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News from the Montana Faith & Environment Coalition
December 2019
The Montana Faith & Environment Coalition brings together people from diverse spiritual traditions and scientists from across the state to advocate for faith-led action on climate change.



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Wishing you a blessed holiday season and New Year
At this time of year when we await the return of the light, the darkness can often feel overwhelming. The headlines about climate change and environmental challenges weigh heavily on us. During these times, we can find hope and strength in one another, and in the powerful moral clarity of those who are speaking up for bold action on climate, especially young people. Take for example the statement of the group that protested at the Harvard-Yale football game recently:

" Harvard and Yale claim their goal is to create student leaders who can strive toward a more 'just, fair, and promising world' by 'improving the world today and for future generations.' ... We demand that our universities take responsibility for their role in perpetuating the climate crisis and global climate injustice -- we call on Harvard and Yale to fully disclose, divest, and reinvest their holdings in the fossil fuel industry, putting an end to business as usual and taking meaningful action towards building a more just and stable future."

Hope comes in unexpected places. We look forward to continuing to build hope through action together in 2020.

Climate Action Updates from the Coalition

Here are just a few of the other ways members of the Montana Faith & Environment Coalition have been active across the state & country recently:
  • Rev. Jody McDevitt, Will Wright, and Rev. Connie Campbell-Pearson were featured in a front-page Bozeman Chronicle interview as part of the newspaper's recent series on climate change!

  • Will Wright and Rev. Valerie Webster spoke at and were part of the committee that helped organize Bozeman's Climate Strike and Rally on September 20, representing the voice of faith in solidarity with the youth strikers.

  • The Montana Synod Climate Change Task Force is seeking members! At the 2019 Montana Synod Assembly, the congregations of the Montana Synod (ELCA - Lutheran) approved a resolution to Care for Creation and Respond to Changing Climate. One of the items to be enacted was to establish a task force, charged with presenting measurable and meaningful actions for the Synod and its congregations to implement. If you are a member of an ELCA congregation and are interested in learning more, please contact Rev. Eric Huseth.

  • The newly forming Montana Interfaith Power and Light (MT-IPL) chapter has a committed board who is supporting the organization's development, including potentially becoming a 501(c)3 organization.
  • Members of the coalition have published at least 20 op-eds and Letters-to-the-Editor in newspapers across Montana in the last two years.
  • Invited lecture by Institute on Ecosystems at Montana State University to share work and outcomes of MT Faith & Environment Coalition with 45 audience members; this leads to the creation of a draft powerpoint for all Coalition members to use in their own educational outreach work moving forward;

  • Drs. Rob and Lori Byron wrote an op-ed in Billings Gazette called,”Youth call attention to climate change

  • Successful fundraising through collaborative grant applications to raise $36,900 from 2017-2019 for workshops, trainings, conferences, and website development and maintenance to date.

  • Continued planning for the 2020 Faith, Science and Climate Action Conference in Montana;

  • Since the 2018 conference, members of the Coalition have applied for the new Governor’s Council on Climate, and the Billings (MT) Mayor’s Energy Conservation Commission; participate in the Climate Smart Missoula (MT) organization, and lead Climate Smart Montana.
  • Additionally, a member of The Wilderness Society’s staff who attended the 2018 Montana Faith, Science and Climate Action conference to learn more about collaborative work between faith leaders and scientists to address climate change together subsequently co-organized a series of talks and events in Alaska this past September: Evangelical Christian and atmospheric scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe came to Anchorage September 11-12 to give two free public lectures as well as having smaller meetings with pastors, scientists, the Municipality of Anchorage, and youth. The events were very successful!

Solar Spotlight: Resurrection Catholic Church & Will Wright

One of the major follow-up campaigns to come out of the 2018 Faith, Science and Climate Action Conference was a commitment by church leaders to “green” church infrastructure across the state by installing solar panels on church rooftops. Shortly after the state-wide conference, members of the new faith coalition held a workshop in Billings, Montana to share information and funding models for “greening” church buildings that attracted 45 participants representing 10 churches;  solar panels have subsequently been installed on 6 church rooftops across Montana just this year.
Will Wright, who is a graduate student at Montana State University and a founding member of the coalition, helped lead the effort to install 128 solar panels on the roof of Resurrection Catholic Church (pictured below) on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman, Montana (where he attends graduate school). A few fun facts about this project:
  • The total cost for the 50 kW solar array was $90,000, 40% of which Will and his colleagues covered through grants (from Northwestern Energy’s USB program, a city of Bozeman program, and a Catholic Extension grant), while the remaining funds were secured through a fundraising effort in their parish community. 
  • The project took 1 ½ years to complete, and is expected to cover 75% of the parish’s utility electric bill (about $900 per month) while reducing carbon emissions by 2,180 metric tons (equivalent to keeping 475 automobiles off the road for one year) over its 40-year life span.
  • The project was initiated by Resurrection's "Creation Care Team," a faith-based environmental justice ministry of the congregation.
  • Will is currently developing a "training kit" based on his experiences for members of our new Montana Interfaith Power & Light chapter to jump-start the process for interested congregations across the state!
In addition to his initiative to get solar panels installed, Will helped write a friend-of-the-court amicus brief for the Juliana vs. the United States lawsuit, which is an ongoing youth-led lawsuit that seeks to force the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions immediately; and he also helped co-organize the recent Sept. 20th Climate March in Bozeman as part of a world-wide demonstration against government inaction on climate change.

