Yolo Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice

Yolo Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice

The mission of the Yolo Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice is to inspire our faith communities to work together to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, educate ourselves on climate issues and speak out for climate justice. Clergy, leadership, and members of all faiths and interested others are welcome.

The Yolo Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice is open to all faith group members, as well as non-faith folks, who wish to address climate justice and climate disruption issues on a variety of levels. Currently we have people from 8-10 faith groups meeting on a monthly basis.

The Interfaith Alliance is dedicated to educating members of faith groups about the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Planning Committee for the Interfaith Alliance meets monthly first Thursday of the month at 12pm noon now on Zoom. Contact us at interfaith@cooldavis.org for the link!

All meetings are open. Send questions to interfaith@cooldavis.org.

The Interfaith Alliance

1) educates members of faith groups about the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,

2) promotes actions that lead to a lower carbon footprint at the personal level and at the faith community and facility level, and

3)  advocates and lobbies for climate justice which is leveraged by our proximity to the state legislature.


Here are some ways faith groups and individuals are invited to participate.

  • Join the team working on “Meatless Monday” program for faith communities. Sponsor “Cool Cooking for a Cool Planet,” 2-hour vegetarian cooking classes at your faith community.  Chef Debra Chase features local, seasonal produce. Learn delicious ways to reduce your food print.
  • Help implement the “Travel Lite to Worship,”  where faith group members walk, bike, ride transit, or carpool to worship.  A toolkit is available to help faith groups get started.
  • Develop resources and plans for congregations who wish to “green” their own facilities and/or develop a campaign in conjunction with Cool Davis Cool Homes to “green” individual households within the congregation.
  • Help plan our annual Climate Conference for all faith groups, on climate change, climate justice, and how to make our voices heard.
  • Organize a screening/discussion of  films or host a speaker or forum on various climate change and sustainability topics for your congregation or the wider community. Choose from “Chasing Ice” on the melting glaciers or other environmental films, including some on transitioning to a more plant-based diet to lower your food print.

Travel Lite to Worship Challenge

Accept the challenge to leave your car at home and walk, bike, bus, carpool, or ride transit to worship.  It’s good for your health, and it’s good for the planet, too.

On the first Sunday or main day of worship of each month, congregations are encouraged to keep track of who comes to church by walking, biking, bus, or car pool, for a friendly competition for the most CO2 savings.

Each church or place of worship needs a team to encourage biking and facilitate carpooling, keep records, and encourage participation. If you want to get involved, please email interfaith@cooldavis.org.

Here are some useful resources. Please adapt as you wish:

You may also want the following information for your table:

  • Display materials from the city (Unitrans schedule, Davis Bike Map, bookmarks with 7 basic rules of Bicycling Safety and ABC Quick Checklist, bike lights)


Interfaith Meatless Monday

Eat with the Planet  in mind!

  • Commit to one or more meatless days a week.
  • Plan an interfaith vegetarian pot-luck and/or film night.
  • Share meatless meals and recipes.

Join us in doing one simple thing

  • for the health of the planet,
  • for your own health,
  • to save water,
  • to save you money, and
  • to help alleviate world hunger.

One day a week, cut out the meat!

Upcoming: 6th Annual Conference

March 10, 2018 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis

6th annual Interfaith Climate Conference

Deepening Our Roots: Growing Resilient Forests

Dr. Greg McPherson, Research Urban Forester for our region speaking on “Creating Healthy Urban Forests for Our Children’s Children.” 


Daniel Barad, Sierra Club Biomass Campaign Organizer speaking on “Safeguarding Our Sierra Nevada Forests.”

Workshop time for creative expression to process the information about the plight of our forests.  Our CA forests are under stress, so what can we do?

