Rider Profile: Jon Brockopp

Jon Brockopp on bikeMeet Jon Brockopp, fifth in our get-to-know-the-riders series.  The 2014 PA-to-DC ride  will take place May 2-6.  

When I was 12, I began taking long rides on my bike as a way of getting out of a tension-filled house – the solitude, the beauty, and the adventure were a comfort to me, as was the simple rhythm of peddling along. By the time I was a freshman at Purdue University, I was riding home for the weekend: 180 miles round trip. After college, I took a 2,000 mile solo ride up the East Coast.

I have very fond memories of those long trips, of having the time to think about God and my place in creation, especially of seeing the Spirit at work in chance encounters along the Continue reading

PA IPL assists the Centre County Fuel Bank

David DeMoss at Fuel Bank presentation

David DeMoss at Fuel Bank presentation

A couple of winters ago the Centre County Fuel Bank ran out of money.  Administered by Interfaith Human Services (IHS), the Fuel Bank is funded through local donations and provides assistance to low-income families who have already exhausted the fuel that they received through the federal LIHEAP program.  When Ruth Donahue, the Executive Director of Interfaith Human Services, went to county officials and to United Way to ask for more funds, they asked whether there was any way to reduce the demand for fuel.  She turned to PA Interfaith Power & Light and asked us to provide classes for the clients of the Fuel Bank on how to reduce their energy use.  Continue reading

Rider Profile: Janet Swim


Today, meet Janet Swim in the fourth profile in our get-to-know-the-riders series.  The 2014 PA-to-DC ride  will take place May 2-6.  

I spend most of my day thinking about environmental sustainability and, in particular, climate change.  I think about it as part of my work, as a Social Psychologist at Penn State, studying how to encourage scientifically grounded public discourse climate change, individual actions to reduce our personal contribution to climate change, and collective action to adopt policies and procedures to address climate change.   I also think about it when I make decisions about my personal everyday actions and civic activities.  Because I have attended religious services all of my life, it is not surprising that my thoughts and actions would be a part of my spiritual life as well.

There are two aspects of religion that motivate my actions. First, my experience with religions Continue reading

Rider Profile: Dorothy Blair

DorothyBlair.BuddhaToday, meet Dorothy Blair as the third profile in our get-to-know-the-riders series.  The 2014 PA-to-DC ride  will take place May 2-6.  

I guess you could say I am an outdoor, adventuresome type.  Adventure to me means traveling through places on bike or foot where the scenery is inspiring, or to where people find satisfaction and meaning in lives totally different from my own.  I joined the Peace Corps back in 1968, right out of college. and spent 2 years working in the Philippines, teaching and helping to create greater food security among the poor. After the Peace Corps and a stint as a social services caseworker I got my PH.D. from Cornell University. and joined the Penn State Nutritional Sciences Dept. and STS Program to teach about nutrition and food security.  I retired in 2012, continuing to work in nutrition abroad, most lately in Mozambique and and Uganda.

Lack of food security, poverty and inequality create hunger, but climate warming is a game changer.  Since 1980, I have taught about the threat of climate change Continue reading

Creating Climate SmART Communities

Today’s post comes to you from Peter Handler, a member of the leadership group of Philly PA IPL.  Join Philly PA IPL for a Prayerful Protest on April 10.

detail from Arctic Ice Reliquary Peter Handler 2011 (figure carving by Casey Gleason)

detail from Arctic Ice Reliquary Peter Handler 2011 (figure carving by Casey Gleason)

For over three years,  I have been working with two partners, one in New York, and one in Washington DC on a project called Honoring The Future.  We are committed to using the work of artists to raise issues, to educate, and to move people, not only through their heads, but also through their hearts.  We believe that art reaches people, in part, emotionally, and can reach people sometimes in a way that pure science may not.  We consider that artists may be the prophets of our day, telling us the things that we may need to know and not want to hear.  As artists, we talk about what is, what may happen, and where we would like to go.

Our first public event, Climate SmART: Artists Respond to Climate Change, will be on April 16 Continue reading

Embracing discomfort, choosing action.

20140323_113858 - Version 2On Sunday, March 22, PA IPL board member Rev. Doug Hunt was the invited guest preacher at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Pottstown.   Overheard after the service “You know, I’ve heard all that before, but he’s the only one that has gotten me to do something.  I’m going to make some phone calls today.”  It’s not the same as being there, but you can get a glimpse of the readings and sermon below.  Let us know if you’d like to have a guest preach or teach in your congregation (sermons, education hours workshops).  We’ll help figure out what would be your best fit, and we’ll help make it happen.  Reach Cricket at 814-876-2597.

First reading  from “My First Summer in the Sierra” – John Muir – 1911

The snow on the high mountains is melting fast, and the streams are singing bankfull, swaying softly through the level meadows and bogs, quivering with sun-spangles, swirling in pot-holes, resting in deep pools, leaping, shouting in wild, exulting energy over rough boulder dams, joyful, beautiful in all their forms.

No Sierra landscape that I have seen holds anything truly dead or dull, or any trace of what in manufactories is called rubbish or waste; everything is perfectly clean and pure and full of divine lessons. This quick, inevitable interest attaching to everything seems marvelous until the hand of God becomes visible; then it seems reasonable that what Continue reading