Fossil Fuel Divestment Study Resources

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Wind Farm by Teddy Kwok, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

At Annual Conference 2014, Pacific Northwest Conference voted for all churches to learn about fossil fuel divestment as a response to climate change. These materials are a starting point for that work.

Some church leaders feel a sense of apprehension about leading conversations on topics like the environment or the economy because these are not their fields of expertise. It is not necessary to be a scientist in order to call for action on climate change any more than it is necessary to be a nutritionist in order to fight poverty. Addressing climate change is a complex issue, and it is a conversation that happens best over time, so as questions arise, everyone involved can study more, learn more, and grow in understanding together.

PNWUMC Divestment 101 Some basic information on the divestment movement and its relevance to the church and the world. Good for someone who wants an overview on the topic.

PNWUMC Divestment Bible Study A two-part Bible study on The Parable of the Talents  and The Judgement of the Nations designed to help church groups discuss the Biblical and theological significance of fossil fuel divestment and clean energy reinvestment. Good for adult Sunday School classes and small groups; could also be a preaching resource for clergy.

Divestment Role Play This is a discussion exercise to help participants consider multiple perspectives on the implications of divesting from fossil fuels. The exercise will take 25-40 minutes and is suitable for groups with between 6 and 36 participants.

Divestment Intergenerational Activity This activity works best in an intergenerational setting, but can also work well for a youth gathering. It is designed to engage church members across generations in reflection on the impact of consumption on future generations. It is a powerful activity because it compresses our sense of time. This activity takes about 30 minutes and is suitable for groups of 9 or more people, and it works well even with very large groups.

The Consensus Project Some people are not yet aware that there is consensus among scientists that human-caused climate change is underway. This website provides background information on the scientific consensus.

Fossil Free UMC United Methodists worldwide are discussing what it would mean to add fossil fuels to the list of industries in which the church does not invest. Delegates will consider adding fossil fuels to our socially responsible investment screens at General Conference in 2016. Learn more about the movement.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu 3.5-Minute Video Show this powerful video on climate change, the church, and divestment at your charge conference, at the start of your finance committee meeting, as a part of a sermon–any time you have a little time. Or share it in your church’s e-newsletter or on your church’s Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Climate 101 with Bill Nye Need a refresher on how climate change works? Here’s an easy overview.