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Churches, synagogues, and mosques are places for people to gather and pray. But they can also help lead their communities in climate action.

“They can be prophetic leaders. When we’re waiting on cities to implement their solutions, we’re waiting on states to pass a policy, congregations, and faith communities, denominations don’t have to wait,” says Codi Norred, executive director of the nonprofit Georgia Interfaith Power and Light.

To help congregations cut carbon pollution, Norred’s organization performs energy audits at churches and other houses of worship. It helps fund energy efficiency retrofits. And it works with congregations interested in going solar to analyze their options and help bid for contracts.

The group also trains ‘green teams’ that lead environmental initiatives in their faith communities, such as composting programs, tree planting events, or energy conservation campaigns.

“I think that that work can help demonstrate the solutions, both for the people who are in those faith communities, for the faith leaders themselves, but it also demonstrates to politicians and community members what is possible, what we need to be doing,” Norred says.

And with more than 10,000 houses of worship in Georgia alone, Norred says the collective impact could be huge.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media