By Matt Russell, Mary Swalla Holmes & Irene DeMaris

We know the solutions to climate change are also the pathway to hope and abundance. Iowans of faith and conscience are investing in a future sustained by the gifts of creation and powered by clean energy.

As we approach the end of 2020, this is the time of year so many organizations are reaching out to supporters to invite them to contribute to the work ahead. We too are inviting our network of environmental justice advocates to invest in bold and just solutions to the climate crisis. This year we are all learning how to live, work, and play in new, creative ways. We are applying these lessons to our annual appeal. We’re reaching out with some mailed letters, using our website and this blog, relying on social media, and welcoming all gifts at whatever level reflects one’s own unique circumstances.

In this time of COVID-19, we hold you and your loved ones in prayer. The pandemic has demanded that we collectively re-evaluate how we think about our day-to-day lives, and while it affects everyone, not everyone has been impacted equally. As an environmental crisis, the coronavirus reminds us that we are profoundly part of the natural world. This global pandemic makes clear the importance of the connections among the movements for economic, racial, and environmental justice. “We are in this together.” 

As we wind down the elections and leaders prepare to govern, the need has never been greater for faith-based solutions to bring Iowans together. Your support empowers people to help solve the climate crisis and change the politics of environmental justice. This is the work we do. Together, we’re changing the world.

Alexandra Lund, a junior at Dordt University, participated in 2020 Called to Climate Action, our program that helps young Iowans make the connection between their faith and a calling to environmental justice. In an editorial piece printed in the Des Moines Register in September, she sums up what it means to identify as someone called to climate action.

“I started the summer introducing my work at Iowa Interfaith Power & Light with the phrase, ‘It’s not really my thing but…’ However, climate action is my thing, not because of a degree or career, but because of my calling as a Christian and as a future doctor: Love your neighbor. In climate action, we all have the opportunity to use our unique skills and passions to not just avoid disaster but create a safer home.”

Last fall Nathan Anderson joined Faith Farms and Climate. We set up an interview between him and a farm journalist. Afterwards, he thanked us for connecting him, but he cautioned, “I’m fine talking about climate action on my farm, but I don’t want to be singled out by my neighbors as the climate change guy.” As we invite farmers like Nathan into church halls and basements, Iowa farmers are developing their own vision for how they can help solve the climate crisis: Climate change is a problem. Farmers solve problems. When Iowa farmers lead, they can deliver solutions to the climate crisis. They are changing the politics of climate action with their vision, leadership, and faithfulness as farmers. In April, Nathan shared his vision for how Iowa farmers can help solve the climate crisis in People Magazine and on the front page of the Des Moines Register. With the help of Faith Farms and Climate, Nathan has confidently become “the climate change guy”.

Your support empowers us to advance bi-partisan solutions. We advance environmental justice leadership, especially climate action, working closely with Iowa’s denominational leaders.

“Iowa IPL creates opportunities for faith leaders to work together to advance clean energy policies at the Iowa Capitol and across the state in cities and counties. The Iowa Conference United Church of Christ is proud to be a long-term supporter of Iowa IPL’s faithful work and looks forward to continued partnership,” says Reverend Brigit Stevens, Executive Conference Minister, The Iowa Conference of the United Church of Christ.

For example, in June, a special interest group petitioned the Federal Electric Regulatory Commission to dramatically undermine net metering across the country. We delivered a letter from denominational leaders asking Governor Reynolds to oppose this petition. The Governor asked FERC not to take it up, FERC didn’t, and Iowa’s 2020 renewable energy law is being implemented. Many individual Iowans and organizations helped pass this bi-partisan effort to support individuals, small businesses, farms, houses of worship, schools, and communities when they install solar systems.

All the challenges of 2020 are an invitation to lean into and draw strength from our faith and conscience. And with that strength, we take effective, hopeful action. Please join us today in continuing your support by making a financial gift. Your support empowers Iowans of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on the climate crisis. Together we are transforming our communities, our state, our country, and our world.