Perth Anglicans join growing divestment movement

divestment movement

The Anglican Church of Perth announced it would divest from fossil fuels. Creative Common: Allan Rostron, 2009

The Anglican Diocese of Perth has joined the growing list of institutions choosing to divest from fossil fuels, as it voted to move its money away from dirty energy and direct investment into clean, socially responsible energy investments.

At its annual Synod, held this weekend, divestment was the hot topic, with the Diocese directing its investment board to produce a report within the next 12 months detailing how best the institution could make such a shift.

It joins 45 other religious organisations, 29 cities, 13 universities – including Stanford –  and several foundations making such a move.

The Church’s investment body currently holds shares in a number of environmentally damaging companies, including the mining industry.

Members have pledged to divest from these, as well as examine their investments in commercial property and money paid into  interest bearing accounts, in order to ascertain to what extent they are exposed to fossil fuel investments.

Speakers at the Synod urged the Church to stop profiting from industries that cause climate change and highlighting the theology of creation; that God’s love extends not only to human beings, but to the whole of creation.

Anglican EcoCare speaker the Reverend Evan Pederick said:

“In an ecological age, the ethic of reciprocity extends to the Earth and all its living creatures, and it certainly extends to the poorest of the world’s poor, and to our children and our children’s children. We must love what God loves.”

Members agreed that climate change was having an adverse affect on all the living systems of the world, and if action was not taken to prevent it, would severely affect agriculture and access to fresh water that would further disadvantage the world’s poor.

Also on the agenda was a motion passed to call on the Federal Government to set up an effective carbon pricing mechanism, and to urge the Government to participate actively in international forums in the run up to the 2015 UN conference in Paris.

It was also decided that the Church would put pressure on the Western Australia Government to take heed of scientific and medical issues voiced about shale gas fracking, to ensure that environmental and social impact studies are made publicly available, and that the power of veto is awarded to both local communities and landowners.

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