5th Annual: March 11, 2017 at Davis Community Church:  Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda –   Climate Justice and Hope:  A Spiritual-Political Calling


https://www.cooldavis.org/2017/03/29/theological-ethicist-reveals-blueprint-for-climate-action/   program and audio recording

4th Annual: March 5, 2016 at St. James Catholic Church

Sister Joan Brown – Caring for Our Common Home:  Living Justice, Mercy, and Love 

Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemum Tribe near Shasta and Humberto Camacho, Humphrey Fellow from Bolivia

Special Guest Congressman John Garamendi

https://www.cooldavis.org/2016/01/28/5677/    Program and video links

3rd Annual: March 7, 2015 at University Covenant Church:  Dr. Kathleen Dean Moore, Philosopher, nature author, and environmentalist – Moral Ground:  Ethical Actions for a Planet in Peril



2nd Annual: March 9, 2014 at Davis United Methodist Church:  Adrienne Alvord, Executive Director of the Western Division of Union of Concerned Scientists – Science and Faith: Working Together to Inspire Action on Climate Change.

Protecting a Planet in Peril

1st: March 3, 2013 at Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis.  Susan Stephenson, Exe. Dir. of CA Interfaith Power and Light  – Facing the Climate Crisis: Hope and Help Isabelle Montanez, UC Davis Geology Professor on Climate Change


Climate and Sustainability Forums

An ongoing series of talks, panels, discussions, films, courses, workshops, prayer gatherings, celebrations and more…

Faith community members and the public are welcome!

To get on the mailing list for YIACJ events, send an email to interfaith@cooldavis.org with Interfaith Forums in the subject line.


2017 Nov. 4 Interfaith Ancestral Reverence Ceremony

Ceremony at Memorial Grove in honor of Día de los Muertos, All Soul’s Day, and Samhain.  Prayer circle, Stories, Threshold Choir, and Tree care.

Coming in 2018: 

Jan.-Feb. 2018 Think Resilience by Richard Heinberg

Think Resilience is an 8-week Discussion course on Tuesday evenings based on 22 short videos (between 5 and 20 minutes long) that explore the interrelated crises of the twenty-first century, and what we as citizens, students, and community leaders can do to respond to them. The course is designed to serve as an introduction to a broad range of topics rather than an in-depth exploration.  We will explore these topics together.  Each video is accompanied by additional videos, articles, and book references for those eager for more detail!  $20/person

March or April 2018 Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg from Post Carbon Institute

Speaking on: Think Resilience or Our Renewable Future: Laying the Path for 100% Clean Energy or his latest book, There’s no App for That, or a combination of all of the above.

Past Events:

Nov. 29, 2015 Climate Vigil on Eve of Paris Talks

The Davis community joined other citizens of the world in support of the actions of our world leaders to preserve the environment and our shared home. We are running out of time for action. The Vigil at the Lutheran Church of the Incarnation provides an opportunity to stop, reflect, and meditate on the events in Paris and our own vigilance, with thoughts from Councilman Robb Davis, author Kim Stanley Robinson and songs and prayers to honor this earth.


Nov. 2016  3 Films on Eating for a Healthy Planet! Nourish, Dirt! and Cowspiracy

March 24, 2017  Climate Change Puts Countries at Risk

UCD Humphrey Fellows from Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan and Tunisia.  Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis.  Free


March 30 2017  SoilThe Forgotten Gift Underfoot

Tony Rolfes,  Natural Resources Conservation Services, US Dept. of Agriculture.  Congregation Bet Haverim.  Free https://www.cooldavis.org/2017/04/23/soil-forgotten-gift-underfoot/

June 9  2017  Sacred Earth: Elemental community in song, word and action honor and celebrate the four elements: Earth, air, fire and water.

Laura Sandage and 6 conspiring women: Mimi Hampton, Wendy Silk, Dana Stokes,  Cam Stoufer, Betsy Taloff and Loraine Visher


June 14 2017 From the Ashes Screening and discussion 

National Geographic Documentary on the future of the coal industry. Lutheran Church of the Incarnation.  Free


July 30  2017  Laudato Si Celebration, St. James Catholic Church. Join in prayer, blessing a new garden, and Leonardo Dicaprio’s film Before the Flood.  St. James Environmental Group. Free


In Davis, various faith organizations have pioneered work on sustainability and care of God’s creation. Below are details of the activities of different faith groups who are currently partners of Cool Davis and members of Yolo Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice, an active working group of Cool Davis.

