Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected by the atrocity in Manchester this week. Climate change can only exacerbate some of the main causes of terrorism – one response to Monday night is to continue to fight for a stable climate.
A coalition* of faith and non-faith groups are joining together to call for the Church of England to divest from ExxonMobil on Wed 31st May.
Join us for a pick-and-mix day of banner holding, leafleting, cycling and contemplation! There are three activities:
- Demo outside Exxon’s Fawley refinery. Meet at 06:00 for 06:30 start in the field next to Fawley Church SO45 1SQ. Has to be this early to engage with staff/contractors/media. Only an hour or so. Plenty of public parking on Church Lane between the village and the refinery (Map of Fawley). The demo (and the parking) will comply with legitimate public protest and police requirements.
2. Time to Cycle bike ride between the two venues (optional). Meet in the field next to Fawley Church SO45 1SQ. Leaving at 9.30am. Please alert all keen cyclists in your area! Cycling route maps will be organised. We are hoping to have a cycling support vehicle available. Trains home accessible from Salisbury Railway Station.
3. Divest Exxon Vigil outside Salisbury Cathedral. Meet at 4pm outside the High Street (north) entrance to the Cathedral Close. Vigil for all faiths and none, followed by short Christian prayer service, probably one hour. Processions from other spiritual sites in Salisbury tbc. A letter requesting that the Church of England divests from ExxonMobil will be handed to the office of the Bishop of Salisbury, the lead bishop for Environmental Affairs in the Church of England.
In our opinion Exxon is an unethical company. There is evidence they covered up their early knowledge of climate change and they are currently under investigation by the Attorney Generals of several US states. There is evidence they have been funding climate denial organisations for decades. They are giving every indication they intend to continue extracting fossil fuels beyond the earth’s internationally agreed safety limit of max 2 degrees warming.
Fawley is the only ExxonMobil refinery in the UK, and is the largest and most complex in Europe.
Why 31st May?
We picked Wed 31st May, because this is the date of the ExxonMobil AGM in Houston, USA. At this AGM, a coalition of investors, including the Church of England, will be pressing the company to disclose the extent to which global action to tackle climate change will negatively impact the company’s future earnings.
Shareholder engagement is often an excellent way to make a company more ethical. But it takes time. And we don’t have time. And this resolution is a ‘step zero’ in the task of fixing Exxon. It is simply asking Exxon to disclose the effect of climate change on its business when we should be asking the exact opposite – for it to disclose the effect of its business on climate change. And to act on that information. The current resolution, with its focus on finance and taking the most minor of steps possible in this race against time is participating in the lie that the science going on in our atmosphere will wait around until we can be bothered to fix it. In these post-truth times, we think that the Church needs to stand up for truth and beware of being used to add colour and shine to the image of these companies whose business plans are set to destroy Earth’s ability to sustain life as we know it. The resolution is a distraction. The Church of England needs to get out of oil and gas, starting with Exxon. If the motion is defeated, they must divest from Exxon. If the motion goes through, they must divest from Exxon.
Why the Church of England?
The Church of England says it is an ethical investor, and has divested from some coal and tar sands. But it still has millions invested in Exxon.
The vigil will express support for a recent divestment decision that may have been influenced by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the letter to the Church Times by 3 bishops and 27 other clergy on 5/5/17 on why the church pensions board should divest from fossil fuels.
If you agree that good people’s money should not be invested in a bad company, please join us for one of, or all of our Divest Exxon Day! Hoping to see you there. This is, politically, a cross-party event. Like-minded groups welcome. Musicians welcome. Coffee, tea, butties and cake especially welcome!
Please drum up as much support for this as you can. We want – we need – divestment.
Whether or not you make it, if you would like to register your support for the Church of England to divest from fossil fuels, there is a petition here.
For more information, email email@example.com .
*The coalition includes 350.org, Christian Climate Action, Fossil Free UK, Grandparents for a Safe Earth, Salisbury Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, Salisbury Greenpeace, Salisbury Quakers, Southampton Greenpeace, Time to Cycle, Wessex Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement.