Clergy, Lay Leaders, and People of Faith – A Call to “Light the Path Forward”

Light the path forward:

Candlelight vigil to remember the impacts of coal ash

Two Candles

Wednesday, April 30th, the eve of the Duke Energy annual shareholder meeting
7:30 to 8:30 PM
New Duke Energy Headquarters, 550 South Tryon St, Charlotte, NC
Map

Facebook: Light the Path Forward

RSVP

Faith traditions around the world have a rich heritage of preserving and protecting the environment and speaking out on environmental justice issues (see below). That’s why we need clergy, lay leaders, and people of faith to join us and send Duke Energy, their Board of Directors, and major shareholders a message calling for a new path forward. This is an opportunity to speak out and show our solidarity on three key issues:

Climate Disruption – The recent IPCC report “Climate Change 2014 Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” and the NBC news “Our Year of Extremes: Did Climate Change Just Hit Home?” illustrate how communities are suffering the impact of climate disruption. Changing the business practices of Duke Energy, the largest investor owned utility in the world, will send a strong message that we have a moral obligation to act on climate change.

Coal Ash Clean Up – Clergy and lay leaders have a responsibility as stewards of our environment to speak out to preserve and protect our air, water, lands and the health of our communities. Duke Energy must take immediate action to stop their coal ash pollution, remove the coal ash from our drinking water supplies, store the dry coal ash in properly designed and monitored lined containments that do not place extra burdens on low income and communities of color.

Cost of Coal Ash Clean Up – Duke CEO Lynn Good has gone on record as saying that rate payers will be charged for coal ash clean up in North Carolina. Duke Energy has profited for years from avoiding dealing with safe, long term storage of coal ash. We need the faith community to speak out about the potential impact on seniors, those on fixed income, the un/underemployed, and businesses and schools in our communities.

Make plans to join us and to help announce this gathering. Please RSVP to Bill Gupton or for questions and more information.

Faith, the Environment, and Environmental Justice

Catholic Church

“The vocation of being a “protector,” however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live”

~ Pope Francis, [ Homily of Pope Francis, 19 March 2013.]

Islam

Allah, in His Wisdom, appointed humans, the creatures that He has conferred with the faculty of reason and with free will, to be His vice regents on earth. And while Allah has invited people to partake of the fruits of the earth for their rightful nourishment and enjoyment, He has also directed them not to waste that which Allah has provided for him—for He loveth not wasters.

~ Hyder Ihsan Mahasneh, biologist and Islamic scholar, [Faiths and Ecology: Islamic Faith Statement]

Judaism

‘Therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live’ (Deuteronomy 30:20). Humankind has solemn obligation to improve the world for future generations. Minimizing climate change requires us to learn how to live within the ecological limits of the earth so that we will not compromise the ecological or economic security of those who come after us.”,

~ Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, [Confronting the Challenge of Climate Change, 06/1998]

Buddhism

The scientific consensus is overwhelming: human activity is triggering environmental breakdown on a planetary scale… Collectively, we are violating the first precept—“do not harm living beings”—on the largest possible scale. And we cannot foresee the biological consequences for human life when so many species that invisibly contribute to our own well-being vanish from the planet…

~ The Dalai Lama, [The Time to Act is Now: A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change]

Unitarian Universalist Association

“As Unitarian Universalists, we are called by our seventh Principle to affirm and promote “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

~ 2006 Statement of Conscience, [Threat of Global Warming/Climate Change, 2006]

Other Christian Traditions

Southern Baptist Conference

[A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change]

Evangelical Christianity

[Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action]

Episcopal Church

[Unnumbered Resolution: The Episcopal Church commits to Climate Justice for all God’s People and all God’s Creation, July 2012]

National Association of Evangelicals

[Loving the Least of These: Addressing a Changing Environment (pdf), 2011]

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

[Carbon Neutral Resolution, 2008]

Christian Reformed Church

[Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony in 2008]

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

[Environment Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice, 08/28/1993]

United Church of Christ

[A Resolution on Climate Change,2007]

United Methodist Church

[ Issues: Climate Justice]

Source: FCNL: http://fcnl.org/issues/energy/faith_statements_climate/

 