Davis Community Church: Stewards of God’s Creation Group

Diane Colborn says that the Stewards of God’s Creation Group, “in response to God’s love for us and for all creation, seek to live out our calling, both as a community and as individuals, to restore creation and to live in balance and harmony with the earth and all living creatures.”

The group has spear-headed efforts at the DCC to complete an environmental and energy audit of their church facilities, and have taken steps to implement the results of the audit, such as, using green building materials for renovations, building a 3-bin compost bin, and planting a community organic garden on church property. Other efforts include co-sponsoring the formation of a Davis chapter of the Voluntary Gas Tax Initiative and giving a number of educational classes on environmental stewardship and conservation including Low Carbon Diet classes.  Several church members have worked hard within the church framework for the adoption of a divestment policy to withdraw church funds from fossil fuel funds.  The work is still in process.

Davis Episcopal Church of Saint Martin:  Care for God’s Creations Commission

St. Martin’s Episcopal Church is a partner of the Cool Davis Partners Coalition.  The church works through the Care for God’s Creation Commission to reduce the carbon footprint of their physical plant and encourage members to implement similar steps in their households.

The Commission is most proud of their recycling program, which diverts most of the building’s waste from the landfill. This includes composting waste from Davis Community Meals, which are served three days a week at St. Martin’s.  The church had some solar panels installed previously and then added more to reduce electric bills by 70%.  They have worked with their church’s Landscape Committee and Buildings and Grounds on design of a low-water-use healing/meditation garden.

Members of the Care for God’s Creation Commission participate in the Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice, and they took a lead in the Travel Lite program to encourage members of all congregations to walk, ride bikes, use transit, or carpool to worship.  Recently they loaned out watt meters for church members to check for phantom energy use and note sources of energy waste at home.

The Church of St. Martin, led by its Care for God’s Creation Commission, chose to join the Cool Davis Partners and the Interfaith Alliance, knowing that we are all stronger when we work together.  They appreciate coordinating with other faith groups, for example on the Interfaith Climate Conferences each March.  They have sponsored the Cool Davis Festival and look forward to more involvement.

Davis Friends Meeting

The entire 35-member Davis Friends Meeting, a small, liberal congregation, reached consensus to join Cool Davis as a partner after taking time to deliberate the commitment thoughtfully. While their first purpose is to provide accessible and appropriate worship space and opportunity for community, the second is to encourage putting their principles into practice, including care for the earth.

Cool Davis asks that partners be committed to the Cool Davis mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate. The members of the Meetinghouse have already made significant efforts to lower their carbon footprint in the three categories Cool Davis has identified in its Cool Home Campaign: home energy efficiency, transportation, and consumption.

The Friends accomplishments are impressive. In terms of the energy efficiency of their meetinghouse, they have added ceiling insulation, removed a tree to let in more outside light and installed the following: a point of service hot water heater with a timer, independent heating and cooling on programmed timers for the two main rooms, ceiling fans, low energy lighting, double pane windows with clear glazing and effective window shades.

In terms of consumption, they have paid special attention to water conservation with low-flow toilets, most grounds covered in wood chips or native plants, low or close-to-zero water use landscape in the west garden, turf removal in favor of bark mulch on north, a low-flow, uniform sprinkler system with timer, irrigation of the one children’s grass areas via programmed timer, awareness of appliance water use, and efficient dish washing procedures.

The Friends are conscientious consumers. They separate garbage, compostables, recyclables and paper, bring their own utensils, purchase post-consumer recycled toilet paper and half-sized paper towels for the restrooms, select local food when possible, and more.

