Need a heartwarming story? Look no further. Adrian Manygoats is on a mission to help Navajo communities, many of which live under the poverty line and lack electricity. So she’s installing rooftop solar panels — for free. For more on her inspiring project, watch the video below.
Courtesy of NationSwell
The Carleton College divestment movement is on fire!
Northfield, MN – Carleton is a liberal arts college of 2,000 students in southern Minnesota. Its progressive student body has long been active in environmental and social justice is
This week a faculty letter urging divestment, signed (as of this writing) by 69 professors, was sent to the President and Board of Trustees. The signers represent about 25% of the Carleton faculty. Click here to see the letter in its entirety. Here are a few choice quotes:
“We believe it is wrong for Carleton to continue to profit from its investment in fossil fuel companies. Inadvertently supporting such a destructive industry is inconsistent with our core values of sustainability and responsible citizenry.”
“The dimensions of the current crisis are extraordinary, and merit bold action. We simply cannot take a ‘business as usual’ approach.”
“Divestment is a singular teaching moment to show that principles should stand before profits.”
A student petition has gathered over 500 student signatures, and over 300 alumni have signed the alumni petition. At the end of Fall term, the Carleton Student Association senate voted 23-0 for a resolution encouraging the College to “divest from stocks of the top 200 fossil fuel companies within the next five years.”
Students, staff, alumni, and community members also gave a compelling presentation at a town-hall meeting last term, and to the college’s Responsible Investment Committee this term. The students’ goal is to make divestment the watchword on campus this year, with plans to raise the issue at all possible public venues.
Students are also reaching out to other groups on campus to raise social justice issues, which are intimately related to the issue of climate change. For instance the CJC has urged students to support and attend the Black Lives Matter and anti-racism protests in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as a recent campus wide “dialogue” on racial justice.
Ideas are being circulated for a bold and exciting participation in Global Divestment Day next month. Also, a faculty initiated reading group has been proposed, which would include students and staff studying Naomi Klein’s “This Changes Everything” during Spring term.
With Board of Trustees meetings scheduled for February and May this year, there is much to do, but the Carleton community is energized and optimistic of what lies ahead on campus this year!
– Bob Dobrow and Trish Ferrett
Carleton College Faculty Members
Yesterday, UK MPs voted for the first time on fracking, as part of the so-called Infrastructure Bill. It looks like the government is conceding and is adopting the opposition’s (Labour Party) amendment, which would still allow fracking to take place, but under certain safeguards (e.g. no national parks, no over aquifers). The amendment for a moratorium on fracking was voted down. An amendment to consult the independent Committee on Climate Change “from time to time” in order to check the compatibility of fracking with climate goals was passed.
The Bill now goes for a reading in the House of Lords, where insiders believe some of those proposed safeguards might be taken out.
Even with the proposed safeguards, fracking could still be allowed in the county of Lancashire, where an application by fracking company Cuadrilla could be the first one to be green-lighted in the country.
For more, check out latest updates and ways to get involved through our partners at Friends of the Earth EWNI.
The fight goes on.
For Immediate Release
Bangor, ME: On Monday afternoon the University of Maine System Board of Trustees unanimously approved a measure to divest all direct holdings from coal companies. The historic vote followed a two-year campaign led by students at the University of Southern Maine and University of Maine campuses. The move makes the University of Maine System the first public land grant institution and the first University System in the country to divest any fossil fuel holdings.
At the board meeting, University of Maine at Presque Isle president Linda Schott also announced that the institution, one of seven in the system, quietly divested their foundation from fossil fuels in 2014.
“Not many of you may know that UMPI has a foundation that holds its endowment separate from the system. A year ago in November we discussed our investments and directed our managers to move our assets out of fossil fuels. As of this last November we were completely divested,” Schott said.
The University System made history in the 1980s when it became one of the first University institutions in the country to divest from Apartheid South Africa.
Iris SanGiovanni is a member of Divest UMaine, a coalition of students, staff, faculty and alumni from both the USM and UM campuses advocating full fossil fuel divestment. “We are ecstatic that the Board of Trustees made the right decision today, and once again put us on the right side of history,” said SanGiovanni. “We see this as a first step— a major victory— but we are going to continue to press for full fossil fuel divestment,” she said.
Trustee Bonnie Newsome also expressed a desire to move toward full fossil fuel divestment. “I would like to see our Investment Committee continue to consider divestment from fossil fuels more generally,” said Trustee Newsome, after pointing out the many ecological thresholds that we are currently crossing.
“From a pragmatic point of view, moving to more sustainable sources of energy is a good financial investment,” said Glen Cummings, president of the University of Maine at Augusta.
Trustee Marjorie Medd spoke of her father’s health issues after working in the coal industry, which she said inspired her to pursue higher education. “We have to take this to a personal level,” she said.
Throughout their campaign, students have argued that fossil fuel divestment is a necessary move for the system, both morally and financially. Meaghan LaSala is a member of Divest UMaine. “It is our responsibility to make investments that are compatible with justice for communities that have borne the brunt of the toxic and exploitative practices of the fossil fuel industry— disproportionately low income communities and communities of color,” she said.
“Coal is the energy of the past. As world governments place stricter limits on carbon emissions, as they must if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, coal reserves will lose their value. Divesting now protects our assets, and sends the message that we take climate change seriously,” Sangiovanni said.
Bill Ryan fought on the Kokoda Track in World War II. Now at 92 years old, he’s fighting against extreme mining and climate change in Gloucester and beyond. His is an inspiring story of hope and bravery, over a lifetime. Watch him tell it in the video below.
Courtesy of Cloudcatcher Media
It was a typical Northern Ontario day on the shores of Shoal Lake when I really ‘got it’. I was about a month into a portrait photography project to highlight voices of people who live along the proposed Energy East pipeline route – and I was interviewing Chief Fawn Wapioke of Shoal Lake 39.
Fawn was talking about making decisions based on how they would affect future generations. Until this point in my journey, many individuals had shared similar sentiments, but the difference was Fawn’s two toddler twins, who were playing at our feet. Listening to those words and watching those kids, ‘it’ really sank in.
This was clearly about more than one pipeline. This was about building a different system – one where a clean environment and a sustainable economy provide a resilient system for future generations to thrive.
In this era of ‘pipeline politics’ we often hear from politicians, pundits and environmental groups, but not from the people most directly impacted: people who live or work along the route of an oil pipeline.
In the summer of 2014 I travelled the 4600km length of the newly-proposed Energy East pipeline across Canada. Using a 4×5 camera and black-and-white film, I created portraits of Canadians and First Nations who now find themselves caught in the polarizing world of tar sands expansion.
TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline, if built, would be the largest tar sands pipeline, and the longest pipeline of any sort in North America. The pipeline would carry crude oil and diluted bitumen from Alberta, across the prairies, through Ontario to Quebec, and all the way to export terminals in the Maritimes of Canada. It would cross hundreds of waterways, countless communities, vast tracts of farmland, drinking water supplies, First Nations territories, beluga whale habitat and iconic Canadian landmarks. It makes Keystone XL look small and if approved it would result in greenhouse gas emissions equal to 7 million new cars on the road.
On my journey I heard a lot of stories, a lot of opinions and drank a lot of cups of coffee. Everywhere I went along the pipeline, people gave me hours and days of their time. They opened their homes and shared their life stories. I discovered this isn’t a black-and-white issue. Every individual had their own opinions informed by their own experiences. From farmers, to First Nations, to fishermen, from mayors to ministers, everyone has their own opinion informed by their own experiences. Some people support the pipeline project, others oppose it, and some are still making up their minds. And everyone wants to know more.
It is clear that people are giving thought to the complex issues of energy, environment and economy. We are not all buying the line pushed by industry and the federal government that ‘we need this pipeline for jobs and the economy’. Most recognize the climate implications of a new mega-pipeline. In fact, every person I spoke with, whether they agreed with the pipeline proposal or not, talked about the need for Canada to move towards more renewable energy. This spring/summer an outdoor exhibit will be travelling across Canada, bringing these stories back to communities. If it comes to a town near you I encourage you to check it out. I promise it will make you consider not only the issue of the pipeline, but also that bigger question – what kind of world do we want to build?
Full Project at http://alongthepipeline.com/
The same guy that plowed this message into his field to G20 organizers is back with another — DIVEST!
Rob McCreath is breaking up with fossil fuels on Global Divestment Day (February 13th & 14th), and you should too. For farmers like Rob whose crops are directly dependent on shifts in the climate, divestment is a no-brainer.
Watch the video below to check out the HUGE message he plowed into his fields to get others to do the same.
Together they’ll discuss the role of fossil fuel divestment in changing everything. What opportunities do oil price shocks present for the climate movement? What needs to happen in 2015 to get us on the path to real climate action?
Tune in online and send in your own questions for an interactive discussion on these and other topics. You can submit questions in advance via the hashtag #webworkshop.
We’ll also take a whistlestop tour around the world for a Global Show & Tell from divestment campaigners in Europe, North America, Africa, Australia and the Philippines. Plus the chance to share your own plans for Global Divestment Day with others globally.
Expect to come away inspired and ready for action on 13 & 14 February!Register now for details on how to join and please help spread the word
On 26th January, MPs will be voting on the Government’s Infrastructure Bill containing, amongst other things, an amendment including the legal obligation to maximise recovery of gas and oil, an amendment proposing a ban on fracking and the Government’s controversial proposal to allow fracking under people’s homes without permission. We want MPs to hear an overwhelming NO to fracking.
Join the rally outside Parliament to tell MPs loud and clear that fracking should be banned throughout the UK.
The rally is jointly called by Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Occupy Democracy, Frack Off London and others. It comes just a few days after a petition with more than a quarter of a million signatures urging the prime minister to rethink his “all out” support for fracking has been handed in by environmental campaigners representing a coalition of organisations including 350.org.
The reckless pursuit of shale gas extraction in the UK goes against the most authoritative climate science, the fiercest community resistance and the most basic common sense. Fracked gas is not the ‘bridge’ fuel it’s trumpeted as; it’s a gangplank to climate crisis and wasted renewable energy investment opportunities. On Monday, the Government will hear from the people of this country, once again, a resounding NO to fracking.
Speakers confirmed for the rally: Bianca Jagger, Caroline Lucas MP, Vanessa Vine (Founder of Frack Free Sussex and Britain & Ireland Frack Free).
Monday, 26th January, 12:30pm
Old Palace Yard (On the west side of St Margaret Street/Abingdon Street), opposite Parliament, Westminster, near SW1P 3JX
Please help spread the word, and join us outside Parliament to send a loud message to MPs that the UK is not for shale.
Brilliant news, just in. The first Swedish university has announced it is divesting from coal, oil and gas!
Chalmers University of Technology has long been a university showing leadership on sustainability – and now they’re selling assets in fossil fuels worth almost 5 million SEK.
The Swedish divestment movement is gaining momentum rapidly and making an impact on the climate response from its universities. Jönköping University also recently made changes to their investment policy, and we’re hoping that they and many other Swedish universities will follow Chalmers’ lead in 2015.
Swedish universities are respected institutions whose opinions and decision carry weight. A clear stance on fossil fuel divestment by them and other public institutions is a key step in dismantling the fossil fuel industry’s reputation. For Chalmers‘ executive director Stefan Johnsson this is an important first step but there’s more to be done:
“This is an issue that’s been discussed for a long time at Chalmers, and it doesn’t just concern environmental issues but is also important from a wider ethical point of view. Today we choose to divest from fossil fuel companies – but we will follow up this work also when it comes to other unsustainable companies.”
Chalmers’ decision is yet another sign that the topic of fossil free investments is becoming more mainstream. Peter Selberg, a student at Chalmers University of Technology and involved with Chalmers Students for Sustainability, said:
“I’m very happy about this decision from the Foundation – it makes me proud to be a student here. It’s wonderful to see the school take larger responsibility, also on societal and climate issues, and isn’t content with only being a place for education and research.”
