Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions unites people of faith to develop local solutions to the climate crisis. We pursue four purposes in our work:
- sound an ethical and spiritual call to address climate change;
- encourage moral climate policies from a nonpartisan perspective;
- enable congregations to do good works that protect our planet and its people;
- empower congregations to become champions of change.
We work primarily on the local level, and occasionally on the state level, where we can have the greatest impact.
We work with people of faith. Faithful voices are valuable in the conversation on climate change, and faith-based action draws on a deep well of love for each other and the planet we share.
Our network includes Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Hindu, Unitarian Universalist, Society of Friends, and other traditions. Our work is done in Northern Virginia, with a primary policy focus on Fairfax County, the most populous jurisdiction in Virginia.
The following is a list of Fairfax to Zero initiatives that have been approved in the 2020 budget of the Board of Supervisors. FACS has been working hard to advocate for these initiatives and are proud and excited to see this follow through:
- An increase in the budget for the Environmental Improvement Program
- Funding for LED Streetlight Conversion
- Funding for EV charging station infrastructure
- Fairfax county’s CFO Joe Mondoro, presented his recommendation for an Office of Energy and Environment, with additional staffing, bringing the total number of staff to seven (up from 3!)
- There will be an amendment to the Capital Improvement Plan, which will include Chantilly High School, Thomas Jefferson High School and Mason Crest Elementary as three specific sites for solar projects in 2019!
- The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors also approved the Fairfax Green Initiatives Board Matter, which lays out a comprehensive series of actions and follow up the county should take related to climate change – and refers to FACS among several of our partner local environmental partner organizations.
- The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance to authorize Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy on March 19, 2019. This action will provide critical financing to supercharge the inclusion of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in eligible buildings, including houses of worship, thereby supporting the county’s goals to repurpose and revitalize underutilized buildings.
- The Fairfax Board of Supervisors adopted its first ever County Operations Energy Strategy, allocating $4.5 million to begin implementing the plan.
The Fairfax School Board committed to a feasibility report on solar for public schools, unanimously supported a resolution on climate change, and is working with the Board of Supervisors on a joint energy legislative package for Richmond.
We sponsored events and opportunities for our network, including one focused on Zero Waste, Plastic Free Fairfax, and our first Sustainability Awards recognition program.
We hosted the Virginia Climate Crisis Forum with Virginia’s two Senatorial candidates, putting together their views on solving climate change before the public. Over 400 people from across Northern Virginia were in attendance.
In February, FACS organized over 60 people in Fairfax County to call for clean energy at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisor’s meeting. The group dressed in red and called on the creation of a Fairfax County climate and energy office to help residents and businesses go green.
- FACS reorganized its advocacy and outreach to elected leaders in Fairfax County by forming advocacy teams in each Fairfax County Board of Supervisor’s District / School Board Member’s District, enabling FACS to more effectively and consistently communicate the faith communities’ concern for our shared environment and climate change.
Nearly 200 people attended FACS’ “Dialogue on Virginia’s Energy Future” with then Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Ralph Northam. FACS also held a webinar with Generra Peck, then-Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Gillespie’s Policy Director.
- The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, urged by FACS, publicly committed to tackling climate change. Fairfax County joined the National Mayors Climate Action Agenda in June, committing to cutting countywide greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution consistent with the Paris Climate Accords – the first county to join more than 300 majors and governors to make this commitment. The Board of Supervisors also adopted its 10-year Environmental Vision, including a section on climate change for the first time.
- Online dashboards now show publicly the energy use of every County and school building.
- An Earth Day event to encourage Virginia Gov. McAuliffe to act on sensible limits on carbon pollution is held. It is the largest event of its kind in the Commonwealth.
- As a result of growing awareness and enthusiasm, Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions continues to grow rapidly.
- A new program, the Green Team Advisory Program, is launched to extend and systematize support to congregations.
- Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions wins victory in a campaign to secure the public release of data on how much energy Fairfax County uses in its buildings. Thanks to the Faith Alliance’s work, a public-facing website is released.
- Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions collaborates with partners to hold Fairfax County Public Schools accountable in its plan to install solar panels on County schools.
- An Earth Day event draws 120 people. Sharon Bulova, Chair of Fairfax County Supervisors, is one of the speakers. A successful global music concert emphasizes that climate change is a global issue.
- Supported by enthusiastic public interest, the Community Council doubles in size from the previous year.
- Congregations work to become more sustainable through actions including building community gardens, exploring solar, and holding climate change education events.
- The first Earth Day community event is held, drawing 80 people and U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly.
- The Community Council is established.
- Outreach to Fairfax County and state officials begins.
- A small group of passionate people of faith gathers in a church basement in Oakton to reflect on a faithful response to the climate crisis. Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions is born of their commitment to change.