To reduce their Transportation prints, friends encourage biking.  Some drive hybrid cars.

Davis Friends strive to make following the Cool Davis mission their own practice.

They have kept an active representative on the Yolo Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice planning team, or at least had a member to regularly read and respond to all communication.  They can be counted on to show up at workshops and events such as the annual climate conference, and to volunteer to help.

Davis United Methodist Church: Church & Society Committee

The United Methodist Church’s Social Principles address the climate crisis from a place of deep reverence for the sacredness and diversity of life on this earth. The Church advocates for caring for God’s creation through sustainable use of resources and prevention of air, land, and water pollution.

The Church & Society Committee of the Davis United Methodist Church embraces the Social Principles advocacy for environmental sustainability and environmental justice. Jim Cramer, past chair, reports, “The Davis UMC, with leadership from the C & S Committee, has implemented numerous programs aimed at environmental sustainability. We have adopted many energy conservation measures and have installed solar panels to provide most of our electricity. We have moved substantially toward electronic communication and use of reusable implements for banquets and social gatherings, and we have sponsored numerous educational programs for residential energy conservation. Our Grace Garden provides over 1000 pounds of locally grown fruits and vegetables for the local food pantry. Davis UMC has received awards from California Interfaith Power & Light and from Seattle-based Earth Ministry for its environmental sustainability programs.”

UMC has been a founding member of the Yolo Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice and has helped with the various activities ranging from hosting the annual Interfaith Climate Conference in 2014 to hosting speakers like Bill Powers on Bien Vivir to helping arrange the Meatless Monday cook classes and to guiding various Climate and Sustainability Forums.

Lutheran Church of the Incarnation

The mission of the Lutheran Church of the Incarnation is “to be an inclusive, multi-generational congregation living in the grace of God, and a sanctuary that equips us for service in the community while bringing the Good News to all.”  Pastor Dan Smith is most proud of meeting the spiritual needs of his congregation and community, providing food and workers to the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter, and encouraging and facilitating support for a number of local, national, and international ministry partners.

Cool Davis has been grateful to be one of those chosen local partners.  The Lutheran Church of the Incarnation came forward with a generous and unexpected donation for the first Cool Davis Festival in addition to finding enthusiastic volunteers to help.  Since the 2010 Festival, church members have continued to participate as steadfast volunteers in Cool Davis festivals, and the church has been a regular sponsor as well!

In addition to expanding their witness throughout the Davis community, this church plans to further develop a “green” strategy and ministry.   They have renovated the facility to lower their carbon footprint as much as possible and have established sustainable, ongoing practices such as extensive recycling and Second Sunday Cycling to Service.

Perhaps partly because he has two young children, Pastor Dan Smith is completely dedicated to earth stewardship which he believes has solid biblical roots.  His ministry celebrates and emphasizes the importance of protecting creation.  His Earth Day sermons are inspirational, and in his own words, “We practice what we preach.”

Here’s how Pastor Dan responded to Bill McKibben’s April 2012 visit to Davis.  “…As Mr. McKibben said, doing the right thing for the environment in our own personal lives, using less energy, recycling, and eating more local and more vegetarian are all necessary but insufficient.  He’s right.  We need a multi-layered approach to this problem that recognizes both our own complicity in environmental degradation, while at the same time demanding that our political leaders help us to have access to better choices.  Many of us want to do the right thing, but we don’t know how, or can’t imagine a different future.  If we are part of the problem, that means we can also be part of the solution.  Perhaps our most important asset right now is the imagination to see things in a new light and live differently with planet earth.  From my perspective, I don’t see any way around it.”

Despite Pastor Dan’s commitment, the congregation sometimes lacks a clear focus to move forward in their green ministry.  Kristin believes, “being part of a larger “green” community such as Cool Davis will help us to focus our efforts.  Just bringing us into community with other organizations with sustainability as part of their mission will help to strengthen our resolve.”

