Thursday, March 24, 2016

Christians Give Up Fossil Fuels for Lent

As reviewed by Grist, the Washington Post recently reported how Christians in the UK gave up fossil fuels for lent. This is noteworthy for those in the Anglican Church of Canada who will be voting on a fossil fuel divestment motion later this year and specifically the Diocese of Montreal which has already voted to divest but has yet to act. 

Here is an excerpt from the Grist article:

A new initiative in the United Kingdom is not only calling for Christian communities to band together in support of clean energy, but actually helping them get their own electricity that way. The Big Church Switch, which launched Wednesday, aims to inspire both individuals and churches to make the switch to renewable energy sources — and they’re already gaining support from church leaders in the country.

In a promotional video, an organizer says, “Our world is full of beauty and wonder, and yet, climate change is having a devastating impact. As Christians, we are called into action by putting our faith into action, loving our neighbor, and caring for the earth.” There are several ways to do this, he explains. “One way is to consider what type of energy we use in our churches.”

It works like this: After churches (or individuals) register to participate, the organization — a collaboration between international development organizations Christian Aid and Tearfund — negotiates with clean energy suppliers to get the best quote on transitioning to clean energy.

The Big Church Switch is just the latest example of an increasing awareness of climate change and environmental issues by religious communities. Pope Francis has called on Catholics — and the rest of us — to think of climate change as the biggest challenge facing humanity. “I invite all to pause to think about the challenges we face regarding care for our common home,” he wrote. “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

It’s not just the pope. Last year, Grist spoke with Sister Linda Haydock, executive director of the Seattle-based Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center, who has been working to raise awareness of climate change within faith communities for years. “It’s all coming together,” Haydock said. “People are more ready to hear some of the messages on the environment than they were before.”

This goes for many faiths — not just Catholics. As Brentin Mock pointed out, black church leaders are also taking up the mantle:

Katharine Hayhoe, a leading climate scientist, works with evangelical Christians on the issue. Rev. William Barber’s Moral Movement counts promoting environmental justice among its 14-point agenda. Ditto for the Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice in New York, who’ve been working on food, energy, and climate issues for years now. In fact, the environmental justice movement was initiated by a 1987 report commissioned by the United Church of Christ religious denomination.

But no matter your reason for protecting the Earth — be it for faith, for future generations, or for your own self-interest — there’s never a wrong time to make the transition to clean energy.

Source: Grist

Catholic Orders Heed Pope Francis and Divest from Fossil Fuels
Fossil Fuel Divestment Motion in the Anglican Church of Canada
Divesting from Fossil Fuels: Open Letter from Faith Leaders
Jesus Calls Us to Take a Stand Against Fossil Fuels
Fossil Fuel Divestment Presentation Delivered at the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal
Anglican Diocese of Quebec Fully Divested from Fossil Fuels Coverage of the Divestment Motion in the Anglican Diocese of Montreal
Montreal Anglicans Vote to Divest from Fossil Fuels
Anglican Diocese of Ottawa Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels
The Anglican Diocese of Montreal Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels
Facts Sheet: Five FAQ about the Motion to Divest from Fossil Fuels in the Anglican Diocese of Montreal
Report on Faith Based Divestment from Fossil Fuels
Why I Support the Divestment from Fossil Fuels Motion in the Anglican Diocese of Montreal
Climate Change and Faith: Why We Are Asking the Diocese to Divest from Fossil Fuel
United Church of Canada Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels
A Role Call of Faith Groups Divesting from Fossil Fuels
Faith Communities Divest Holdings in Fossil Fuel Industry
Why Faith Communities Must Divest from Fossil Fuels
The Religious Imperative for Fossil Fuel Divestment and Reinvestment in a Clean Energy Future
Church of England Adopts New Climate Change and Ethical Investment Policy that Includes Divestment
Episcopal Church Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels as a Moral Issue
WCC at International Divestment Conference in Paris
Divestment and Reinvestment Resource: Fossil Free Faith

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