Though 5 million SEK is a small portion of Chalmers foundation’s total assets, it sends a clear signal to other investors. Stefan Johnsson wants to see more transparency across th the investment sphere in the future:
Making this decision is a challenge since transparency is lacking today. In the long run, I think we’ll see new regulation take shape around this issue, demanding that e.g. banks increase their transparency. This was still an important decision for us to make – it’s difficult to teach sustainability and then not live up to what we teach.
As voices are heard louder and louder at universities, let’s continue to build momentum – join us in making this movement even stronger during Global Divestment Day. On February 13-14th, thousands of Swedes will be joining people all over the world in calling on their institutions to show real climate leadership like Chalmers has now done.
It’s still only January 2015 but already this win puts the Fossil Free movement on course for more significant successes in the year ahead.
In February 2015 Simon Nelson (from Scotland) and Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (from Vietnam) will set off on a bicycle ride from Ho Chi Minh City to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21). The aim of this trip is to raise awareness of catastrophic climate change and to inspire people to take action to stop it. The two riders will gather messages from the people they meet along the way urging the conference participants to take the action necessary to stop dramatic climate change.
The ride will take 9 months, pass through 11 countries and cover more than 15,000km. Simon said “Vietnam is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Without strong action to stop global warming it faces a very bleak future. The conference in Paris is really the last change the world has to prevent unstoppable and catastrophic climate change. We hope that by highlighting the stories of people already suffering from the consequences of climate change we can inspire people both in Vietnam and around the world to take their own action to stop climate change and help ensure the conference agrees to take urgent action to prevent catastrophe.” Kim said” “It’s crucial time to take action to save the world before it is too late”
During their trip Simon and Kim Ngan will be raising money for a project to help a community adapt to climate change in An Giang province in the Mekong Delta. They will also be raising awareness of climate change by holding speaking events at schools and in local meetings.
Simon from Scotland is a teacher and climate change activist who volunteers with 350 Vietnam. Kim Ngan from Vietnam is a writer with 4 published books.
For further information on their trip visit their website bike4afuture.com (bike4afuture.com/vi/ for Vietnamese)
Kim Ngan and Simon are available for interviews which can be conducted in either Vietnamese or English and will be based in Ho Chi Minh City until they depart.
Simon Nelson 01227377983
Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan 0984109317
Some thoughts and updates on the financial situation as it relates to the Carbon Bubble, and what it means for the divestment movement and divestment campaigns.
Not all bubbles pop in the same way – that is, not all bubbles are created equal. We may not see a steep and dramatic drop in the stock market, precipitated by a large chunk of fossil fuel reserves being stranded. The carbon bubble could pop gradually, cutting into the portfolios of pensions and endowments bit by bit. In fact, I think this is happening now (and so does the UN Climate Chief).
The stock price or value of fossil fuel companies is, in part, a reflection of the reserves (or supply) they hold on their balance sheets.
As we know, those reserves are based on a business-as-usual equation — ignoring climate change, oil price volatility, alternative energy competition, and other market forces. Now, oil prices have dropped to a six-year low – somewhere in the mid $40s – and the fossil fuel sector is falling rapidly in value.
In reaction to low oil prices, oil companies have recently announced large cuts to their capital expenditure (or the costs of maintaining or increasing the scope of their operations). BP cut development expenditures by $2 billion, Shell cut spending by $9 billion (and abandoned a $6.5 billion petrochemical plant), Exxon cut spending by $5.5 Billion, and Gazprom cut spending by 50%! The list goes on and on.
What do all of these billions and trillions (almost $10 trillion if oil prices stay below $60) in spending cuts mean? One answer can be found in indicators like the number of active oil and gas drilling rigs. Some analysts consider “rig counts” an important barometer for the drilling and oil service industry. In the US, 101 rigs were shut down over the last year, with the vast majority of those rigs being shut down over the last few months.