The Lutheran Church of the Incarnation is an active part of Cool Davis and the Yolo Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice.  They have been instrumental in organizing the annual Interfaith Climate Conferences and supporting other programs including the umbrella “Climate and Sustainability Forum” which rotates to various faith communities as we offer films, speakers, panels, courses, discussions, and more.

St. James Environmental Justice Group

The St. James Environmental Justice Group began meeting in 2015 for the purpose of studying Pope Francis’s recently promulgated encyclical on climate change and care for creation, “Laudato Si.”  The group then wished to continue in efforts to address climate change and Environmental Justice issues in the spirit of that document and Catholic Social Teaching in general.  This work is being undertaken within the parish, locally, and in a larger content through education, reflection, advocacy, prayer, and direct action.

Environmental Justice maintains the “green boards” in the vestibules of St. James Church, posting photos and articles related to care for creation and climate change. Opportunities for action are also highlighted, and there are “take action” fliers available on the boards. Each week, an “Environmental Justice Message” appears in the bulletin, with a quote from “Laudato Si” and a suggestion for reflection or action.

This past year, the group participated in efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline both locally and in Sacramento, helped get appropriate recycling introduced at parish events, and hosted a conference attended by 60 people from various faith communities. A goal was met in assuring that the event produced zero waste.  As part of the July conference, the St. Francis garden was blessed by Father Joshua Sia and the attendees.  This garden, featuring a mural of Francis of Assisi, had been allowed to die out, and the group vowed to replant and maintain it.  The replanting took place in October, with assistance from group members, parishioners, and Confirmation candidates, as pictured here.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis: Green Sanctuary

The Unitarian Universalist Church in Davis (UUCD) has put its faith into practice on sustainability for many years, and it has been an active member of Cool Davis since it began in 2010. In 2005, UUCD embarked on the important and daunting task of becoming a Green Sanctuary: a church whose members truly live with “respect for the interdependent web of which we are a part.”

“A number of us at UUCD recognized that Earth’s systems were in peril from human activities, and as people of faith, we faced a moral and spiritual crisis of utmost importance,” explained Judy Moores, who led the task force.

Becoming a Green Sanctuary, a program sponsored by the national Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), required the church to form an on-going oversight committee, do an extensive audit of the church’s buildings, grounds, and practices, and develop twelve projects in worship, religious education, sustainability and eco-justice.

All members of the congregation had to be involved in one or more projects and the church had to reach out to other churches and groups and involve them in an on-going eco-justice project. In February of 2007, the UU Church of Davis was accredited as an official Green Sanctuary, and recognized at the annual national UUA Convention. In spring of 2007, the City of Davis recognized the pioneering environmental work of our church with an Environmental Award.

Since becoming a Green Sanctuary, we have recognized that the work to integrate environmental awareness, sustainable practices, and environmental justice into our church community, our personal lives, and our wider community is always an on-going effort.

Each year we dedicate a number of services to environmental topics stressing our responsibility to take care of our planet.

The Green Sanctuary Committee (GS) has sponsored various educational initiatives including Northwest Institute classes for adults on Global Warming, Voluntary Simplicity, etc., and David Gershon’s Low Carbon Diet along with workshops to teach canning techniques and to make earth-friendly cleaning supplies and body care products.

UU’s sponsored the Human Right to Water legislation.

Members of UUCD have collected signatures and organized letter writing campaigns for a number of CA climate issues. In 2010, when our landmark CA AB32 Climate Action bill was subject to recall, the GS committee worked with the California UU Legislative Ministry to collect signatures of support. Similarly, the UUCD supported CA AB685, the UU-authored Human Right to Water Bill, which ultimately passed and has profound, world-wide implications.

In the fall of 2014, the GS installed a permanent water feature thus qualifying our grounds to receive National Wildlife Federation Certification as a Wildlife Habitat. This is particularly important as development crowds around the 6+ church acres which is truly a wildlife sanctuary.

Our recent renovation project took care at every step to be as “green” as possible.

