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RPC Eco-Letter 01: Divestment

Welcome to the first RPC Eco-Letter! I hope this newsletter generates more conversation about the crisis we are in as well as the beauty of the natural world. I specifically want to highlight stories, ideas, and actions that are relevant to Reba Place Church. I want to help us think about this specific place of south Evanston that we call home. And I want to ask what this all means for us as followers of Jesus. I hope you find it helpful!

For this first one, I will jump right into climate politics and activism.

Peace, Jesse

Current Climate Politics

Let’s start with a review of climate politics. Last year was a big year for advocacy:

  • Internationally, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow showed some progress from the previous meeting, but more than anything it revealed how much work we have to reduce emissions.

  • At the federal level, Senator Manchin delayed, and continues to delay , the passage of Build Back Better. Hopefully this will pass this year—it’s still important in its reduced size and probably the last chance for federal climate legislation for the next ten years. Meanwhile, U.S. emissions in 2021 grew 6.2% compared to the previous year.

  • The biggest success has been at the state level. Illinois passed the Clean Energy Jobs Act thanks to the collaborative effort of worker unions and climate activists. What can we do when a broken government fails to provide the urgent, coordinated action the world needs? How can our church collaborate with others to work for justice and protect our common home?

Rally to Stop Funding Fossil Fuels

In the 1980’s and 90’s, international activists helped end South African apartheid by boycotting businesses that dealt will the government. In 2014, Archbishop Desmond Tutu argued for divestment from fossil fuels to address climate change, calling the crisis the “moral challenge of our time.” Churches, universities, foundations, and other institutions have already committed to divesting almost $40 trillion due to pressure from organizers all around the world. I think this progress is a real sign of hope, yet there is a lot more to be done. One major funder of fossils fuels is JPMorgan Chase which, according to Forbes, “contributes more money towards fossil fuel industries than any other bank.” Residents of Evanston are gathering at Fountain Square (across from Chase) every first and third Friday at 4:30 pm and calling on Chase to stop funding fossil fuel projects. Let’s consider joining this movement this year!

A Prayer from Desmond Tutu

Creator God, you have called us to be keepers of your earth. Through greed we have established an economy that destroys the web of life. We have changed our climate and we drown in despair. Let oceans of justice flow. May we learn to sustain and renew the life of our Mother Earth. We stand with indigenous people worldwide who are demanding restoration of their ancestral lands. We pray for our leaders, custodians of Mother Earth, that they may negotiate with wisdom and fairness. May they act with compassion and courage; and lead us into the path of justice for the sake of our children and our children’s children. Amen. (Source)

Wait, is this letter always going to be so heavy on politics and activism?

No. The next one will probably be about prairies. Okay, that might get a little political too.

Photo Request

I’d like to include a nature photo in each letter taken by someone at Reba Place Church. This could be urban nature nearby, or something from a wilderness excursion. Please submit your beautiful, interesting photos to me! Do consider that these photos will be shared publicly on the internet. If you do not submit something, you will probably get a lot more of my insect photos. Thanks!

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