The other big indicator is the jobs numbers: Chevron announced plans to cut 225 jobs in Aberdeen; Suncor (Canada’s largest energy firm) expects to cut 1,000 jobs in 2015; and BP expects to cut thousands of jobs worldwide. For comparison, the solar industry added 31,000 solar jobs in the U.S. between November 2013 and November 2014. In fact, the solar industry created almost 50% more jobs than crude oil and natural gas extraction in 2014.
Some smaller companies like Apache Corp and Goodrich Petroleum are feeling this slow pop even more acutely, cutting spending 26% and 50% respectively. As carbon risk pressure grows, we may see an increase in industry consolidation (and if we’ve learned anything from the financial crisis, it’s that hyper-consolidation is a bad sign).
What does this mean for the divestment movement? For starters, it has serious implications for trustees and other fiduciaries who refuse to engage in the conversation around the moral implications of fossil fuel investments. For those exclusively willing to respond to the financial discourse, the current financial situation by itself should have fiduciaries looking at their coal, oil, and gas holdings skeptically.
If trustees aren’t looking at the current state of fossil fuel markets as a red flag, divestment campaigners should be doing all they can to point out the dangers. Because the carbon bubble is popping — gradually but surely.
On the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival we stood in silence below the night sky that was illuminated by flickering candles that spelled out our hope for a fossil-free future. In the gleaming light of the candles, our hopes shine in spite of all distractions, while in prayer we break silence, and allow words to flow out of our deepest parts.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Fossil fuel divestment runs along that logic because it follows the reasoning that wherever one chooses to put its money reflects the one’s values, hence making it not only a moral act but a political exercise that manifests our values like where one stands in the current crisis that our planet faces as an effect of climate change.
Keeping that in mind climate change is another example of how misplaced values translated into investments result in injustice. Because investment in fossil fuels profit from ecological destruction and climate change, which renders those who have been least responsible and those who have least benefitted from the burning of fossil fuels to become the most vulnerable to its impacts.
Last Wednesday, we gathered because want to draw the line against the fossil fuel industry, we want to make our hopes known especially to Pope Francis whom we applause for his progressive stance on issues that include climate change and his position on the need to look at it as a matter that is hinged on our common pursuit for justice and sustainability.
And while we look up at those words from His Holiness, we also believe that wisdom is vindicated in deeds that is why we ask Pope Francis to lead the way by making the Vatican Bank divest from fossil fuels because that would pave the way for the entire church to put a stop to a cycle of injustice exacerbated by climate change.
This is why we went out to make our aspirations known.
Candles function as a symbol of our ‘presence’ –our presence that is encapsulated in our longings which we hope would come to light in time, the consciousness of our limitations reminds us that these longings perhaps will not be realized until we’re all long gone, but the light of the candles reminds us that our hopes can, and in the mystery of our intention for a better world can, the light of the candles matter because it counts as if we are still there when the dream is fulfilled.
In the light, our hopes shine in spite of all distractions. May the light shine now more than ever.
Typhoon survivors to Pope Francis: “You are our father and we are your children, children of the storm.”
As Pope Francis began his visit to the Philippines this week, people impacted by Typhoon Haiyan created a powerful open video letter to make sure the Pope hears their stories and their plea for climate justice. Watch and share:
How and why did such an extraordinary number of people come together last September? This sociologist studies why individual citizens engage in the democratic process, and how protests come together. Watch Dana R. Fisher de-mystify some of the magic behind the size and beauty of the People’s Climate March:
Courtesy of FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films
Jonathon Porritt, one of the UK’s most respected environmental leaders, has publicly announced the end of decade long corporate partnerships between his Forum for the Future institute and both Shell and BP. He believes it is impossible for today’s oil and gas majors to adapt in “a timely and intelligent way to the imperative of radical decarbonisation.”
“These are companies whose senior managers know, as an irrefutable fact, that their current business model threatens both the stability of the global economy and the longer-term prospects of humankind as a whole.” Jonathon Porritt writing in the Guardian today.
