Archive for August 2015

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.”

Advertisements

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

Take Responsibility

Take Responsibility

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.”

IMG_0311

Posted August 2, 2015 by allanbaker in Christian Faith

Tagged with , , ,