They’ve got the guns but we’ve got the numbers

Two items scrolled into my news feed one after the other today which gave me encouragement. It’s been a bad few weeks news-wise. Hell, it’s been a bad year – and a bad decade at that. But every once in a while there are signs that the power of the masses is still something not to be trifled with.

But first, some mood music:

Now, for the news: the United Church of Canada, the largest Protestant church in the country, announced their intention to divest completely from the 200 largest fossil fuel companies:

“Given the lack of political and industrial leadership to address climate concerns in a way that matches the scale of the problem, we wanted to signal that we are so serious about averting climate crisis that we are willing to put our money where our mouth is,” said Christine Boyle, general council commissioner and a longtime climate advocate.

And to put that in context:

The Church of England voted to sell off its coal and oilsands assets last summer, and the World Council of Churches has also committed to cutting its fossil fuel holdings.

After Pope Francis urged action on climate change earlier this summer, he faced calls from supporters to divest Vatican fossil fuel holdings.

The fossil fuel divestment movement is growing in scope and influence. It’s taking off at a pace its earliest backers could have scarcely imagined. And this was hammered home by the second item I came across, which was this:

Standard Chartered bank is pulling out of a vast coalmining project in Australia that critics say threatens endangered species and could wreck international efforts to contain global warming.

The London-based bank revealed on Monday it was giving up its role advising the Indian conglomerate, Adani, on building one of the world’s biggest coalmines in Queensland and expanding a port on the Great Barrier Reef.

Now if only we could get some major Canadian political party to commit to ending tar sands extraction.

Does it sound like fantasy? Could the state ever back down from its addiction to fossil fuel extraction?

Well…they’ve got the guns but we’ve got the numbers. Let’s put the pressure on and see what we can do.


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