Leave it to the Episcopals! Plus climate community update on Blacks in Green. Biden approves Rhode Island offshore turbine wind farm, and climate hero, Pavan Sukhdev.
Leave It To The Episcopals! Climate Champs–Blacks In Green & Pavan Sukhdev, Biden Approves R.I. Offshore Wind Farm
LEAVE IT TO THE EPISCOPALS!
According to Vanessa Perkins, director of the Community Charging Initiative, “The Episcopals have been awesome!” She’s referring to the tendency of Episcopal churches in her hometown of Chicago to work with her group in getting EV chargers installed in privately held-but-publicly-available parking spaces at some of their churches.
The Episcopalian Church has a particular motivation to cooperate. It’s called “Creation Care” and it’s that faith’s commitment to stewardship of the Earth. Trigger warning: If you’re an atheist, the following language might make you uncomfortable.
The creation care covenant is this: “In Jesus, God so loved the whole world. We follow Jesus, so we love the world God loves. Concerned about the global climate emergency, drawing from a range of approaches for our diverse contexts, we commit to form and restore loving, liberating, life-giving relationships with all of Creation. And it’s based on three tenets:
LOVING FORMATION For God’s sake, we will grow our love for the Earth and all of life through preaching, teaching, storytelling, and prayer.
LIBERATING ADVOCACY For God’s sake, standing alongside marginalized, vulnerable peoples, we will advocate and act to repair Creation and seek the liberation and flourishing of all people.
LIFE-GIVING CONSERVATION For God’s sake, we will adopt practical ways of reducing our climate impact and living more humbly and gently on Earth as individuals, households, congregations, institutions, and dioceses.
Individuals, congregations/ministries/communities, dioceses, and Church-wide leaders can use the grid on the next two pages to guide engagement with the Covenant for Care of Creation and its commitment to Loving Formation, Liberating Advocacy and Life-Giving Conservation.
CLIMATE COMMUNITY CHAMP UPDATE, BLACKS IN GREEN
Chicago-based Blacks in Green made news recently when it purchased “Emmett Till” house, with the intention of putting an Electric Vehicle charger in its parking lot. Said BiG’s founder, Naomi Davis, When you’re talking about the Till house, you’re talking about enterprise.”
She started Blacks in Green to address the problem of air pollution in Black communities. Getting EV chargers into BIPOC neighborhoods is part of the group’s long term plan to address environmental justice. Previously, the group supported a campaign to promote natural gas alternatives rather than commit billions of dollars in rate payers’ money to refurbish Chi-town’s aging natural gas pipe infrastructure.
The group also championed Illinois’s new climate bill. It not only provides subsidies to buy EVs, it also sets targets for the state to wean off coal and natural gas. It also focuses on those communities most affected by air pollution, largely communities of color.
A recent study by the Census Bureau’s Energy Department revealed the breadth of the disparity in Chicago. Of 245 publicly available EV chargers installed in the Windy City, 180 are in predominantly white neighborhoods (73%), 16 are in mostly Black neighborhoods (6.5%) and only 13 in those heavily LatinX (5%). 36 EVs were placed in mixed-race neighborhoods.
For some, it’s a chicken or egg thing. Does the presence of EVs in a community spur EV charger installations, or is it the other way around. Most experts side with the latter argument. That’s why BiG is partnering with the Community Charging Initiative to secure a $5,000 grant from the Global Warming Mitigation Project to cover the cost of installation for the EV charger at the Emmett Till House.
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION APPROVES RHODE ISLAND OFFSHORE WIND FARM
You know who’s kicking American’s butt on the offshore wind turbine tip? Europe, that’s who. There are over 5,000 already deployed off European shores. America’s got seven. Seven. Two off the coast of Virginia, and five off Rhode Island’s coastline.
In a step to close that gap, the Biden administration recently approved construction of twelve wind turbines in federal waters between Block Island, Rhode Island and the eastern tip of New York’s Long Island. It’s called the South Fork Wind project, and when fully operational, it’s forecast to generate 130 megawatts. That’s enough to supply electricity to 70,000 homes annually.
The South Fork Wind project is one of 17 wind farms the Biden Administration hopes to review and approve before 2025. An earlier project, the Vineyard Wind project, off Massachusetts’s Martha’s Vineyard, broke ground earlier this month. The American energy company Eversource teamed up with the Danish energy giant Orsted on South Fork. They still need to obtain permits from the EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers local regulators before beginning construction.
Why does this matter to us? In the words of New York Representative Kathleen Rice, “The offshore wind industry will create thousands of union jobs, reduce air pollution, and combat climate change—the greatest existential threat facing our communities on Long Island.” And to that I would add, “our communities all over the planet.”
CLIMATE HERO, PAVAN SUKHDEV
I told you we were gonna talk about Pavan Sukhdev. Earlier we highlighted the achievements of his 2020, co-Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement winner, Gretchen Daily. Now it’s time for Sukhdev’s moment on The Climate Daily.
Pavan Sukhdev is an Indian environmental economist whose field of studies include green economy and international finance. He believes recognizing natural capital is the way to correct the current development model that destroys what is our most important asset: ecological infrastructure.
He was head of UNEP‘s Green Economy Initiative, a major UN project suite to demonstrate that greening of economies is a new engine for growing wealth and reducing persistent poverty.
Sukhdev is the Co-founder and former Chair of Conservation Action Trust, an Indian NGO dedicated to achieving ecological sustainability for India by originating and proving model conservation projects, by educating and lobbying decision-makers and the public about the importance of forests for our water and food security, and when all else fails, through public interest litigation.
And he’s the author of two major works in environmental economics:
- Corporation 2020: Transforming Business For Tomorrow’s World. In it, Sukhdev describes four changes in micro-policy and regulation which can rapidly transform today’s corporation to deliver tomorrow’s green and equitable “economy of permanence”.
- Co-author of TEEB, “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Ecological and Economic Foundations.”
Why does Pavan Sukhdev matter to us? Because of His Years of work in sustainability and making visible the invisible economics of Nature. Also, his TED Talk on How to Build a Greener, More Circular Economy is outstanding, if underviewed. Click on the links in the Deeper Dive section of this story at theclimate.org/episodes to spend fifteen minutes inside the mind of Pavan Sukhdev.