Will is incredibly smart and committed and is a superb example of youth-led action on many fronts of the climate change fight. Thanks, Will, for all that you do!
The solar array recently installed at Resurrection Catholic Church in Bozeman

Grief, Loss, and Climate Change: October Workshop recap

Nineteen of us gathered on October 15-16 at the Lindley Center in Bozeman to explore, learn and practice grief rituals with facilitator Shauna Janz. Shauna was a skilled facilitator who was able to hold space for the group to come together for connection and healing. Many in the group are continuing to meet on a regular basis to explore the ritual of grief and it remains a real time for connectedness and healing. Kris and Ash will continue to work with the group as we explore more community and sharing. For further information, contact Kris at

Resources, Articles & Good News Items

Events & Opportunities


Speak up for Clean Energy: comment on the NorthWestern Energy Procurement plan by January 3rd
Are you a NorthWestern Energy ratepayer? Every few years, NWE is required to produce a Resource Procurement Plan, to be approved by the Public Service Commission, that guides how they produce and purchase power and plan for the future.

The 2019 plan, just released, replaces coal power with expensive and dangerous natural gas and includes NO new renewable energy sources. It also currently uses an Automatic Resource Selection model that assumes zero carbon pollution price until 2028. If any of the 7 carbon pricing bills in Congress now were to pass, the price of coal would rise swiftly and make renewables suddenly become even more cost effective.

You can comment on the plan and let the company know you want to see a plan that includes clean Montana wind and solar energy that protects our climate and supports local jobs; and one that models a scenario of a carbon price of $15/ton of CO2, rising by $10/ton a year, to protect Montana ratepayers.

Comments are currently due by Jan. 3, 2020. Additional resources for comments can be found on Climate Smart Missoula's webpage. Submit written public comments on the plan to the Public Service Commission through its web-based comment form at  (click “Comment on a Proceeding” under the “Documents & Proceedings” tab). Be sure to reference Docket No. 2019.08.052 2019 Electricity Supply Resource Procurement Plan . You can also submit comments to the Montana Consumer Counsel via the web form here:

Participate in the Dear Tomorrow project
As the reality of the climate crisis becomes only more alarming and urgent, it can be overwhelming to think about what any of us can do to make a difference.  Sharing our own stories - our fears and hopes, and the actions we're taking to be part of the solution - is a powerful way to build positive momentum for change. 

Climate Smart Missoula and Families for a Livable Climate are bringing Dear Tomorrow, a global storytelling project focused on sharing personal messages to inspire new thinking and action on climate change, to Montana! No need to be in Missoula to participate - anyone can take part! Head HERE to learn more about this creative project and to submit your letter.

This holiday season and New Year, make a commitment to the future. Think of a person important in your life - your child, a friend, a family member or your future self. Imagine it is 2050 and they receive a message from you written today. Your message shares your thoughts about climate change and your promise to take action to ensure they have a safe and healthy world.

Save the Date! Climate Scientist and UT State Professor Rob Davies to Speak in Bozeman & Missoula, Feb 18 & 19!
You won't want to miss this opportunity - Professor Rob Davies will be speaking in Bozeman on February 18 and Missoula on February 19. More details coming soon!

Faith & Climate Action (Missoula) Spring Climate Conversations Series
Missoula's Faith and Climate Action group is sponsoring a spring series of Climate Conversations: Monthly gatherings on topics at the intersection of faith and climate change that aim to bring a variety of spiritual perspectives to bear on the climate crisis and build authentic community to support action and engagement. Events will be held the 4th Tuesday of the month from 6 to 8pm at different faith communities in Missoula. All are welcome, and please spread the word. Dates and Topics are:

  • January 28: Love, Despair, and Hope: Working Through Climate Change Grief into Action for our World
  • February 25: Deep Time: The Journey of the Universe and the Human Response
  • March 24: An Ark for the Anthropocene: Retelling Biblical Narratives for Contemporary Concerns
  • April 28: Native Religion and Perspectives on Direct Action to Protect our Planet
  • May 26: Poetry, Art and Beyond: Creative Expression as an Outlet and Inspiration for Climate Action
More details coming soon! Contact Sydney Bollinger, Faith & Climate Action Coordinator, for more information.`
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