Council Urges Church to Sell Fossil Fuel Holdings   Leave a comment

Council Urges Church to Sell Fossil Fuel Holdings

Posted on: August 11, 2015 – 15:53 by Kevin Cox

Commissioners of the 42nd General Council are urging the United Church to sell its $8.7 million holdings in fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy co-operatives.

The Bakeapple (Yellow) Commission, one of three decision-making bodies of the Council, heard spirited arguments on both sides of the issue before passing a proposal to “encourage the United Church of Canada Foundation and direct the Executive of the General Council to take active steps to sell their holdings in the 200 largest fossil fuel companies.”

The motion also calls for the reinvestment of the funds into renewable energy.

The commission also called for the United Church pension board to review the extent and rationale for its fossil fuel investments and determine if its holdings “align with the Christian imperative of seeking justice, resisting evil, and living with respect in Creation.”

According to background material on the motion, the United Church of Canada Foundation holds $2.8 million in fossil fuel investments or 5 percent of the portfolio. The Treasury has $5.9 million in fossil fuel stocks or 4.7% of that portfolio.

Several other faith groups have made moves to divest from fossil fuel companies because of the industry’s contribution to climate change.

Jim Hannah of British Columbia Conference said the church needs to speak out about the role of the fossil fuel industry in climate change. “This is about the survival of this planet. This is about the survival of this species. For my grandchildren’s sake I want to do everything I can,” he said. “It’s going to cost us money, it’s going to cost us jobs. We’re going to have to change how we live in this world. We have to do this.”

Erik Mathiesen, the United Church’s Chief Financial Officer, said a lot of research and lobbying is being done by groups in the church on issues such as responsible investing and climate change. “The concern is that commissioners may not have all the information about everything underway,” he said.

Several commissioners said the church should hold onto its shares and use them to influence the policies of fossil fuel companies. David Pollard of Alberta and Northwest Conference said some of the large companies are doing valuable research and development work. He suggested that the church should be affirming companies that are environmentally responsible.

But Manitou Conference youth commissioner Aidan Legault said that the church’s voice hasn’t been heard at the corporate table. “Just being at the table, we aren’t making a difference. The way we can make a difference as a church and say we are not going to stand for any irresponsible environmental management by these companies is by divesting,” Legault said. “We can do it by taking our own money and saying we are going to put it elsewhere.”

Hanna Strong of Montreal and Ottawa Conference said the church would have more say if it held onto its stake. She also urged commissioners not to demonize the people who work in the petroleum industry.

“People work in this industry. In the church I have a very difficult time walking up to someone saying we have divested and you don’t have a job,” Strong said.

“It’s all great to be for the environment but there are humans on the other side of these 200 companies.”

70th Anniversary   Leave a comment

The Day the World Changed
by Jim Rice

Pick any day on the calendar, and it most likely will mark the anniversary of significant events, from the profound to the puerile.

Aug. 6 is no exception. On that day in 1965, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, intended to guarantee African Americans the right to vote (a right that, unfortunately, is still under attack). The day also marked the debut of cultural phenomena and figures from George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones (in 1996) to the births of Andy Warhol and Lucille Ball.

But it’s also the day the world changed. Seventy years ago, the city of Hiroshima, Japan, was obliterated by a single bomb. It was not only the first use of atomic weapons in warfare, but the beginning of the Nuclear Age — on which the world has spent, by some estimates, well over $6 trillion — that’s trillion with a “t.” And plans to “modernize” the U.S. nuclear arsenal (which is a euphemism for continuing to build state-of-the-art weaponry for the next 30 years) will likely cost another trillion or so.

The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by any civilized standards, represented one of the moral low-points in human history. After all, by very conservative estimates, 135,000 people died from the atomic blasts — most of them civilians, the victims of the intentional targeting of cities. Think about that — these weren’t military targets, but cities full of men, women, and children, going about their lives, destroyed in seconds by the most destructive weapons ever invented.

But the point of memorializing isn’t about the past. It’s about ensuring such things happen “never again.”

Which brings us to Iran.

Read all of what Jim Rice wrote in Sojourners athttps://sojo.net/articles/day-world-changed

   

Oligarchs And The People   1 comment

The increased concentration of wealth in “western” societies invites us to think about the oligarchs around us, and ask whether we are living in a new feudal society. Chris Hedges writes that:

The seesaw of history has thrust the oligarchs once again into the sky. We sit humiliated and broken on the ground. It is an old battle. It has been fought over and over in human history. We never seem to learn. It is time to grab our pitchforks.

CCPA Monitor, December 2013 / January 2014, page 29

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Faith   Leave a comment

A simple, and compelling definition of FAITH is presented by Brewster Kneen in his book, Journey of an Unrepentant Socialist. Kneen, in his eighth book, says that:

Faith is the conviction that there is more to life and the world than meets the eye; more than realism can see, more than all the scientists can name.”

