On Tuesday, October 22nd Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions was recognized as a recipient of the Fairfax County Environmental Excellence Awards “For its exemplary efforts in bringing together people of all faith traditions to develop and advance informed climate solutions in Fairfax County.” Our sincerest gratitude to all of you that contributed to this wonderful recognition through your time, talent and financial support. Read about all the winners here.
FACS in the Community
This fall FACS has been all over Northern Virginia facilitating conversations and local action on climate change. FACS advocacy team members toured Discovery Elementary School in Arlington, VA to learn about its net-zero school and sustainability efforts. Read more about our Fairfax County Public School advocacy goals as part of our 2019-20 advocacy platform. FACS held a Day of Action jointly with Friends of Accotink Creek to remove trash from the creek. Faith communities from Northern Virginia joined together for this event. Additionally, FACS has been around the county discussing climate action with faith communities including Accotink Unitarian Universalist for a screening of Paris to Pittsburgh, Church of the Holy Comforter for our Faith and the Environment workshop, a sermon at Reston United Christian Parish, and an overview of FACS at Church of the Nativity. Learn more about programs we offer!
New FACS Board Members
FACS is excited to announce the appointment of four new board members. Their experience, enthusiasm, and voice will help propel Fairfax County forward.
Ani Fête Crews is the Director of Blessed Tomorrow, a coalition of diverse religious partners united as faithful stewards of creation. The program empowers faith leaders to lead and broaden climate engagement within faith communities. Ani has 15 years of experience in issue advocacy, coalition building, community outreach and leadership development in both the non-profit and government sectors. Ani lives in Vienna, VA with her husband and daughter!
Donald Craig recently relocated to the No.VA area from California. He is a member of Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC. He has been a long time community advocate around social justice and environmental issues in California and now in Virginia. Donald is currently active on boards with the NAACP, the Poor People’s Campaign as well as several other community groups. He strongly believes in making a positive difference.
Shyamali is an Indian immigrant, US Air Force veteran and community organizer who has been working on environmental and equity issues for many years. She serves as Outreach lead for several organizations including the Virginia Equal Rights Coalition and VAratifyERA and in 2019 was a candidate for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Shyamali was raised in the Hindu tradition and remains active in the Himalayan tradition of yoga and meditation. She knows that all change begins at the local level and promotes that in her TV program ‘Global to Local’. She has a Masters in Human Resource Management. Shyamali is a keen advocate for the intersectionality of climate solutions and social justice.
Laurie is a longtime member of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston, where she has served on the Green Sanctuary Committee and the Board. She is a child advocate attorney, representing neglected and abused children. She has long been involved in advocacy on environmental and social justice issues and was a candidate for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2019. She believes local government plays a vital role in addressing our climate crisis, and citizen advocacy is needed to promote climate action.
Fairfax to Zero Campaign
As the year comes to a close, we ask you consider the progress FACS has made in Fairfax County and donate to help us continue our vision in 2020. FACS’ 2020 Fairfax to Zero Campaign is now underway. Our goal is to raise $67,000 in order to accomplish FACS’ bold 2020 Fairfax to Zero goals. Goals such as: Establishing a goal of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Fairfax County by 2050, targeting 2030 for carbon neutrality for Fairfax County government and FCPS operations; Prioritize and implement high-impact, equitable strategies for reducing GHGs county-wide through the Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECA) which must provide a roadmap for achieving GHG targets through public reporting of GHG emissions; Reduce the waste stream in the county and the resulting GHGs by becoming a Zero Waste jurisdiction; Expand and preserve tree canopy across the county; Ensure that all county energy and climate plans prioritize equity and the well-being of all county residents, and more. See Campaign Overview for further exciting accomplishments.
Pope Francis, in his “Laudato si” asks; “what kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” We appreciate your gifts and support!
Save the Date!
FACS’ Annual Advocacy Kickoff Meeting and Workshop will be held on Friday, January 10th from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Plan to attend to go deep on our advocacy issues, prepare for taking action during the Virginia General Assembly and county advocacy, and brush up on your advocacy skills. More details coming soon!
Join FACS for a C-PACE Webinar! Financing building improvements and clean energy upgrades using Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) can help faith-based organizations and overcome upfront cost barriers and easily access capital that is paid for over time through savings on utility bills. C-PACE offers low interest rates, long terms to minimize payments, and a solid value proposition for mission-driven organizations that may have difficulty accessing more traditional financing. That’s a good deal not only for communities, but for local clean energy businesses, the regional economy, and our shared environment.
