Whittier organization urging faith communities to divest from fossil fuels

Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, a Whittier-based organization, is launching a campaign Wednesday on Earth Day to enlist 50 faith-based communities in fossil-fuel divestment campaigns by Earth Day 2016.

The kickoff event will be held at the state Capitol Mall at 2:30 p.m.

The “50 for Faith and Our Future” campaign asks faith-based organizations to remove fossil-fuel investments from their foundation, endowment and general fund portfolios over the next five years. It also encourages the faith communities’ members to divest from fossil fuels with their own investment portfolios.

Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light will hold seminars and provide faith organizations with experts on divestment.

“Climate change is an urgent environmental concern, but also a social-justice issue,” said MNIPL Program Director Erin Pratt. “Low-income and communities of color all over the world are disproportionately affected by fossil-fuel extraction and the impacts of climate change.  We call on all faith communities to join us in caring for the Earth and all of our brothers and sisters by divesting from fossil fuels and reinvesting in a green, clean future.”

The Minneapolis City Council voted March 20 to make it city policy to divest from fossil fuel companies.

The divestment resolution applies to the top 200 fossil fuel extraction and refinery companies that have the world’s largest reserves of coal, oil and natural gas. It does not apply to utilities such as Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy. The city has a new Clean Energy Partnership with the utilities to advance the city’s environmental goals.

Cities, educational institutions and faith groups around the world are part of a growing movement adopting divestment campaigns. 

(Editor’s note: The Journals have launched “Confronting Climate Change,” a series of stories and commentary examining how local leaders, residents and businesses are addressing climate change.)