by Dick Gibson
Dick is responding to the recent announcement that Seattle University will become the first college in Washington State to divest from fossil fuels.
We know that fossil fuels are dangerous in the atmosphere. Now scientists are explaining how bad they are for our oceans. The combustion of fossil fuels helps to acidify ocean water. The colder the water, the more readily carbon dioxide will dissolve in it. Marine life is reacting: oysters, clams and snails are struggling to produce and maintain their shells. Coral reef ecosystems are being destroyed. Krill are less likely to hatch and amphipods will die in the acidic waters. Clown fish can't find their homes, and even sharks miss out smelling their food!
What kind of a world are we leaving our children? With no fish in the sea, no oysters or clams to eat, no coral reefs to visit, their life will be poorer and more confused.
Some regions are fighting fossil fuel use by introducing carbon taxes. WA state has an initiative on the ballot for November to put a price on greenhouse gas pollution by fossil fuels. Most citizens rely on oil, natural gas and coal for the tasks of daily life. This must end, and divesting from companies engaged in fossil fuel production will begin the process. Fossil fuels are the number one problem, as we search for solutions to our changing climate.
Seattle University, a Jesuit school, has voted to divest its endowment fund of fossil fuel companies over the next five years, joining others in the growing divestment movement. As a university and school of theology, the school has a special obligation to address climate change and to make a difference.
So the Presbyterian Church needs to see the handwriting on the wall by others, listen to prophetic requests from its own members, protect its children, and practice its theology of caring for God's creation. Divestment is paramount and needs to be accomplished with our church funds, sooner rather than later. We can not wait for more years of talking, or for negotiations which produce no results or movement by the industries. 2018 must be the year the church stands up to industry and says "NO" to ruining our climate and "YES" to the stewardship of God's gift of our abundant earth!
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