Interfaith Power & Light, plus Ecuadorian indigenous communities convince court to close copper mine, and it’s International Beaver Day!
Interfaith Power & Light, Ecuadorian Indigenous Communities Convince Court to Close Copper Mine, International Beaver Day!
INTERFAITH POWER & LIGHT
Interfaith Power & Light effort began in 1998 BY the Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham, along with Episcopal Power & Light and the support of the Grace Cathedral, in San Francisco, CA, and a unique coalition of Episcopal churches aggregated to purchase renewable energy. In 2000, this Episcopal effort broadened its focus, brought in other faith partners, and California Interfaith Power & Light was born.
California IPL developed a successful organizational model that engaged hundreds of congregations, educated thousands of people of faith about the moral and ethical mandate to address global warming, and helped pass California’s landmark climate and clean energy laws. Building on California’s success, this model has now been adopted by 40 state affiliates, and IPL is working to establish Interfaith Power & Light programs in every state.
IPL has brought widespread attention to the link between religious faith and the environment. Rev. Bingham is one of the first faith leaders to fully recognize global warming as a core moral issue. She has mobilized thousands of religious people to put their faith into action through energy stewardship. Why does Interfaith Power and Light matter to us? Its values. Including, “Because we embrace faith and spirituality, we are grounded in the interconnectedness of the sacred, natural world, and one another,” and, “Because we embrace justice, we act with inclusion and respect, working in solidarity with vulnerable and marginalized communities.” To get to know the rest of IPL’s five Values, check out the link in the Deeper Dive Section of this story at theclimate.org/episodes, or go to interfaithpowerandlight.org/about.
ECUADORIAN COURT CLOSES COPPER MINE PROJECT—WIN FOR LOCAL INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES!
After months of hearings and delays, the Imbabura Provincial Court in Ecuador issued a surprise ruling last week in the case brought by local communities in Ecuador’s Intag Valley against the large-scale Llurimagua copper mining project. The court ruled that communities’ constitutional right to consultation about the project had been violated, as had the rights of nature. As a result, the court revoked the Ecuadorian-owned ENAMI EP and Chilean-owned CODELCO’s license for the Llurimagua mining project and called for an immediate stop to all work on the project.
Gustavo Redin, a lawyer with CEDENMA representing the local communities who brought the case, said, “This is an amazing win for the communities of Intag. They have been leading the resistance against large-scale mining projects for years, and this is a sentence that is for the people and for nature. It’s a win for everybody, and it demonstrates that if we want to save really amazing places, like Intag, we can do it.”
Why does this victory in Ecuador matter to all of us? The cloud forests of Intag Valley are in the Intag-Toisan Key Biodiversity Area, an area that is critical to the planet’s overall health and to the persistence of biodiversity on Earth. Dozens of threatened species live in the mining concession–including some species that cannot be found anywhere else. The longnose harlequin toad, which was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 2016, lives in the mining concession. Intag Valley is also home to the critically endangered brown-headed spider monkey, the critically endangered black-and-chestnut eagle, the vulnerable Andean bear, and many species of rare orchids, in addition to imperiled amphibians.
INTERNATIONAL BEAVER DAY!
It’s International Beaver Day! The day was created in memory of Dorothy Richards, known far and wide as “Beaver Woman”. That’s because she studied beavers at Beaversprite Sanctuary in New York’s Adirondack Mountains for fifty years. When she died in 1985, friends and professional associates of hers created a nonprofit, Friends of Beaversprite to carry on her educational efforts. As part of that educational process, they chose to create International Beaver Day, and chose April 7–Richards’ birthday–on which to celebrate it. The inaugural International Beaver Day took place in 2009.
Historically, beavers have been hunted for their fur and meat. Beaver pelts have been a major driver of the fur trade. Before protections began in the 19th and early 20th centuries, overhunting had nearly exterminated the species.Why do beavers matter to us? The beaver works as an ecosystem engineer and keystone species. Its activities can have a great impact on the landscape and biodiversity of an area. Aside from humans, no other animal appears to do more to shape its environment. When building dams, beavers alter the paths of streams and rivers allowing for the creation of extensive wetland habitats. In one study, beavers were associated with large increases in open-water areas. When beavers returned to an area, 160% more open-water was available during droughts than in previous years when they were absent.