Sunday, November 1, 2015

Anglican Diocese of Ottawa Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels

Ottawa-area Anglicans voted almost unanimously Friday to sell their $1 million worth of oil and gas stocks and push the church’s national body to do the same.

Local Anglican congregations have a combined stock portfolio worth $30 million, which is administered centrally, and although the oil and gas stocks are a relatively small portion, Friday’s vote is seen as a major statement on climate change.

Bishop John Chapman supported the decision.

“When a person is being baptized in the Anglican Church, they promise that they ‘will live to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth,’ ” he said. “I think our obligations are quite clear.”

Montreal Anglicans took a similar path two weeks ago, as did the United Church earlier in the summer.

Carleton University biology professor and ecologist Lenore Fahrig, who led a small group of church members behind the push to sell the stock, said Friday that other Anglican congregations across Canada had been “very interested” in the Ottawa vote.

“We’re already seeing increasing droughts, floods and hurricanes around the world, with the biggest impacts on the poor,” she said. “It is wrong to maintain a fossil fuel-based economy when we can switch to other energy sources and avoid climate catastrophe.”

After Friday’s successful vote, supporters will turn their attention to the national Anglican synod — the church’s summit of delegates from across Canada — that is scheduled for next summer.

Fahrig had been urging delegates to the annual Ottawa synod to address the “moral and ethical issue” of climate change and, at the same time, send a message to politicians.

Prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau and provincial premiers join other world leaders at the United Nations Climate Change conference in Paris at the end of November and early December.

“We know how it’s affecting nature and we know how it’s affecting people, and we know how to avoid it,” said Fahrig. “It is entirely about profits, about money.”

About 360 delegates, representing 22,000 area Anglican parishioners, are at the two-day synod, which is being held at St. Elias Centre.

Source: The Ottawa Citizen

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