This webinar will offer an overview of C-PACE programs in the region, and successful examples of faith-based and non-profit organizations that have used this financing. Presenters will answer frequently asked questions these organizations may have about C-PACE.
Voting is one of the most important things you can do as an individual to act on climate change. Don’t forget to vote on November 5th! Learn more about candidates here. Thank you to everyone that participated, volunteered and asked questions about climate in the League of Women Voters’ candidate forums this fall, which FACS co-sponsored.
Environmental Expo: How YOU can Act on Climate Change
Supervisor Dan Storck invites you to participate in the 2nd Annual Mount Vernon District Environment Expo. This event will educate and inform local residents on environmental challenges that we face on a daily basis, including ones that are unique to the Mount Vernon area given our proximity to water and the many industrial facilities nearby. Attendees will leave the Expo with simple actions you can take to make an impact on climate change. Highlights include and Electric Vehicle Showcase, Exhibit Hall, Workshops and Film Screening.
Date: Saturday, November 16
Time: 8 AM – 12
Location: Walt Whitman High School
Beck Environmental Lecture
In his travelogue of our near future, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, David Wallace-Wells brings into stark relief the climate troubles that await—food shortages, refugee emergencies, and other crises that will reshape the globe. But the world will be remade by global warming in more profound ways as well, transforming our politics, our culture, our relationship to technology, and our sense of history. Learn how it will be all-encompassing, shaping and distorting nearly every aspect of human life as it is lived today. And yet Wallace-Wells offers hope that because we engineered this problem, we must be able to engineer an escape from it. More Event Information!
This fall, through a partnership between Interfaith Power & Light (MD.DC.NoVA), Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, and Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, pastors, rabbis, imams, and other clergy in congregations across the region will be raising up Creation care and climate change as part of their sermons at weekly services and through other learning programs. Throughout Virginia, congregations will be inviting their communities to better care for Creation: at home, in our congregations, in our local governments, and around the world.
Sign up at ipldmv.org/climatepulpits to commit your congregation to raising up climate during the weekend of November 15-17, or any weekend this fall. You are invited to participate in a way that best fits your community. This could include inviting a guest speaker, hosting a coffee hour discussion, or organizing a workshop. Email email@example.com with questions.
Plastic Free October
This month congregations shared what they’ve learned about how to go plastic free in their place of worship. From recycling plastic bags into a Trex Bench, installing two new dishwasher to cut down on plastic plates and making faith summer camps plastic free; we’ve learned about many actions and steps to take! We applaud congregations spearheading this work. Is your congregation ready to become plastic free? If so, FACS would love to help! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to meet with a FACS Ambassador.
Faith Spotlight: How to Hold a Zero-Waste Event
There is no “AWAY” – everything ends up somewhere, often in undesirable places. Pope Francis has referred to what he calls the “throwaway culture”, of which our overuse of single-use products plays a role. He elicits an unflattering image when he describes the earth, “our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” He challenges us to change this culture. Empowered by that challenge, the St. John Neumann Care for Our Common Home Ministry wanted to demonstrate to our parishioners that events at the parish could be “waste free.”
Rather than starting small and incrementally, we looked for an occasion to make a big impression and impact. An opportunity presented itself in the spring of 2019 when our parish hosted the Annual LiveJesus gathering attended by over 700 participants from the mid-Atlantic region. The event included two social times with food. We jumped in with both feet picturing a row of lonely, empty trash bins at the end of the event.
The Cool Congregations Challenge, is an annual national contest to recognize “Cool Congregations” that are becoming energy efficient and sustainable role models within their communities. The contest is brought to you by Interfaith Power & Light, a nonprofit organization working to inspire and support a religious response to global warming. Get ready to enter the Challenge! A winner will be selected in each category and will be awarded $1000. Entries are due December 15. Read more here.
There are five entry categories:
Energy Saver: Lighting, Insulation, Windows & Doors, Heating & Cooling Systems
Renewable Role Model: Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Solar Water Heating
Sacred Grounds: Native landscaping, Organic Gardening, Water Conservation, Bike Racks, Wildlife Habitats, Recycling & Composting
Community Inspiration: Inspiring Congregants to Reduce at Home, Helping Communities Transition from Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy, Helping Communities Prepare for the Impacts of Climate Change