Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light works to build faith-based divestment and reinvestment campaigns throughout the state. We offer tools to support your work through stories, sample resolutions, checklists, and resources for gathering information based on our experience as actors in the divestment movement. We are passionate in our own soft-spoken (sometimes) Minnesota way about divestment as a tool to defeat climate change. Contact us for support or to give us examples of your faith-based divestment work.
The Moral Call to Divestment
Our work is based in our faith. We are encouraged to do divestment work by, among others, Archbishop Desmond Tutu (check out this short video) and by 350.org founder, Bill McKibben (check out this short video).
In all faith and spiritual work, we are called to care for our neighbors as we care for ourselves. We firmly believe that as stewards of creation, we test that stewardship by the rule of love. People of faith can no longer follow the rule of love while profiting from the fossil fuel industry that is wrecking creation. As it is wrong to wreck creation, so it is wrong to profit from wrecking creation. As it is right to care for our planet and all who dwell on it, then it is right to invest our resources in just and sustainable energy. We must divest from ownership interests in fossil fuel companies to loosen their grip on economic and political power. Through the prophetic act of divestment and reinvestment, people of faith name the moral incongruence of profiting from climate change and act to change it.
Interested in supporting interfaith divestment and reinvestment around the state? Join our team. Contact Dwight Wagenius at [email protected] for more information.
Presentations and Websites
Check out MNIPL's Faith in Action Divestment Toolkit here for all the tools and information you need to run a successful divestment campaign in your community or denomination.
Greenfaith.org is a comprehensive site on interfaith divestment.
Check out Carbon Tracker 200 here for an updated list of the top 200 fossil fuel companies to divest from.
Local success stories
In Minnesota, ripples of the divestment movement are being felt in faith communities. Check out the proposed Divestment Resolution that recently came before the Unitarian Universalist Association's General Assembly this Fall at UU Resolution.
Recent success stories include UCC Divestment and the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ and the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area (of the Presbyterian Church USA). Check out more coverage of this inspiring story in the national publication Presbyterian Outlook of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Gains Momentum. Also, the regional Synods of Lakes and Prairies led the St Luke Youth lead drive for Divestment Overture.
Ingredients for Success
In our experience, three factors have helped the fossil fuel divestment movement succeed in Minnesota faith communities. Each faith institution has its own governing values, traditions, beliefs, and practices, but there are some general guidelines outlined below to use as your community works toward your divestment goals.
Connection. You will not succeed alone. Talk to people in your congregation, your local clergy, and other faith leaders to find out who is already involved and who is ready to get involved. Use Google and work your network to find out who in your faith tradition is promoting fossil fuel divestment in other places. Spend time on the phone and online building your networks.
Faith. Know the science and math of climate change and the financial implications of the carbon bubble as well as you can (and know where to go for expertise), but nourish your spiritual reasons for action even more. Read scriptures and theologians from your tradition about God’s love for all things living and still to come. Listen to prophetic sermons and lectures to help connect the dots. Pray a lot. Speak from your heart.
Open-heartedness. Make no assumptions about where others stand on this. Many people know what’s happening to our world and are in paralyzing despair about it. Your passion and this strategy may give them hope and an opportunity to act. “Speak as if you believe” Jeremiah 29:11.