Grantee Feature: New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light
New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light
(NMIPL) works for climate justice by mobilizing faith communities, faith leaders, and people of faith and conscience to reduce the causes and consequences of climate change through inspiration, education, outreach, implementation of sustainable practices, and advocating for effective policies. Working in solidarity with local faith communities, our unique voice reaches across divides and encourages prophetic leadership and spiritual activism in urban and rural communities. Our core belief is that active care of the natural world and communities is integral to spiritual life and social justice.
The diverse communities and ecologies that are a hallmark of New Mexico inspire and inform the work of NMIPL. The varying needs, desires and goals expressed by communities across the state guide our efforts to communicate in meaningful ways. Similarly, our rich lands offer avenues to redress environmental damage, mitigate environmental threats, and fully utilize our renewable resources. This diversity shapes our work as we strive to unite our communities through the moral and ethical obligation that all faith traditions share to act as stewards of crea-tion.
NMIPL’s stewardship of natural resources, a McCune Foundation priority, takes many forms. We help educate our member faith communities about critical environmental issues and climate justice work, encourage adoption of renewable energy and energy efficient behaviors, and provide resources to support their advocacy efforts locally and statewide. In addition, we leverage our successful alliances with faith communities and civic groups to amplify our effectiveness in advocating for changes such as the state Energy Transition Act, community solar, and federal and state methane regulations. Similarly, networking with partners as diverse as rural electric cooperatives, churches, environmental organizations, and immigration groups keeps us informed about emergent issues and provides us with opportunities to learn from each other and support each others’ programs and advocacy efforts.
Working statewide, NMIPL provides information, advice and tools for houses of worship to find financing for improving energy efficiency and installing solar systems. Annually, we sponsor or assist in sponsoring more than 50 inspirational or educational presentations or events around the state that address various aspects of climate justice - helping raise awareness of the interrelated concerns of poverty, immigration, water, generational justice and climate system change. We also help local people address their particular concerns, for example, by supporting faith leaders and community members in the Permian Basin around Carlsbad and Hobbs address the health and environmental concerns raised by local oil and gas production as well as the proposed nuclear waste storage. Another example is the Navajo Solar Project. This project assists both Gallup Solar and Lybrook Community Ministries with their solar installation job training programs. These programs also provide free, small solar systems for Navajo elders lacking access to electricity.
NMIPL’s expanded work in rural areas has been greatly facilitated by networking with other values-based groups with an established local presence. We have seen the power of creating field experiences for local communities to provide first-hand experience of environmental threats such as, for example, methane leaks. We are also pursuing new opportunities to work more closely with young adults, as illustrated by sponsorship of a young adult panel on climate change. NMIPL believes that much of our success comes from our interspiritual perspective that honors the dignity of each person and community while bringing people of various faith traditions together to care for Our Common Home.