On Tuesday, September 15, Pope Francis urged nations to fight global warming according to the 2015 Paris climate accord, weighing in on issue that figures in the U.S. presidential race
“Our constant demand for growth and an endless cycle of production and consumption are exhausting the natural world,” Francis said. “Forests are leached, topsoil erodes, fields fail, deserts advance, seas acidify and storms intensify. Creation is groaning!”
He made his call in a message on the day Christian Churches mark the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. “We need to do everything in our capacity to limit global average temperature rise under the threshold of 1.5°C enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement, for going beyond that, will prove catastrophic, especially for poor communities around the world,” he said.
Pope Francis said biodiversity loss, climate disasters, and the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the poor and vulnerable were all a, “wakeup call in the face of our rampant greed and consumption.”
A future for our students
The climate crisis is upon us. In just the past month we’ve seen unprecedented wildfires, windstorms, record high temperatures, and record numbers of hurricanes. Similar devastation is playing out across the globe and this is only the beginning. Our youth are facing an uncertain future and they are demanding climate action.
The job of teachers is to prepare students for the future. This is a particularly hard year for teachers due to the pandemic and we are grateful for all that they do for our students. But while teachers are doing their job… their retirement system is funding the climate crisis. The NY State Teachers Retirement System (NYSTRS) that provides pensions for all New York teachers and support staff (except NYC), has billions invested in fossil fuels. Before the pandemic it was estimated that they had $4.5 billion invested in coal, oil and gas companies.
The future of the pension
In the past 6 months NYSTRS has likely lost $2 billion due to its investments in fossil fuels. I spoke with one financial expert and asked why we couldn’t get the current value of the stocks. He said, “The value of fossil fuel stocks is falling so rapidly, any attempt to get a number would be outdated within a few days.” NYSTRS investments in fossil fuels stocks is hurting the financial stability of the fund that teachers depend on for their retirement future.
Teachers must demand that NYSTRS Divest NOW
Teachers must demand that NYSTRS divest from all fossil fuels to save the planet and to save their pension.
According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we have ten years to dramatically change the way we live to avoid catastrophic harm. The pandemic has shown us that we can act quickly and decisively in the face of an emergency. The climate crisis has reached emergency proportions and we must act in every way possible to speed up the transition to a renewable energy future.
Divest NY Teachers (divestnyteachers.org) is a grassroots group of climate activists, students and teachers.
- SIGN the PETITION HERE to demand that NYSTRS divest. Ask your friends to sign.
- Forward the petition to any and all teachers that you know. NYSTRS is in business to provide pensions to teachers. Teachers have the power to demand that their funds not be used for climate destruction.
- Donate to Divest NY Teachers: CLICK HERE
If you would like to become active in Divest NY Teachers – contact Ruth Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-588-0187.
Great News! The Albany Loop pipeline is stopped –for now!
In its current rate increase proposal before the Public Service Commission, National Grid quietly announced that, “the Company has determined that there are adequate gas supplies …, such that we are able to temporarily defer the Albany Loop project from a supply perspective.” This, “provides a window of opportunity to … offer new solutions (e.g., renewable natural gas, geothermal) … and potentially delay or avoid the need for this and other projects.” The company, however, also stressed that plans for the line are still being explored for future years.
We at Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline (SNYFGP) fought the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline, we helped fight the Sheridan Hollow Power Plant, and now the Albany Loop pipeline, and they have all been stopped. Is this because we are great organizers? Yes, in part… But… it’s also because the fossil fuel industry is on the skids due to the worldwide climate movement. The Paris Climate Agreement signed by 189 countries which have agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and the New York Climate Law requiring a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in just 10 years, makes it virtually impossible to justify any new fossil fuel infrastructure.
SNYFGP and Community Advocates for a Sustainable Environment (CASE) will file comments in the National Grid Rate Case to demand that plans for the pipeline be stopped and instead National Grid bring wind, solar, geothermal and conservation to upstate customers. You too can speak at the public statement hearings beginning on Wednesday, September 23rd – see the action section below!
Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline/Community Advocates for a Sustainable Environment
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
- Albany Loop Fracked Gas Pipeline Proposal: E37
- Green Fair Planning
- Website Changes
Contact Becky if you want to attend and she will give you the Zoom invite:
Click on the links below to download a copy of the Power Point presentations made about National Grid’s Albany Loop Pipeline Proposal at the Community Advocates for a Sustainable Environment’s (CASE) Informational Forum on June 12, 2019 at the East Greenbush Public Library.
Jessica Azulay, Executive Director of Alliance for a Green Economy (AGE)
East_Greenbush- AGE PP
Becky Meier, Co-founder of Community Advocates for a sustainable Environment (CASE)
E-37 slide show Final