 

McCutcheon, the Koch Brothers and their other Billionaire Polluter Buddies – April 16th

Sierra Club - Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Dear Friends,

Find out how to take action to save our democracy from the torrent of big polluter money unleashed by McCutcheon v FEC on Wed, April 16

Take Action against money in politics

RSVP here

Meet Shaun McCutcheon. He’s the coal company executive whose case before the Supreme Court argued that billionaires like him should be able to write even bigger campaign checks. And now he’s taking a “victory lap” to celebrate, making plans with his billionaire buddies to funnel even more money into our elections.[1]

But we’re not taking this lying down. On the day the Supreme Court handed down the McCutcheon v FEC case, within hours in 150 cities across the country we and other members of the Democracy Initiative held rallies opposing their decision to sell out our democracy to the highest bidder.

Wednesday, April 16th at 8 pm EST, join us and activists from across the country to discuss the impact of the disastrous McCutcheon decision, to celebrate the successes of the rallies, and to learn more about what we can do next to fight back together.

When McCutcheon, the Koch Brothers and their other billionaire polluter buddies speak, they shout down the free speech of citizens like you and me. If we want to switch to clean, renewable sources of energy and solve the problems of climate change, we must first fix the climate in our elections.

McCutcheon and other polluters can write their checks. Their money may talk, but it doesn’t walk. Join us to find out how to take action.

Event Details

WHO: You, Sierra Club, members of the Democracy Initiative including Public Citizen and Demos
WHAT: Exclusive  town hall webinar on how to take action against the disastrous McCutcheon decision
WHEN: Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT
WHERE: Your computer!

RSVP: http://action.sierraclub.org/McCutcheonTownHall

Questions? Contact Democracy.Program@sierraclub.org

Thank you for everything you do for our environment and democracy,

Courtney Hight
Director, Democracy Program
Sierra Club

P.S. To fight back against the onslaught of money unleased by McCutcheon, we need to build a movement. Forward this email to your friends and family and share on your social networks.

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References

[1] “Shaun McCutcheon’s Victory Lap,” Politico, April 12, 2014.

Solarize Charlotte Kick-Off Meeting – April 15, 6:30 PM

Solarize Charlotte Single

Solarize Charlotte Kick-Off Meeting

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Area 15
514 E 15th St, Charlotte, NC
(map)

We have exciting news about renewable energy! This spring and summer we will be building broad and diverse support for rooftop solar by “Solarizing” Charlotte.

Please join us to learn more about the program and how to get involved in outreach. This is an evening you don’t want to miss!

“Solarize” is a Department of Energy-endorsed program that is designed to increase access to distributed solar by removing historic barriers to solar–including cost and hassle. This time-limited opportunity uses grassroots networks, bulk purchasing discounts, and tax incentives to provide home owners in Mecklenburg, Gaston, Union and Cabarrus Counties with cleaner and cheaper energy options.

We believe that solar is for everyone and we want Solarize Charlotte to be a strong and diverse effort. A critical component of the program is an intentional outreach and education drive to get the word out about Solarize.

Together we can bring Solar to Charlotte.

 

Host a Gasland Part II house party – Keep NC Frack Free

Sierra Club - Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Dear Friends,

Sign up to host a Gasland Part II house party!

Host a Gasland Part 2 house party!

Host a Gasland Part II house party!

If you haven’t seen Gasland Part II yet, now is your chance.

Filmmaker Josh Fox picks up where he left off in Gasland Part I and examines the long-term impacts of fracking, including reports of poisoned water, earthquakes and even neurological damage. He takes this camera abroad to share the experiences of Australians whose lives have been irreparably changed because of fracking.

The U.S. is at a fork in the road: invest in clean, renewable energy or continue to rely on “all of the above”– meaning more fracking all across our communities and public lands. With millions of acres of land in jeopardy, it’s up to activists like you to tell President Obama to keep those dirty fuels in the ground to protect our climate, our public lands and our communities.

You can help by hosting a house party. Invite your friends and family to screen Gasland Part II, and give everyone the opportunity to show their support for protecting our communities, our climate and our public lands from fracking.