The news comes just days after the science journal Nature published new evidence confirming what we already knew – that the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves are unburnable if we want to prevent a climate crisis.
Porritt’s very public renunciation of fossil fuel companies and their motives is warmly welcomed by the divestment movement. It shows a level of humility and common sense that throws the gauntlet down for other institutions, particularly the Church of England, who are still holding out against demands for divestment.
“Our approach is to get stuck in on ethical issues and try and have a positive influence,” said Church Commissioner Edward Mason in December.
The Church of England still has its billions invested in companies like Shell and BP and believes, utterly naïvely, that ‘shareholder engagement‘ will stop them from digging up ever more fossil fuels for profit. But Porritt said that the time for believing in engagement had now passed and that the unburnable carbon analysis has left the fossil fuel companies “entirely unmoved”.
He continues with a brilliant takedown of the “engagement is better than divestment” argument so often touted by the targets of Fossil Free divestment campaigns. It seems Porritt agrees that fossil fuels are history:
“It has been quite a painful journey for me personally. I so badly wanted to believe that the combination of reason, rigorous science and good people would enable elegant transition strategies to emerge in those companies. But we learn as we go. And go those companies surely will, if not in the near future.”
Let’s hope Forum for the Future is the first of many to seize the opportunity presented by Global Divestment Day on 13 & 14 February to publicly cut ties with this destructive industry once and for all!
As Pope Francis starts his visit to the Philippines this week, environmentalists and Filipino organizations are upping their calls for the Pope to divest the Vatican from fossil fuels. You can join their call to action by clicking here.
“We look to Pope Francis to break the political impasse preventing real action on climate change. Twenty years of climate negotiations have left the world at the mercy of political and economic circles looking to protect their vested interests at the expense of mankind and the planet,” said Yeb Saño, Philippine Climate Change Commissioner. “The climate change crisis is a reflection of a profound global moral crisis, and as such Church organizations play an important role in untangling us from this mess. One way this can be done is for the Church to examine not just the purity of its vestments but where it puts its investments.”
In the Philippines, hundreds gathered in Manila on Wednesday evening for a vigil calling on the Vatican to divest just hours before the arrival of the Pontiff. On Thursday, a Climate Justice Caravan will leave the city of Dolores and head towards Tacloban, where the Pope will be visiting. In Tacloban, during an organized luncheon with victims from Typhoon Haiyan, the Pope will be hand delivered a letter including a call for the Vatican to divest from fossil fuels.
“As Pope Francis prepares to visit the impacted communities from Super Typhoon Haiyan, we need him to stand in defence of humankind and the environment, and take the lead in actions that will help prevent further climate catastrophes,” said Lidy Nacpil, a 350.org board member and coordinator of Jubilee South–Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS-APMDD). “One such urgent action is full divestment from the fossil fuel industry. We urge the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church to lead the way.”
The events in the Philippines are being organized by local faith groups, theological schools, and development organizations. Around the world, tens of thousands of people have signed onto a petition calling on the Vatican to divest circulated by the climate campaign 350.org. On February 13 and 14, organizations are coming together for a Global Divestment Day of Action, when activists around the world will continue to pressure the Vatican and other institutions to commit to divestment.
Fossil fuel divestment has increasingly gained traction among faith communities. The World Council of Churches recently decided to phase out its holdings in fossil fuels and encouraged its members to do the same. Other religious groups supporting divestment include, the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, the Quakers in the United Kingdom, the United Church of Christ and Unitarian Universalists in the USA, and many more regional and local churches.
Since taking office, Pope Francis has issued several statements in recognition of scientific findings confirming human responsibility for climatic changes and has called on world leaders to take the necessary actions to address the current climate crisis. Later this year, the Pope is expected to present an encyclical on ecology and man’s relationship with nature to serve as a letter of guidance sent to 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests with the goal of reaching the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide.
