Ohioans for Sustainable Change, formerly Ohio Interfaith Power and Light, has a long history of collaboration with Ohio faith communities in the work of environmental stewardship and environmental justice.
In 2007, while attending the Solar Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, Keith Mills, an engineer from Cleveland and Sister Paula Gonzalez, a Sisters of Charity nun from Cincinnati, were inspired to address the issue of global warming and agreed to co-found an Ohio chapter of Interfaith Power and Light.
For years, we built upon the inspiration of Keith and Sr. Paula, fondly remembered as the ‘solar nun’, by providing tools and information for religious communities to reduce their carbon footprint through energy audits, energy conservation measures, and promoting renewable energy; organizing earthkeeping gatherings and facilitating climate conversations; sharing congregational accomplishments in creation care activities; and providing the religious voice about Ohio’s clean energy and energy efficiency goals.
Steadily, our work began to focus on building and advocating for equity and justice within climate and environmental issues. In 2017 and 2018 in partnership with Minnesota IPL, we hosted two Be the Spark movement building trainings in which participants learned organizing techniques to advocate for climate, racial and economic justice. Simultaneously, we began the process of engaging our Board and staff team in visioning how the organization would build upon these trainings.
With the leadership of Bishop Marcia Dinkins, who joined OFSC in 2019, we have invested in partnerships that engage us in environmental justice work across the state. In 2021, we launched the Black Church Green Movement Clergy training to equip and support Black pastors engaging in environmental justice advocacy.
We formalized our deepening commitment to justice in 2021 with the adoption of a revised mission, vision, and values. In 2022, we launched our name, Ohioans for Sustainable Change, to embrace our recognition that change must happen at the intersection of issues of climate, racial, economic, and environmental justice and health equity. We build on these issues at the intersection of our faith to create a sustainable and just future.
We remain a state affiliate of Interfaith Power and Light, a national organization mobilizing people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change.
Sustainable change is equitable, long-lasting, and collaborative. We invite you to join us on the path ahead.