Hi dear ones,
Was it hot enough for you earlier this week? Yikes! 98 degrees here in San Leandro as I type this! Inevitably we’re all talking about the weather this week. On Monday I had a chance to sit outside in the 95 degree heat with my friend Matthew Hobbie, visiting from Alaska, who proclaimed, “This Alaska snowman is melting”. We discussed the heat and global warming, and how the evidence of climate change is indisputable in Alaska, even with the heavy influence of the petrol industry!
I shared stories about our recent trip to Paradise, and what a terrifying experience it was to see this beautiful town still reeling from the Camp Fire devastation from last year. Global warming is real, and our denomination is taking a bold stance to support the Green New Deal (GND) this week at our annual conference meeting.
Thank you Skyline for voting to endorse this resolution!
Thanks to Rev Jim Antol, recently retired conference minister from MA who serves as special advisor on climate justice to GM and is President of UCC, who wrote this UCC resolution. It certainly gets the award for the longest title of any resolution passed by the UCC! It’s been submitted by 4 conferences within UCC: Vermont, Pacific Northwest, New York, and New Haven Association of Connecticut. Other conferences like ours are seeking to endorse this. Before we get into the UCC resolution – I want to clarify what the GND, HR 109 is and is not.
What the congressional GND isn’t:
- It is not legislation – it’s a resolution, but people tend to mix those up
- It is not a proposal for laws to be passed
What the congressional GND is:
- It marks the 1st time that Congress has been presented with an opportunity to act on climate change by taking a vote that recognizes the scope of the challenge , the urgency of the crisis, the intersectionality of the numerous justice issues that are amplified by climate change
- It is the opportunity to act on climate in a way that also addresses racial injustice, economic injustice, and the need to create clean healthful, and family supporting jobs that our planet needs,
- It is the opportunity to deploy solutions that address all of these moral challenges
- Again, just be clear while the green deal resolution is a declaration of aspirational equipment it’s not legislation.
Here are 3 reasons why the UCC should endorse the GND.
- GND addresses the most important justice issues that the UCC has been committed to for decades. It demands that the federal government address injustice of climate change in a way that also tackles the systemic injustices that disproportionately affect vulnerable and front-line communities including racial injustice, economic injustice and the need to create clean helpful and family supporting jobs that our planet needs.
- The second reason is that the GND acknowledges the necessity of assuming moral responsibility for intergenerational harm caused by the failure to act on climate change and the urgency of acting on a comprehensive scale to reduce the catastrophic future that the next generations will inherit.
- GND offers tangible hope in the face of threats that are becoming more and more real to more people in the US and throughout the world. Or, to put it another way, it’s up to us to transform these threats into opportunities; to create fair paying jobs, secure clean air and water, redress manifestations of environmental racism, and pursue a just transition to clean and renewable energy. And we can do this!
So how will the UCC act on this enforcement? Here I’m essentially explicating what are the “be it resolved” portions of resolution. The resolution declares that the whole of the church accepts the moral responsibility that comes with living at such time as this, and we accept that moral responsibility by undertaking the following actions:
- standing up for science and continuing to learn from new science
- discussing climate change with increasing frequency at church, home and in social encounters
- telling others that we already have all the technology we need to achieve the goals of the GND
- incorporating into our worship life and community leadership an awareness of climate change, its consequences especially for vulnerable and front-line communities, and make the changes science says we must and technology says we can
- helping our communities to be more prepared for extreme weather events and to become a resource
- lifting up the reality of millions of people, regardless of their political affiliation or resolve to support the GND
- paying attention and engaging federal state and local agencies as advocates for policies and legislation that advance the goals of green new deal including its commitment to address systemic injustice, that disproportionately affects front-line vulnerable communities.
- and finally advocating for a just transition for all those workers and communities most dependent on fossil fuel energy so that they also have opportunities for clean, healthful, family supporting jobs that heal our planet.
If this resolution passes the UCC will be the first national denomination to endorse the GND. In this way, this vote would become yet another example of our UC C motto, that many of us like to remind people of, “we’re not radical, we’re just early”.
Now is the time for our denomination to add to the long list of UCC firsts by signaling to the world, that:
- the earth is God’s-it’s not ours to wreck.
- the urgency of this crisis demands immediate action
- the scope of this challenge requires us to transform our economy on a scale with no historic precedent
- that we can only solve the climate crisis if we also address racial justice, economic injustice and the need to create clean healthful and family supporting jobs that heal our planet.
- that we already have at our disposal all solutions we need to address all of these moral challenges
Yes, the GND is aspirational but who among us does not share the aspirations of our children and grandchildren to extinguish the fire that is now consuming the world into which we were born. We can do this and we will !