Bishop Garcia’s letter to his priests/pastors and Brothers in Christ on shifting community energy to renewables

February 10, 2017

Diocesan and parish representatives have spoken to local government officials and also delivered signatures in favor of a rapid shift to more life-giving, renewable forms of energy.  Bishop Garcia formally launched the effort with the following letter.  A fact sheet is below, as well as earlier bulletin announcements distributed for the first event.  These are provided here for others to use and copy as helpful.

August 24, 2016

Dear Brothers in Christ,

I am pleased to announce that our Diocese’s new climate change initiative is off to a strong start. Last month we joined our nonprofit partner Green Power at Resurrection Church in Aptos to train 100 Catholics representing parishes from King City to Davenport to “Care for our Common Home.” These are the words of our Holy Father Pope Francis, who, in his encyclical Laudato Sí, made clear that Earth’s changing climate threatens us all, especially the poor, and is due to human activity. He asked us to move away from fossil fuels and towards cleaner sources of energy, like wind and solar, and to consume less – so that our earth and all living beings may flourish.

Today I’m pleased to add a new component to our Diocesan-wide climate campaign. The Diocese is now supporting “Community Choice Energy” (CCE). In 2002, California passed a law enabling Community Choice Energy, which allows cities and counties to take over their own electricity supplies and thereby choose the price and source of the electricity they use. Six other states permit CCE, but California is the first state to pass CCE with a clear environmental focus. Four regions in our state, including Sonoma, Marin, Lancaster and San Francisco, have already started successful programs that use much more renewable energy while reducing electricity costs for everyone.

The Monterey Bay area has been preparing to adopt CCE for the past three years, and between now and October 31st city councils and boards of supervisors throughout Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties will vote on whether to join a CCE for our tri-county area. Our CCE is called Monterey Bay Community Power, or MBCP (see fact sheet or http://montereybaycca.org/faqs) . The areas that join MBCP will cut their reliance upon fossil fuels for electricity in half within one year by using more energy from renewable sources like solar and wind; over ten years, these areas could potentially receive 85% of their electricity from renewable sources.

There are also economic reasons why we as Catholics should support Community Choice Energy: Monterey Bay Community Power will be a nonprofit, public agency; therefore, any surpluses generated from the sale of electricity will be spent meeting local needs. These local interests include reducing electricity costs for consumers, building solar fields and wind farms and creating jobs. To give an example of the potential, Sonoma County, whose CCE has operated for only two years, already has $35 million in surpluses to pour back into their local economy. Monterey Bay Community Power will likely be twice as large as Sonoma’s and so potentially have twice the surpluses.

In light of these environmental and economic benefits, which align with what Pope Francis is calling for, I am endorsing Community Choice Energy on behalf of the Diocese of Monterey – and I ask that you mobilize Catholic support for passage of CCE within your parishes. Our nonprofit partner, Green Power – a project of the faith-based Romero Institute – is available to work with you to advocate for CCE passage. They will develop petition campaigns and other actions to demonstrate the Catholic community’s support for Community Choice between now and the October 31st voting deadline. Please expect to hear from Green Power, especially if you are in a region where support for CCE is much needed (e.g. Monterey and San Benito Counties.) Stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you need more information, please contact Deacon Warren Hoy at [email protected] or (831) 645-2845.

Fraternally in Christ,

+Most Reverend Richard J. Garcia Bishop of the Diocese of Monterey

Petition used by parishioners, the Romero Institute, GreenPower, and after masses:

We Support MBCP and Local Renewable Energy

The Earth’s changing climate represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity. The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, spurred by the burning of fossil fuels, has accelerated global warming. In 2015, surface temperatures reached the highest levels ever recorded. Increased flooding, wildfires, crop disruption, and storm intensity have devastated communities around the globe, with poor communities the hardest hit. It is clear that climate change is no longer just an environmental and economic issue. It is a social and spiritual call to action.

We support Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) because it will give us the ability to confront climate change by putting control of energy purchasing into local hands, allowing us to choose energy from clean and renewable sources like solar, wind, and biomass. MBCP also has the potential to create new economic opportunities for our community. An emphasis on local clean energy development, combined with strong incentives for wind and solar projects, could generate significant new investment and jobs. But these things will only happen if we choose to make them a priority.

Therefore, we urge our elected representatives to take the following steps:
• Join the Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) program;
• Embrace the principle of moving toward 100% locally generated, renewable energy; and
• Select representatives to the MBCP Board who will work hard to both reduce carbon emissions and promote the development of local clean energy.

Together we can confront humanity’s greatest challenge, care for our common home, and create a brighter future for our communities. The future of the earth is in our hands.


Earlier bulletin announcement

Green Power Suggested Bulletin/Mass Announcement

English

The Diocese of Monterey and the faith-based organization, Green Power, will collaborate to host a CLIMATE CHANGE training for Catholics on Sunday July 17th from 12 pm to 4 pm. The event is called “Caring for our Sacred Earth” and it will be at Resurrection Church in Aptos. The gathering is motivated by the Holy Father’s encyclical, Laudato Sí, where he calls on all Catholics to “care for our common home.” Parishioners from across the Diocese will learn how to promote energy-efficient parishes and explore rooftop solar for churches. Solar panels can provide less expensive and environmentally sustainable energy to our buildings. Bishop Garcia will lead mass before the event at 10:15 am. Lunch will follow from 11:15 am-noon. To register for this free event and reserve a lunch, visit greenpower.church.  You must pre-register if you plan to eat lunch in order to give organizers a headcount.

Spanish

La diócesis de Monterey y la organización de fé Green Power colaborarán en la presentación de un entrenamiento para los católicos sobre el CAMBIO DE CLIMA el Domingo 17 de Julio de las 12pm a las 4 pm. El evento se llama “Cuidando Nuestra Tierra Sagrada” y se llevará a cabo en la Iglesia de La Resurrección en Aptos. La reunión es motivada por el encyclical del Padre Santo, Laudato Sí, donde él llama a todos los católicos “para cuidar nuestro hogar común”. Los fieles de toda la diócesis aprenderán cómo mantener parroquias de alto rendimiento de energía y explorarán techos solares para las iglesias. Los paneles solares pueden generar energía menos costosa y ambientalmente sostenible para nuestros edificios. El Reverendísimo Obispo Richard Garcia celebrará la misa antes del evento a las 10:15 am. Se servirá un pequeño almuerzo desde las 11:15 hasta las 12. Para registrarse por este gratis acontecimiento, y reservar un almuerzo, visítenos en la página greenpower.church.  Ud. debe registrarse de antemano si quiere olmorzar para que los organizadores tengan un recuento de personas.