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2013/11 Climate change

A couple of related links (not from the evening itself):

Notes from climate change evening at Wilson Carlisle Centre 20th Nov 2013

Guest speaker - Siobhan Grimes part of the Bright Now campaign which has grown out of Operation Noah (a Christian organisation that aims to provide a response to the problems of climate change).

The Bright Now campaign is trying to get the Church of England to divest from all fossil fuel companies - ‘If it is wrong to wreck the planet, it is wrong to profit from the wreckage’. They are trying, amongst other strands, to get the Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group to recommend against investing in fossil fuels - this group can steer the decisions around most of the money invested by the Church of England.

The reasons for encouraging fossil-fuel divestment

  • Climate change is a huge problem and it is not going to go away - already we are suffering the effects of ‘natural’ disasters around the world. The only solution is to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

  • Fossil fuel companies cannot stop extracting fossil fuels, without changing the core nature of their business. Therefore engaging / investing in companies to steer them in a more ethical direction is not really an option; divestment is the way to proceed.

  • Divestment can be seen as prophetic by the church to the world.

  • Fossil fuels is a risky investment - oil spills can wipe large amounts of share prices. It should be seen as a poor long-term investment (worth talking to pension funds about this), as if governments get their act together (and they really need to do this), the profits of fossil fuel companies should be severely hit in a few years time.

  • At the current rate of usage, we have 15-20 years more of burning fossil fuels before we cannot stop the 2 degrees of temperature rise that (almost) all world governments have agreed we cannot go above.

  • When we divest we can then use that money to invest in alternatives - such as renewable energy provision.

With issues of climate change, and other huge issues we need to remember that we all have a role to play in changing things for the better. When we work together we are powerful; we can change the minds of companies and politicians who are pushing the problems of climate change.

Sources of encouragement:

  • The World Council of Churches has recently announced clear support for efforts to tackle climate change - including calling on President Obama to scrap plans for the Keystone Oil Pipeline.

  • The modern world tells us that fulfilment comes from consumption - having more stuff
    bible talks about: justice, love, community - about people and freedom

  • There are no zero-risk options, but there are options with clear greater risks and those with lesser risks.

  • Solving global problems can only be done by working together across religious beliefs, political ideologies, across different nations - the benefits of that collaboration go further than solving the initial problem. The church should be a supportive and comforting community in the face of such issues.

  • Telling people that they have power and together we can make changes.

What can we do?

  1. Individual actions (recycling, reducing car usage, etc.)

  2. Community actions (similar, but within your community, church, etc.)

  3. Advocacy - aiming for systemic change

1 + 2 on their own will not solve the climate problems, but they lend authenticity when doing 3, which is what will make a difference. There is a limit to what we can do on our own, or in communities, as society is not currently arranged to make low-carbon lifestyles easy.

Letter writing campaigns are a good way to get politicians to take notice (10 letters on a topic = an important issue, as far as most MPs are concerned).

The ‘Hope of the Future’ campaign, organised by St Mark’s Church, Broomhill, is aiming for (at least) 10 letters to go out from churches in each constituency in the country. Bishop Steven will be commissioning individuals with the task of going out to churches in each constituency in Sheffield to encourage people to write these letters.

What is an activist?

Often portrayed as someone who breaks the law to make a point.

However, it should be someone who shows radical love, radical honesty - willing to stand up and tell truths