I’d like to talk with you about energy and equity. You might be lucky enough to not think twice about paying your electricity bill every month. But low-income families in the U.S. can spend up to half of their incomes on household energy! This energy burden/energy poverty means that far too many family heads must decide between keeping the lights on/AC running—or feeding themselves and their children. This is both preventable and troubling, in the richest and most powerful nation on earth. Unfortunately, the problem is that most power companies are monopolies, and the best way for folks to save money on energy bills—energy efficiency—means less profit for the power brokers.
Recently, Alabama Power was ranked as the worst utility in the country for energy efficiency, while Birmingham residents experience some of the highest average rates of energy burden.
My organization, Alabama Interfaith Power & Light, a program of The People’s Justice Council, has collected 124 signatures representing more than 900,000 concerned citizens and folks of faith who support the following statements on energy and equity:
- We believe that it is immoral for anyone to bear a disproportionate burden of toxic health effects from waste and pollution.
- We believe that clean, affordable, renewable energy is a holy goal worthy of pursuit by people of all faiths.
- We believe that our individual and societal energy choices – renewable versus non-renewable, equitable versus non-equitable – should be an expression of our individual faiths.
These signatures represent such diverse institutions as:
- The United Church of Christ
- Task Force for Stewardship of Creation, Episcopal Diocese of Alabama
- Hometown Action
- Black Warrior Riverkeeper
- Numerous congregations of all faiths, including Episcopal, Presbyterian, United Methodist…
I hope you read, sign, and share our Interfaith Statement on Energy and Equity, for yourself and for the organizations you represent. For next Juneteenth, July the 4th and the rest of the year, let us free folks from the slavery of energy poverty and build “energy equity” together!
(Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2: 15-17)
© Kyle Crider 2021.