It rained and poured for 40 days and nights on Noah. The Israelites wandered for 40 years in the desert. Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness. When the number forty appears in scripture, someone is usually being tested.
When facing climate change and issues of environmental conservation and justice work, there are two tests going on. The first is taking care of the earth, which we have collectively not gotten a passing grade on for some time now. The second test is what we’re going to do about it.
As of this week, this week of Earth Day, Earth Day, we joyfully and gratefully announce that 40 presbyteries have voted to support Overture 08-01 on Directing the Board of Pensions and PCUSA Foundation to Divest from Fossil Fuel and Actively Invest in Securities that Focus on Renewable Energy. See the list of forty presbyteries.
Forty. Several are part of the Synod of the Northeast, which has already decided to divest from fossil fuels as a council. Quite a few of the concurring presbyteries are in coastal regions, facing new threats of potential offshore drilling. Some are in the middle of the United States, with pipelines passing through with great risk, connecting their regions to bigger port cities. A number of these presbyteries are actually in historic fossil fuel extraction regions, too.
No matter where these presbyteries are, we are all complicit in harming the planet. However, we can also hopefully look to the future and do all we can to serve and preserve the earth. This Earth Day, people are celebrating canvas bags, reusable straws, walking and biking, high efficiency appliances, hybrid vehicles, composting, eating local, and recycling among other ways of reducing the human impact on the planet. We are grateful to these forty presbyteries that have voted in favor of adding divestment—and reinvestment in renewable energies—to the many ways we are already trying to care for creation!
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