As a host, you would:

  • Pick the date for your house party between April 28 and May 9 and register your party online.
  • Invite your friends, family, and neighbors.
  • Encourage your guests to get involved by taking action.

All house party hosts within the U.S. (excluding Puerto Rico) will receive a free copy of Gasland Part II. We have a limited number of copies, so sign up early! A downloadable house party guide will be provided, too.

Register your Gasland Part II House Party today!

Thanks for all that you do to protect our environment,

Deb Nardone
Director, Keeping Dirty Fuels in the Ground Initiative
Sierra Club

P.S. If you have friends or family who would be interested in hosting their own house party, please share this email with them

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Take Action: Oppose Dirty Energy, Support Clean Energy

Speak out today!

Take Action: Stop a Flood of Natural Gas Exports Take Action: Stop a Flood of Natural Gas ExportsLegislation has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that would rubberstamp exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the U.S. without any review or protections in place for the American public and our environment. This would essentially open the floodgates for natural gas exports, leading to more hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) here at home and more climate-disrupting pollution.

Take Action
Tell your senators and representative to oppose legislation that would rubberstamp liquefied natural gas exports!


Take Action: Tell the Senate to Protect Clean Energy Jobs Take Action: Tell the Senate to Protect Clean Energy Jobs

Last week, the Senate Finance committee moved to extend a package of critical clean energy tax credits, including the production tax credit for wind. We need the Senate to vote on this package immediately to ensure that clean, cheap, American-made clean energy continues to grow.

Take Action
Please tell your senators to bring the EXPIRE Act to the floor and vote yes.

Don’t Miss “Years of Living Dangerously” – Starting April 13

Don’t Miss “Years of Living Dangerously” – Starting April 13

“YEARS of LIVING DANGEROUSLY is global warming like you’ve never seen it before.  Coming to SHOWTIME in April, this multi-part television event tells the biggest story of our time: climate change and the impact it’s having on people right now in the US and all over the world.  Over the course of eight episodes, we’ll report on the crippling effects of climate change-related weather events and the ways individuals, communities, companies and governments are struggling to find solutions to the biggest threat our world has ever faced.  An all-star cast of correspondents goes into the field—to Texas, Kansas, California, Colorado, New York, Maine, Montana, Washington, the Carolinas, Florida, the Middle East, Africa, the Andes, the North Pole, Indonesia, Bangladesh and the South Pacific—to meet the people and see the places affected by climate change.” (via yearsoflivingdangerously.com)

Celebrities including Matt Damon, Jessica Alba, Don Cheadle, Olivia Munn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, America Ferrera, and more are acting as correspondents to share these climate stories and solutions from around the world.

Watch for Ian Somerhalder (Lost, Vampire Diaries) interviewing Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal director, and Anna Jane Joyner, Western North Carolina Alliance activist. Parts of the episode are set right here in Asheville, NC, including Duke Energy’s Lake Julian coal plant. In 2013, City of Asheville unanimously passed a clean energy resolution. In 2014, community members are asking Duke Energy NC to stop living dangerously and move beyond coal to a clean energy future.

Years Mary Anne

 

Don’t Miss a Fracking Good Time! – March 27

Please make plans to take part in a powerful event this March 27th at 6:30 PM! Charlotte is one of only 2 North Carolina locations chosen for the national fracked communities tour. You’ll definitely want to hear the stories and learn how we can help protect our air, water, and lands.

STFA-NC-Tour-Meme-5

Can you join us on Thursday, March 27th at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte to hear how fracked communities are fighting back?

Fracking wells, industrial zones, and contaminated water. Those are the realities that people across the country are living with where fracking exists. We know that North Carolina isn’t worth the risk, and some friends are coming to town to help us fight back.

“Cautionary Tales of Fracked Communities,” a nationwide speakers tour, is coming to Charlotte to help us in our fight. It’s a chance to hear from people living in the shadow of gas rigs, and learn how they are fighting back.

