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Finding Hope in Climate Actions

January 8, 2013


The following are reflections on a presentation given by Bill McKibben of in Omaha, Nebraska during his ‘Do the Math Tour’ of the U.S.

Listening to Bill McKibben’s talk certainly gave me the gift of hope.  It was great to see the large crowd that had gathered, including so many young people from colleges and universities.

As a response to what I have learned I plan to do more to fight against the Transcanada Keystone XL Pipeline that will go through our state and very close to my sister’s farm in Clarks, NE.  I will write to the President, my governor and my representatives for the state of Nebraska to tell them of my concerns. I will also talk to our Mercy-sponsored ministries here in Omaha to check out whether they have investments in oil companies, and if they do, talk to them about divestment, as McKibben’s organization, is promoting.  –Sister Monica R.

My father worked for the fossil fuel industry for 43 years, so I know that we definitely have our work cut out for us as this is one of, if not the most, powerful industry on our planet right now.

I think that the divestment program is a good way to make an impact and foster accountability, but much, much more is needed. As we heard, politicians are strongly influenced by this industry, our laws favor their profitability, and there is still wide-spread and general confusion about fossil fuels and their effects on our global ecosystem.

As a former mechanical engineer, I heard stories in school, which I don’t know to what extent are accurate, about how this industry has systematically bought up and now owns the rights to many of the alternative energy patents, thereby hindering their further development. My hopes are that we can, as I think Bill rightly suggested, work for transformation of this industry to see themselves as an “energy industry” rather than just a fossil fuel industry; that one of their core motives will be eco-harmony and balance over profit; and that they will join together with this growing global movement of which is a part. In short, I pray for our future as fellow siblings on this one planet which we all share.
–Eric K., Mercy co-worker

Bill McKibben not only clearly stated the problem of too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the resulting critical consequences of climate change; he also was clear about a strategy for effectively stalling, if not stunting, the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. His strategy of blunting the power of the fossil fuel developers (i.e. Shell, TransCanada, Mobil, etc.) by asking colleges and other institutions to divest themselves of such stock could be very effective.

I’m wondering how much the Sisters of Mercy have invested in the fossil fuel developers and if we might take a look at divesting ourselves of this stock in an effort to join with others in taking a clear stand on slowing and ultimately stabilizing the progress of climate change.  –Sister Catherine K.

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