Presbyterian Climate Advocates

Helping individuals and congregations advocate for creation
Upcoming classes

We’ve all seen the news…

logo…the storms, the wildfires, the droughts. We know that continuing our present course will diminish human life. For the sake of the poor, for future generations, and for nature itself, society must become carbon neutral. The change is large, and it can be done.

Presbyterian Climate Advocates are a small group of church leaders who believe that, with God’s help, we can forge a new future. We advocate for a carbon fee and dividend plan to help drive the economy to renewable alternatives. We seek to live sustainably ourselves, and we help congregations and families conserve energy. And we invite others to act with us.

We offer four-week on-line courses for individuals and groups called Faith and the Climate Crisis. For more information, go to Upcoming Online Classes.


Below on this page we have invited class participants to contribute their thoughts, prayers, and creative spirits to a class climate blog. Please enjoy thoughtfully!

Climate Blog: Meditation on Two Songs by Sara Thomsen

Jean Marie Ballard wrote this in response to Ida King’s lovely painting (below):

This is a lovely picture. Reminds me of a song I first heard when on sabbatical at Springbank Retreat Center in S.C.
Canticle of the Feathered Ones by Sara Thomsen.

And Sara has another song entitled Somewhere to Begin. For me, this song tells me that when the realities of life (i. e. Climate Change) are overwhelming to so many people, we can begin to address by starting with a small step. Small though it is, it may be the action that starts the snowball rolling down a hill, getting larger and larger, with the small steps that are taken along the way.

Climate Blog: Work is needed now by us!

Ida King shared this painting that she did some time ago. It came to mind while she was preparing for our sessions.

“I miss the bees, butterflies, and small animals that I’ve had my breakfast with in my backyard over the years.  Fewer and fewer every year.  We haven’t kept the balances as God planned.  Work is needed now by us.  Glad to be starting with everyone!”        Ida King

Westminster Presbyterian in Dubuque’s Outdoor Lighting Improvement


Upgrade older parking lot and exterior light fixtures to LED lighting fixtures. This is a quick, uncomplicated project to reduce lighting energy requirements by at least 70% while it also reduces light pollution and detrimental insect attraction.

Westminster Presbyterian Church in Dubuque, Iowa, has two separate parking lots with wide two-way driveways and about 100 parking spaces. The parking areas were illuminated by 8 incandescent light fixtures mounted on four poles that were installed 20 years ago. In addition, two lights were mounted on the building to light the front and rear entrances. In 2019, the annual cost for the parking lot lighting alone was about $1200 – about 10 percent of the total electrical utility expense.

In 2019, the eight incandescent lights on four poles were replaced with four 143-watt, 15,000-lumen LED fixtures fitted with optical lenses that more evenly distribute light over the parking lot and reduce the light projected at neighbors. The two building lights were replaced with 9,000-lumen LED lights. The total installed cost was just under $4000. The lights have 5-year warranties and are rated at a lumen loss of around 10% after 50,000 hours.

The replacement was simple. The old fixtures were removed from the poles and building and the new fixtures were connected to existing wires and remounted. The parking lot lights are on a separate meter. We can directly verify that, with the $600 rebate from the electrical utility and subsequent electrical cost increases, the payback is under three years.


  • The photo shows the installer moving into position to remove two old fixtures (they appear just above the lift boom) that were on top of each pole.
  • All six lights are on timers that turn on at dusk and turn off at midnight. This has worked well for us for decades.
  • Motion sensors for each light were an available option. Although this could have reduced electrical use further and provided a security alert, our supplier was concerned about the more frequent cycling reducing LED and control life. Check this feature out. It seems likely that concern about reduced life may be lower after two additional years of technology advances.
  • LED parking area lights are equipped with engineered optical lenses that control light much more evenly and efficiently than the previous bulb lights did with their metal reflectors. Consequently, light is directed only downward and to where it is wanted.
  • Replacement of the lights avoided costly servicing to replace bulbs every 5 years. Also, after 20 years, the electronic ballasts were beginning to fail.
  • Light pollution is an increasing concern, especially because it attracts and confuses insects and detrimentally affects their life. A study by the University of Bristol (UK) confirms the expectation that LED lights attract fewer insects because LED lights have lower levels of insect-attracting ultraviolet light compared to incandescent and fluorescent lights.

Upgrading parking lot lighting was a simple, quick, and cost-effective project for Westminster-Dubuque. Most churches probably have the same potential for savings while getting improved lighting.

Doug Cheever

January, 2022



Climate Blog — Coral

Leslie Lamphear, a Climate Advocate from First Presbyterian Church in Dayton, New Jersey, wrote this reflection after watching Chasing Coral, sampling for microplastics on a nearby beach, and hearing that 14% of our coral reefs were destroyed in 11 years due to climate change.


