EAT Climate Manual Debut!!

Saturday, April 20, 2013, The Interfaith Environmental Network of Austin, Texas Interfaith Power and Light, and invite you to join in celebrating the launch of Becoming Carbon Positive -- the world's first community-drafted climate action manual for houses of worship.

WHEN: 12:00 noon to 12:30pm, Sat. 4/20/13, Stage 2 -- Austin Earth Day Festival

Becoming Carbon Positive, the world’s first community-drafted “how to manual” for religious congregations looking to reduce their contributions to the climate problem, expounds on the rationale for action from numerous faith and spiritual perspectives, offers congregations a free climate assessment and action toolkit, provides a host of deeper religious, scientific, and educational resources, and includes a guide for forming, leading and growing congregational engagement. Becoming Carbon Positive was written over a 14 month period by collective input from the Interfaith Environmental Network of Austin’s Energy Action Team. Here is the foreword to the Becoming Carbon Positive, written by Reverend Tom Vandestadt, pastor, Congregational Church of Austin, UCC, and co-chair, Interfaith Environmental Network of Austin.


Authentic spiritual journeys involve facing the pain of our brokenness, entering bravely into it, taking responsibility for healing and repairing it, and drawing on our spiritual tradition’s wisdom and power to forge ahead. We’re on a journey together right now, both individually and collectively. In the words of this manual, it’s a “journey to heal the damage done to the environment and human-kind the world over.” This “journey to heal” is the defining characteristic of our time. It’s a multi-faceted one that involves the transformation of every dimension of our humanity—the psychological, social, political, economic, technological, and cultural. But most profoundly, this journey is a spiritual one in which the human soul will further awaken to its proper place and role within the community we call Earth. In this journey, we’ll face the pain of our troubled and destructive relationship with Earth, and we’ll draw on spiritual wisdom and power to realize our potential for a more intimate and life-sustaining relationship with Earth.

Perhaps the most important words in this manual are “each one of us can make a difference in the world by making choices….” Each and every one of us, if we choose to do so, can commit ourselves to the “journey to heal the damage done.” This manual provides us with the practical knowledge we need to change how we live in ways that bring us into deeper harmony with our planetary home. The future of human life on Earth depends upon the choices we make and how we change our lives. There’s no avoiding that fact. We cannot look for religious palliatives to ease our discomfort, hope God will intervene and rescue us from ourselves, or resign ourselves to despair and give up. We must face reality, make choices, and change—all the while drawing on our religious and spiritual traditions to guide and sustain us.

We are not separate from our planetary home, Earth. We breathe Earth’s air into our lungs, our muscles feed off its oxygen in the blood that flows through our veins, and all that passes through us comes from sunlight, soil, and water. We are of the Earth, and its beauty and complexity reveal deeper truths about us, and mysteries that inspire words like sacred and holy and leave us in awe. May we awaken to the ways we harm that which sustains us, and choose the journey to “heal the damage done.” May our grandchildren and their children look back upon us with love and gratitude for the choice we have made. May this manual guide us as we journey together.

Rev. Tom VandeStadt

Pastor, Congregational Church of Austin, An Open and Affirming Church of the United Church of Christ 
and co-Chair, Interfaith Environmental Network

January 27, 2013


Reverend Tom Vandestadt (left) with members of his congregation.

  links: Interfaith Environmental Network of Austin, Texas Interfaith Power and Light, and

See you at Austin's Earth Day Fest, 2013!

© 2013 Interfaith Environmental Network