Faith leaders from around the world gathered in Glasgow to share how faith communities, which represent some 80 percent of the world’s population, can lead the way to a just transition through divesting from fossil fuels.
Glasgow is the host city of the United Nations 26th Climate Change Conference, which is scheduled to finish on Saturday. The world is watching and praying that world leaders set even more ambitious targets against the climate crisis before concluding the two-week summit.
WATCH: COP26 event: Fossil Fuel Divestment, Climate Justice and a Just Transition for All
Dr. Lorna Gold, chair of the Laudato Si’ Movement Board of Directors, urged faith-based institutions to divest from fossil fuels and also made clear that more action is needed once a commitment is made.
“Of course divestment is not the last word in this story by a long shot. We need to engage in a just transition,” she said. “We’re at the start of a very long journey in terms of using divestment as a springboard to systemic change.
“But I think that the key thing here is that faith matters, faith institutions matter. Faiths are major stakeholders in the financial world and what we as faiths do can send a huge prophetic message and also a substantial financial message.”
THEY SAID IT
Mark Campanale, Founder and Executive Chair of Carbon Tracker
“The problem is not too little fossil fuels; it’s too much fossil fuels,” he said. “As we divest, we have to invest. We have to invest in the future of these technologies.”
Bishop Olivia Graham, Bishop of Reading in the Church of England Diocese of Oxford
Let us divest our hearts of greed and selfishness and invest our hearts in faith and love and courage and generosity.
Pastor Ray Minniecon is the Pastor of Scarred Tree Indigenous Ministries at St. John’s Anglican Diocese of Sydney
“We sit in our pain and our suffering. We bury our dead daily, and we look for hope in the church. But it’s an empty hope. Because we don’t see the kinds of outreached hands that we’d love to see. That Jesus demonstrated from the cross.”
Sally Foster-Fulton, Head of Christian Aid Scotland
“What we really really need to do is stop and listen and learn from our sisters and brothers in the Global South who have had nothing to do with this but who are suffering every single day,” she said.
“I know that this is messy. But the science is telling us we don’t have time to play around, we don’t have time to take our time. We have to make these changes yesterday.”
James Buchanan, Bright Now Campaign Manager at Operation Noah
On engagement with fossil fuel companies: “The time to do that has passed now and it’s just time to divest.”