Currently, GS is working with other social justice groups at UUCD and in the Interfaith community to address climate change.  We initiated the Yolo Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice, a working group of Cool Davis, to pull more community faith groups together in this critical work.  We hosted the first Interfaith Climate Conference at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, and after five years of rotation at other faith communities, it returns for the 6th year to our sanctuary and grounds as we take a close look at how to best protect our California urban and Sierra forest canopy.

Since UUCD started our Green Sanctuary Committee, increased greenhouse gas emissions, species extinction and other environmental issues have become more ominous. Fortunately, our state and local governments are working hard to meet some of the challenges, but they need grassroots efforts of support to champion their work.

We join with other faith groups and local non-profits now working for the health of our Earth home. We know that our UUCD Green Sanctuary work is not a fait accompli, but rather the prelude to challenges that grow with each passing month and year. There is much to be afraid of in the world today. However, when we face our fears – and what better place to do so than in a loving, supportive faith community – we find hope and the will to meet the challenges of the climate crisis before us.

Unity Center of Davis:  Earth Care Team

Rev. Robyn Plante, Senior Minister of Unity Center of Davis, supports raising awareness and inspiring each other toward living a more Earth-friendly lifestyle.  The Earth Care team at church demonstrates this awareness and invites others to become more conscious with reuse vs. refuse.  She believes that partnering with Cool Davis will help create greater Earth-friendly practices that can become positive, life-long habits.  Unity has been a generous supporter of cool Davis and members show up at Cool Davis and Interfaith events.

University Covenant Church:  Faith, Compassion, and Justice Ministry

UCC has a thriving Faith, Compassion, and Justice Ministry, part of which is dedicated to environmental stewardship, which we believe is a key component of our faith.  We believe in a holistic Gospel, that Jesus’s Kingdom includes reconciliation at all levels, including our relationship with the earth. UCC is striving to be good stewards of God’s creation through a variety of initiatives. First and foremost is a review of our consumer choices, both within the church and by members of the church. We continue to evaluate our purchases, recycling, and energy use by various church activities and to make adjustments. The greatest of these was our decision two years ago to go solar. Since the solar panels have been installed on our roof, UCC now receives close to 100% of its electricity from solar power. With regard to consumer choices by members of the church, we have a Simple Lifestyle Consumer Tips newsletter, informing the congregation of the social and climate impacts of various food and consumer goods choices. These issues are also discussed occasionally in Sunday school classes and other forums.

UCC hosted the third Interfaith Alliance Climate Conference and has remained very active since in Meatless Monday and Climate and Sustainability Forum events.




Pope Francis – Encyclical Letter Laudato Si of the Holy Father Francis on Care for Our Common Home (2015).

Bill McKibben – The Comforting Whirlwind:  God, Job, and the Scale of Creation (2005).

Cynthia D. Moe-Lobeda – Resisting Structural Evil:  Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation (2013).

Doris Janzen Longacre – Living More with Less –Mennonite Brethren.   A classic on the subject of clearing clutter and living with less!  (1970’s).

Kathleen Dean Moore – GREAT TIDE RISING: Finding Clarity and Moral Courage to Confront Climate Change (2016).

Compiled by Lorraine Anderson, Photographs by Bruce Hodge – Earth & Eros: A Celebration in Words and Photographs (2015).

Marcus Aurelius – Meditation (180 AD).

Leonardo Boff – Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor (1995).   Influential to Pope Francis

Thich Nhat Hanh and Nguyen Anh-Huong – Walking Meditation with an instructional DVD and 5 guided meditations on CD (2006).

Kathleen Dean Moore – Wild Comfort:  The Solace of Nature.  A beautiful book on nature and the stages of grieving (2010).

Kathleen Dean Moore – Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril (2011).

Kathleen Dean Moore – Piano Tide: A Novel (2016).

Carla A. Wise, Ph.D. – Awake on Earth: Facing Climate Change with Sanity and Grace (2016).