Oakland church

Archive for Fracking

Skyline Leadership for Environmental Justice

2-16-16 coal laurie davidFrom Pastor Laurie:

News outlets from the New York Times to Mother Jones Magazine have praised the leadership of California at the November UN climate summit in Paris.  The LA Times portrayed Governor Jerry Brown’s active presence in Paris as representing not only the crafting of his “political legacy” but also his preoccupation with preventing “catastrophe.”

 Yet environmental lawyers, community activists, and faith leaders are increasingly bringing to the public’s awareness what has long been California’s dirty secret. In a state known for its environmentalism, environmental racism has remained a festering, unbridled sin. 

Environmental racism is the placement of low-income or minority communities in close proximity of environmentally hazardous or degraded environments such as toxic waste, pollution and urban decay.

Skyline Community Church UCC in Oakland has been active in struggles against environmental racism here in California, particularly with respect to fracking and the proposed coal terminal in Oakland.

In November, Nancy Taylor of our Green Team and I joined together with an interfaith coalition to deliver a letter to Brown that called for a halt to fracking.

On Tuesday, Feb 9, 2016, several members of our Green Team  joined me as I addressed an interfaith rally outside Oakland’s City Hall in seeking to delay consultant work that could bring the city closer to having a coal terminal.  Becky Taylor, a former Oakland Port Commissioner and a member of Skyline’s Green Team and I spoke at the City Council meeting against coal.   In my remarks, I spoke of the pride I feel about Governor Brown’s environmental leadership in Paris, but then asked, “Why would we want to be complicit in prolonging and accelerating this environmental and humanitarian health crisis?”  

The combined will, wisdom, voice and energy of the interfaith community of Oakland, its people, and prayers resulted in the City Council voting to delay the opening a coal terminal in Oakland!

Skyline is a small but mighty force for environmental justice here in Oakland! Thank you Skyline!! 

 Here are a few articles that reference our good work! 

http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2016/02/23/californias-dirty-secret-comes-to-light-environmental-racism-meets-black-lungs-matter/

http://www.ucc.org/californias_dirty_secret_comes_to_light

No Coal in Oakland

2-16-16 ministers in front of city hall 2

Statement by Rev. Laurie Manning, pastor of Skyline Church UCC-Oakland Hills, and UCC Northern California representative for Environmental Justice at the no-coal-in-Oakland press conference outside City Hall Tues, Feb 16, 2016:

We’re all familiar with “the Golden Rule.” It’s a universal principal, an ethic of reciprocity that teaches: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It teaches us to care about our neighbors.  Who doesn’t care about the kid down the street, or down the hill breathing dirty air?

As Flint Michigan reminds us, environmental toxins particularly impact poor children of color, globally, & locally. West Oakland has many parallels to Flint. (%90 black & Latino, where residents already experience high rates of poverty and unemployment).2-16-16 Coal Nancy Laurie David

This is a local health issue. The children of West Oakland are already contending with fumes & noise from the Port. We need to ask ourselves, what if it were our own children?  

Now the proponents of the coal partnership in Oakland argue that it is bringing a $52 million investment and will bring almost $3 mill in annual property taxes and 2300 jobs.

But at what cost? What cost to the environment: excavating coal in Utah, transporting it here by rail, & shipping it by ocean to be burned in China? What cost to human lives in every step of the coal production process:  the health risks to those most vulnerable; the miners in Utah; the residents of West Oakland; and those who breathe the air in China? 

I’m so proud of Governor Brown, and his global leadership in environmental justice. Speaking out in Paris, and at 2-16-16 Becky? at CouncilVatican, Governor Brown echoed the global scientific community’s unanimous pleas to leave 90% of fossil fuels in ground. Why would we want to be complicit in prolonging and accelerating this environmental and humanitarian health crisis?

Furthermore, besides the moral argument, there’s an economic argument.  It’s a bad investment for Oakland. The demand for coal and the coal industry are rapidly failing. Why would Oakland want to invest, even in the short term, as major coal companies are going bankrupt? As Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize economist, has recently noted, “fossil fuels 2-16-16 Laurie at Councilare the way of past, renewables are way in the future – if we care about the future, we care about switching.”http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/01/opinion/wind-sun-and-fire.html?_r=0

Finally, there’s the voice of the people. According to the recent Sierra Club survey, 76% of Oakland residents are against coal in the port. 

Surely, there are healthier and safer long term sources of jobs and revenue that will benefit all of the people of Oakland.