportation combined. The Cool Harvest program supports congregations across the country interested in educating communities about this issue by facilitating dialog and action. “When we think about global warming, we think about transportation, we think about how we heat our houses, but in fact, how we eat has just as big an impact on climate change,” said author Michael Pollan, in the film Nourish.

Congregations using Cool Harvest will host screenings of Nourish with related discussions, “cool potlucks”, and will learn about Farm Bill advocacy. “Ideally, our food system should reflect American values, and I don’t think most of us are aware that we might be causing harm to Creation and the climate by the food choices we make. Methods of farming that are good for the planet are also good for your health and community,” said the Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham, founder of Interfaith Power & Light.

Some of the suggestions from the program include consuming less meat and dairy, eating more locally sourced organic produce, choosing fish wisely, avoiding heavily processed and packaged foods, and reducing waste.

coolharvestsm Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has worked with IPL chapters in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia on energy efficiency and coal advocacy campaigns. Visit www.coolharvest.org to learn more about the Cool Harvest program.

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