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Posted August 2, 2015 by allanbaker in Christian Faith

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In Church of Climate Change, Good Catholics Must Practise and Preach   Leave a comment

Ian Gill challenges Christians to “walk the talk” in this article published first in The Tyee on July 25, 2015:

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2015/07/25/Good-Catholics-Must-Practise-Preach/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=250715

Although Gill writes about the Roman Catholic Church, and the encyclical Laudato Si’, all Christian denominations in Canada seem to be complicit in their lack of advocacy for the health and welfare of the Earth that sustains us. We are not living with respect IN creation. Gill writes: “Here in Vancouver, birthplace not of Christ, but anyway Greenpeace, I have searched for signs that Rome’s encyclical on the environment hasn’t accidentally been tossed in the recyclical here in our self-styled Greenest City on Earth. The signs are not promising.”

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Canada Day message from KAIROS   Leave a comment

Message from Jennifer Henry, KAIROS Executive Director, on Canada Day 2015 

On this day, when Canadians gather to celebrate our country, I will place my pride not in who we are, but in who we can become.  With the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action summary report, we have a glimpse into the history many did not want to know, and a vision of a future we must strive to realize.

I offer my deepest expression of gratitude to the survivors who in their courage peeled back a façade. We now know how churches and governments collaborated to extinguish language, culture, and identity of Indigenous children, breaking bonds of family and community, contributing to a separation of people from the land, while suppressing the spirituality that celebrated that connection.  We now know that children died preventable deaths, some further dishonoured by unmarked graves. We now know that this has led to generational trauma that continues to this day.

Because of survivors’ courage, we now know.  Because of their resilience, we all have a chance to heal. Because of their profound confidence in the power of the human spirit, our children and grandchildren can believe in a future of mutual respect.

I offer my strongest expression of appreciation to the Commissioners – Justice Murray Sinclair, Dr. Marie Wilson, and Chief Wilton Littlechild – for the sacrifices they made to hold this national conversation, to have these truths revealed to a reluctant country.  I heard them describe cultural genocide.  I heard them speak of graveyards instead of playgrounds.  I heard them describe the deep wounds within families that need to be reconciled.  And I also heard them say resilience.  Spirituality.  Self-respect.  Mutual respect. Contribution. Action. Reconciliation.  Because of their sacrifices, we have a way forward – a clear path to a transformed country.

At KAIROS, we believe that transformation is possible.  We see hope every day. In young Indigenous leaders who claim their voice and pull us, all of us, towards a more just future.  In non-Indigenous children who refuse to tolerate inequity and are committed to bring about tangible change.  In elders who against all odds are passing on language, culture, teachings and spirituality.  In Indigenous people of the South uniting with Indigenous people in Canada, helping us to understand that the struggle is global and that solidarity can flow in many directions.   In new immigrants embracing treaty responsibilities and refusing to perpetuate myths and stereotypes.  In settler Canadians craving education and change.  In communities united to protect their watersheds and build relationships of respect and sharing that reflect the original treaties that are the foundation of Canada.

At KAIROS we believe that transformation is possible, because we have faith, and we can see hope made real.  We believe transformation is possible because we are seeing it happen within our organization, and amongst our members and partners. We are seeing old relationships change and in so doing become stronger, and new ones being formed.  One by one.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action – principled, comprehensive, accessible – deserve more than superficial or cynical acceptance.  They deserve our careful reading, our study and questioning, our embrace of their challenge, our discernment of our accountabilities, and ultimately our persistence towards action.

Almost 20 years ago, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples offered a glimpse into our past and a vision for the future.  Our great failing was that so many, too many, did not have ears to hear the information it contained or eyes to see the vision it held.  In the intervening 20 years we have learned and unlearned, and we believe that many have changed.  This Truth and Reconciliation Commission report will not be shelved because Canadians will not allow it to be shelved.  It is too important. There is still much work to do, much to unlearn and learn, but this time it will be different. It must be different.

Today, inspired by Indigenous leadership – young and old – we can express our pride in who we could be, who we should be, who we must be.  We can join our hands and hearts to every Canadian – Indigenous, settler, newcomer – who pledges persistence until together we have formed a country that we can be proud of.  Persistence until we have a country where the contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people are honoured, where justice is done, where every child can expect equity and respect, and where language, culture and identity are gifts to be shared.  Let us commit to our own change, to contribute to that of our churches and communities, to show possibility in action, and to not let go.

Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action here: bit.ly/1g7gGlq

Check out KAIROS’ newest resource entitled Strength for Climbing: On the Journey to Reconciliation, part of our upcoming Winds of Change campaign, here: http://bit.ly/1T1kuTH

Follow KAIROS on Twitter and Facebook, between Canada Day and Thanksgiving, as we detail each of the #94calls2reconcile and encourage all to #ReadTheTRCReport.

Photo credit: James Park, Inspirit Foundation

Click here to make a donation to KAIROS today! 

For more information, please visit our website:
www.kairoscanada.org 

KAIROS Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
310 Dupont St. Suite 200, Toronto, ON, Canada M5R 1V9
Tel: 416-463-5312 | Toll-free: 1-877-403-8933| Fax: 416-463-5569

Is science policy a theological matter?   Leave a comment

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With his latest statement on science, technology and the environment, Pope Francis has sought to change the debate on climate change. But his statement has broader significance for the way we think about the future.

More, from the Guardian, at: http://www.theguardian.com/science/political-science/2015/jun/23/is-science-policy-a-theological-matter

 

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