31

Jan

2017

Global Divestment Mobilisation is coming soon!

 

This May, people all over the world will be taking action calling on our institutions to divest from fossil fuels and reinvest in a brighter, cleaner future.

Global Divestment Mobilisation, taking place 5-13 May, is your opportunity to join with thousands of others to highlight the climate impacts of churches, universities, local government and pension funds investing in fossil fuels and demand that they do the right thing: divest!

Why churches must divest from fossil fuels

Churches around the world have shown moral leadership in divesting from fossil fuels; they include the Church of Sweden, the World Council of Churches and most recently the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Here in the UK a number of churches have committed to full divestment from fossil fuels, including Quakers in Britain, the United Reformed Church Synod of Scotland and Brighthelm United Reformed Church.

Following its divestment announcement in September 2016, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s Environmental Coordinator, Rev. Rachel Mash, said: ‘The burning of fossil fuels is leading to climate change which will increase poverty and hunger. We are on the cusp of a transition to green energy and divestment is a practical action that churches can take to encourage this transition to take place more quickly.’

The Revd Dr Rachel Mash, environmental coordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, supporting the climate change divestment campaign

The Revd Dr Rachel Mash, environmental coordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, supporting the climate change divestment campaign

While many churches in the UK have committed to divest from coal and tar sands, they continue to invest vast sums of money in the fossil fuel industry. The Church of England invests more than £190m in Shell and BP alone, as well as investing in ExxonMobil, while the Methodist Church has £52m invested in fossil fuels.

Divestment campaigns are working – investing in fossil fuels has never been seen as more unethical and financially risky than it is today, and the movement continues to grow – with global divestment commitments reaching more than $5 trillion of assets under management.

The impacts of climate change

Global Divestment Mobilisation 2017 will focus on the impacts of climate change. By highlighting the impacts climate change is having on the lives of our brothers and sisters here and around the world, we build the moral urgency for institutions to break their ties with the fossil fuel industry driving this crisis.

The stakes have never been higher – our changing climate is leading to ever more dangerous extremes. Flood disasters have more than doubled in Europe in the last 35 years. Droughts, heatwaves and storms are causing more deaths. An unpredictable climate damages people’s livelihoods, from farmers losing crops to seasonal workers who rely on snow or sunshine.

Get involved

There are various ways you can get involved in Global Divestment Mobilisation. For instance, you could:

Get your local church to divest – arrange a meeting with your local church council, encouraging them to make a divestment commitment and to write to national church investors urging them to do the same. Please keep us posted on any progress! Note: Your church can commit to divest in support of the campaign and rule out future investments in fossil fuels, even if it does not currently invest in them.
Organise an event such as a talk or film screening.
Raise a motion calling for divestment in your regional or national church denomination structures.

We will be producing a ‘how to’ guide, ‘Divest Your Church’, explaining the process of divestment and reinvestment, which will be available in early March 2017. Please let us know if you would be interested in this resource or having a speaker from Operation Noah at your church.

Other faith organisations supporting Global Divestment Mobilisation include Quakers in Britain and Christian Aid. Quakers in Britain are inviting local and area Quaker meetings to commit to divestment or to organise an event to get going on the journey. Christian Aid’s campaign is calling on the biggest high street banks to make The Big Shift away from fossil fuels and towards a zero carbon future.

The Global Divestment Mobilisation website is now live, with information on actions taking place (where you can add yours) and details of what faith organisations are doing.

For more information and support, or to let us know what you’ve got planned, contact James on james.buchanan@operationnoah.org.