We eat.

We drink.

We drive.

We covet.

We consume.

We heat.

We cool.

We ship.

We break.

We trash.

We pollute.

We ignore.

We distract.

We deny.


We fly.

We vacation.

We swim.







We look.

We see.

We hear.

We observe.

We measure.

We photograph.

We document.

We report.

We chase.

We yell.

We scream.

We feel.

We weep.

We mourn.

We cry from the depths.


Can we stop?

Can we change?

Can we help?

Can we heal?

Can we mitigate?

Can we till?

Can we survive?

Can we listen to you, coral?

Can we listen to you, O God?


One by one.

Like the coral.

Standing alone.

Standing together.

Standing with God.

We create a reef seen from the stars.

We can reform.


Climate Blog — The Lord’s Prayer

THE LORD’S PRAYER, a responsive prayer from the eco-congregations in England and Wales, offered in song, word, and photography by the United Society Partners in the Gospel. We use this beautiful prayer to conclude our fourth session. You can watch and listen to it here. If you would like to download the words to use in worship, you can find them here.

Our Father who art in heaven…

You are also at home in the air, the soil, the forests and the oceans

Hallowed be your name………….By the care we take of your creation

Your Kingdom come……….All that you see is good

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…. Your will to till and care

Give us this day our daily bread……That all may have sufficient to live life in fullness

Forgive us our trespassers….Our greed, our exploitation, our lack of concern for other species and future generations

As we forgive those who trespass against us….. By reconciliation with justice and peace

Lead us not into temptation…the temptation to equate dominion with exploitation

And deliver us from evil…. The evil of destroying your gift of creation

For yours is the Kingdom… yours Lord, not ours

The Power and the Glory… in the cross and the resurrection… forever and ever

You were the beginning and you are the end.

Amen and so it be

Climate Blog: Beth’s Wise Words from Pope Francis

“Rivers do not drink their own water; trees do not eat their own fruit; the sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves. Living for others is a rule of nature. We are all born to help each other. No matter how difficult it is; life is good when you are happy; but much better when others are happy because of you.”

–Pope Francis, 2020 New Year’s Eve Message

Climate Blog: A Sign of Love

Fawn Palmer writes:
       I am sending in a photo that was taken three years ago, May 14, 2018, at Churchville Presbyterian Church, Churchville, MD. These bicyclists are from PA Interfaith Power and Light. They stopped at our church for a midday meal in our Fellowship Hall. We linked up with Pa IPL b/c we are an Earth Care Certified Congregation, PC (USA)
       There was a call to sponsor/host this bicycling group. We answered yes. They are pastoral faith leaders, ministers and rabbis in the Philadelphia and State College areas who train and prepare. They start in Philadelphia and end in Washington, D. C. where they meet with their US Representatives and Senators to witness, advocate and inform about: 1) the crisis of climate change; 2) our human contribution to global warming by use of fossil fuels that have been and are burned which produce greenhouse gases; and 3) what people can do, how they can be inspired, and how to connect with others to be active facing this global challenge.
       I thought that the sign on our outdoor placard fit with the first class in this course.
How fitting, right? 🙂

Climate Blog: Full Moon before Dawn

I sometimes wonder whether we are seeing the end of life as we know it or the beginning of life as we may learn to know it, in which humans live in harmony with God’s beautiful creation. As many people say, if we can get through the climate crisis and learn to live sustainably–even regeneratively–on earth, there will joys and benefits beyond what we can even imagine. I snapped this photo from our house a few days ago. In it you can’t necessarily see whether it is evening or morning. But it did happen to be early morning.


Trisha Tull, Henryville, IN


Climate Blog: Two Memorable Experiences

I was bursting today (Sunday 7/25) wishing for a chance to tell of two memorable experiences I had Saturday. Our local utility, LES, had a community energy event and Laurel and I had a chance to test drive a Tesla and a Chevrolet Volt. (Both were awesome but we actually preferred the Volt.)

That evening we went to downtown Lincoln to enjoy the performance of Paula Poundstone. She was her amazing self and chatted with the audience for almost two hours. Partway through her phone rings. (It’s unclear whether it was a random call or one that was arranged. She answered it as if she didn’t expect it, but that’s not the point.) It was Ed Begley. She talked to him a bit and when she hung up she proceeded to tell a story where they both were scheduled at a benefit and she had to go on first because Begley was late. The reason. He was riding his bicycle to the event. She indicated it was a journey of several miles. I hope the rest of the audience took from her story his commitment to the environment is quite serious. She made other mentions of climate change but her story about Ed Begley was profound.

Tom Pappas, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Lincoln, NE