North Carolina churches help reduce energy use

Charlotte ObserverJune 1, 2012 

Imagine 20 years from now, in the year 2032. Instead of grassy lawns, people maintain edible landscapes where they grow food. Homes feature solar-electric systems and floors made of renewable bamboo. Rather than every household owning its vehicles, neighborhoods share cars. Bike trails and high-speed rail are common.

Richard Fireman, public policy coordinator for North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light, offered this vision at a presentation on climate change and energy to representatives of local houses of worship and other organizations. Fireman, 68, a retired emergency-room physician living in Mars Hill, N.C., spoke about reducing personal and congregational energy use; outreach to assist low-income households in weatherizing homes; solar power installation on congregational property; and public policy related to energy and climate change.

Personal and institutional habits would have to change, he said, but churches can play a prominent role, as they have with other social movements.

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