When people step out of their comfort zones and take a stand for peace, justice, and environmental sanity, it is a form of prayer. It is an embodied form of hope for transformation and faith in the future. Yet people who take such stands are often dismissed or persecuted, just as prophets have been persecuted through the ages. Today it is our youth. Some are congratulating them for their activism, but they are also being insulted and called names for marching for their lives, standing up to the ruling Powers, and demanding reasonable gun laws and safe schools.
“Resisting the Green Dragon: A Biblical Response to one of the Greatest Deceptions
of our Day,” that is, environmentalism. Paris, Trump, and the Religious Right
Note: This article includes excerpts from my book, Love in a Time of Climate Change, to be released by Fortress Press in July. Like many of you, I am appalled by many things that Donald Trump has said and done in the first months of his presidency, including his announcement that he’s pulling the United States out of the (largely symbolic) Paris Climate Agreement. But we must look beyond the daily spectacles of the Trump Administration to see what’s really going on. Now that Republicans dominate Congress, they are quietly working to enact regressive policies that have been in the works for decades, policies that target the poor, people who are sick, people of color, immigrants, women, our young and aged, and yes, the environment.
Yesterday I was arrested at Beale Air Force Base, near Marysville, California, along with seven others. We were charged with trespassing. This video of me speaking was filmed after we crossed the line onto the base. In it I begin to explain the connections between US military policy and climate change. The letter that we attempted to deliver to the base commander gives a more detailed explanation of our concerns and our reasons for demonstrating.
Starting Monday, November 30, government officials, corporate heads, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) will meet for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) for climate negotiations, this time in Paris. World leaders and other official summit attendees will be protected by greatly enhanced security because of the tragic terrorist attacks. Civil society won’t enjoy such protection because demonstrations in Paris have been prohibited. But around the world people will gather to pray for solace for the victims of Paris and other recent attacks, for the success of the climate talks, and for peace. People around the world will also gather to demonstrate and call on world leaders to take strong action to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
Memorial Day seems a fitting time to review the movie “Goodkill,” now playing in theaters around the country. The movie, based on actual events, portrays a morally-conflicted and psychologically-tormented operator of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or “drones”), played by Ethan Hawke. Even though the plot includes some obvious Hollywood enhancements, it presents some basic facts about drone warfare, facts that are little known to the U.S. public. For instance, drone operators accidentally kill civilians, but sometimes see that civilians (including children) are present and proceed (or are ordered to proceed) anyway. “Signature strikes” do not target individually-recognized terrorists, but groups that fit a particular profile.
Check out the many divestment actions that are taking place around the world today–Global Divestment Day. The movement to divest from fossil fuels undermines the system that is causing climate change. The worldwide system of unrestrained free-market capitalism, dominated by global corporations and fueled by money, is based on the view that market forces will sort everything out. Those of us who are working to get our churches, synagogues, colleges, and other institutions to divest from fossil fuels are challenging this system by saying, “Money is not the highest value.” There are good financial reasons to divest from fossil fuels, but even if there weren’t, “If it’s wrong to wreck the planet, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.”
The largest climate march in history was held Sunday, September 21 in New York. Sharon Delgado reminds us why it is still our time to take a stand against climate change as she discusses the new documentary that connects capitalism and community to the climate crisis. Delgado asks, “Do we have the wisdom to survive? The answer is related to community. We are connected by our shared grief at what is happening to the earth and by our shared hope and commitment to the future.”
Non-violent demonstrations in Beale, California, the home of the Global Hawk Drone, a surveillance drone that identifies targets for armed Predator and Reaper drones, will continue. History has shown that sustained nonviolent resistance is an effective means of social transformation.
Today’s Supreme Court Ruling on McCutcheon vs. the Federal Elections Commission(FEC) is yet another nail in the coffin of U.S. democracy. The high court struck down the right of “We the People” to establish laws limiting overall campaign contributions by individuals. Such limits have been set in an attempt to create a level playing field in our democracy for rich and poor alike. The political playing field was already unequal, since over the years the Supreme Court has increasingly granted civil rights and constitutional protections to corporations.