It’s true that none of prophets didn’t use facebook but that doesn’t mean that faithful people shouldn’t. When it comes to international development and relief-related spending, the portion of faith based aid groups is one of the largest and far reaching. Some Christian development and missionary groups are reaching people like no other groups can, due to historical networks, and providing top quality services, often in health and education. The exposure to community in need, and the fundamental aspect of helping oppressed people is a powerful driver that cause some faith groups to be on the forefront of the battle to prevent a climate catastrophe.
This week, Pope Francis is schedule to visit Sri Lanka and the Philippines and pay a visit to the Tacloban, the ground zero of the impacts of climate change. This region has been labeled as the most vulnerable and least prepared to face the impacts of climate change.
While the Philippines contribute only 0.24 percent of the global emissions, it is one of the countries to be hardest hit by the impacts of climate change. Whether it’s vulnerability to more frequent and ever intensifying storms, flooding, droughts, and other extreme weather events, the story remains the same: people in the developing world are yet to have the means to mitigate and adapt to climate change that created mostly by developed world.
In the recent years, the Vatican is undergoing a radical shift toward openness, environmental values, and explicit concern for the issue of climate change. In 2007, under the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican announced its ambition to become the first carbon neutral country, through increased use of solar energy and the reforestation of 37 acres of land in Hungary. Pope John Paul II warned of looming global ecological crises brought by fossil fuels and deforestation and the Catholic Church has adopted increasingly urgent positions on climate change.
In 2001, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) declared climate change a moral responsibility for the faithful, linking it to “our human stewardship of God’s creation and our responsibility to those who come after us.” In 2011, Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, president of Caritas Internationalis, the global network of Catholic Charities agencies, called inaction on climate change “moral apartheid,” and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, in a study commissioned by the Vatican and presented to Pope Benedict XVI in 2011, framed the climate crisis in no uncertain moral terms: “We appeal to all nations to develop and implement, without delay, effective and fair policies to reduce the causes and impacts of climate change on communities and ecosystems, including mountain glaciers and their watersheds, aware that we all live in the same home.” In a May, 2014, the USCCB also stressed the need to find ways to “reduce carbon pollution,” updating its earlier teaching.
This is why we look to Pope Francis to stand with the people, and not with the powers fueling the climate crisis. We urge him to use his moral authority to set an example for the world and commit to divest from fossil fuels joining the 181 institutions and thousands of individuals worldwide who have already committed to divest from fossil fuels. The world desperately needs to usher a new era where people and planet override the incessant drive for profit-making. Next month, thousands of people worldwide will join Global Divestment Day to continue to build momentum challenging the social license of this rogue industry. It is time to write off the fossil fuel industry and free the world from their shackles of despair and corruption. It is time to get out to the streets, use facebook and twitter for the sake of all mankind.
Last night thousands of people took to the streets in all 50 US states (plus Washington DC!) to tell President Obama to reject Keystone XL now!
Over 150 events were organized in about 72 hours, and most of them took place in the freezing cold — some in the single digits. In Native American communities across the US, #OcetiRising vigils lit fires in solidarity with Oceti Sakowin pipeline fighters in the Keystone XL route. We also delivered over 500,000 petition signatures calling on the President to act now to stop the pipeline to the White House.
The cold last night wouldn’t stop us: we know that if Keystone XL is approved, it would carry 830,000 barrels per day of tar sands, the world’s dirtiest oil, with the equivalent carbon footprint of 50 new coal plants — and that’s just a little too much heat.
For years, the climate movement has organized in historic numbers to tell President Obama to reject Keystone XL. Now he could be on the brink of making a decision, after the Nebraska Supreme Court validated the pipeline’s risky route through the state. Where they failed, he can stand up strong by rejecting the pipeline and defending our land, water and climate.
Thank you to everyone who organized, marched and made some noise to stop Keystone XL yesterday!
See the story of the whole day of action here:[View the story “January 13, 2015: Nationwide Rallies to Reject KXL Now” on Storify]
What would happen if the planet treated us the way we treat the planet? Hint: It’s not pretty. Watch comedy troupe Garlic Jackson and Youtube sensation Alexis G. Zall demonstrate glacier melt, oil spills, greenhouse gas emissions, and more, in 2.5 minutes.