Thursday March 27 at 6:30 PM

Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte

 

234 North Sharon Amity Road

Charlotte, NC 28211

Speakers will include:

  • Karen Feridun, a grassroots activist from Kutztown, PA who is fighting against fracking in her community. She helped convince the Pennsylvania Democratic party to add a Fracking Moratorium to their party platform.
  • Jill Wiener, small business owner turned activist from New York who has been leading the charge to keep fracking out of New York.
  • Robert Nehman, a father from Iowa whose life was turned upside down after frac sand mining came to his town

The second part of the meeting will be a training on how to meet with elected officials.

Together, we can keep fracking out of North Carolina, and ensure that the next series of cautionary tales aren’t from the Tarheel state.

See you there!

Fracking Tour Sponsors

Bad Reputation

Coming Clean: The blog of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune

March 7, 2014

Bad Reputation

Michael Brune

The toxic industrial spills in West Virginia and North Carolina over the past weeks have delivered the first hard lesson of 2014: Never take safe drinking water for granted. And yet the natural gas industry has been asking us to do exactly that for years now.

No more. This year, the myth that natural gas is a “cleaner” fossil fuel will be dispelled for good. Natural gas drilling not only can contaminate water supplies — it’s clear that it already has. What’s not so clear is why state and federal agencies that are responsible for protecting our water supply have been so slow to acknowledge and respond to that reality to the extent that fracking for gas remains exempt from parts of the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. It’s a problem that goes all the way to the top, as President Obama’s insistence that natural gas should be viewed as a “bridge fuel” to a clean-energy future shows.

Late in December, the inspector general of the EPA released a report (at noon on Christmas Eve) that found the agency had been correct to issue an emergency order in 2010 after getting reports that natural gas fracking operations had caused methane contamination of water wells in Parker County, Texas. Texas fossil-fuel regulators and Range Resources (the company doing the fracking) pushed back, though, and the EPA ultimately backed down.

That was a mistake on the EPA’s part, as has shown by multiple further tests that showed contamination. Results from the most recent tests, conducted last year by Robert Jackson, a professor at Duke University, are currently under peer review and will be released later this year. The professor did share the results with homeowners whose water was affected, though, who then shared them with the Associated Press (AP), which reported:

Jackson found higher levels of methane in some water wells — sometimes five to 10 times higher — than what Range Resources’ tests showed. In some cases, the levels are five times higher than the 10 parts per million per liter set as a threshold limit by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Jackson himself told the AP: “We’re seeing high methane concentrations and that result alone indicates to me that EPA closing the case was premature.”

What happened to homeowners in Texas would be disturbing even if it were an isolated case, but it’s not. In January, the AP reported that contamination from oil and gas wells has been reported in at least four states where fracking is booming, and that contamination has been “confirmed in a number of them, according to a review that casts doubt on industry suggestions that such problems rarely happen.” In Pennsylvania alone, “more than 100 cases of pollution were confirmed over the past five years.”

Across the U.S., utilities are preparing to replace old, polluting power plants that run on dirty fuels. The temptation, unfortunately, is to replace one dirty fuel (coal or oil) with another — natural gas. We cannot afford to let that happen. Besides the obvious threat that fracking poses to our water, choosing to burn more natural gas inevitably means choosing to add more climate-polluting carbon to our atmosphere.

That’s an especially poor choice because, thanks to lower costs, clean-energy alternatives have never been more competitive. When the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission recently asked a judge to evaluate competing energy proposals, he ruled that a plan based on solar arrays would be better for Minnesota’s ratepayers than one based on natural gas. By “better,” he didn’t mean “cleaner” (although that would certainly be a bonus). He meant it would be a better deal for them financially.

If Minnesotans are better off with solar power, then why would sunny Southern California opt to replace the defunct San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station with dirty natural gas plants? Why would sunny Southwestern states or windy Midwestern states choose to shackle themselves to another fossil fuel for decades to come?

A growing movement is working to make sure that everyone knows exactly what a dirty and dangerous choice natural gas really is. But the other side of that coin is an even more important message. We have better choices — choices that will deliver truly clean energy, that put more Americans to work, that and often will save money. Let’s move beyond dirty fuels and build an economy powered by clean energy.

Let President Obama know he’s got it wrong this time — natural gas is dirty, dangerous, and anything but a clean energy solution.