The environment was an important focus for Commissioners to the General Assembly.  Several overtures were submitted for their consideration.  Our presbytery had previously voted to concur with the “Sustainable Peace Pledge,” an overture originally submitted by the Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery.  The overture calls for acknowledging the important interaction between environmental issues and justice. The poor, people of color and Indigenous peoples are almost always the ones most hurt by climate and pollution issues.  The overture calls for consultation and coordination of all PCUSA entities involved to work together with each other and with other faith and environmental groups in focused and sustained efforts.  The committee learned that there is a global movement called the “One Billion for Peace Pledge,” that inspired this overture, and the decision was made to change the name of the overture accordingly.  The full assembly adopted the “One Billion for Peace Pledge.” (information found here)

Another Environmental Overture was ENV- 02, a call for complete divestment from the fossil fuel industry.  The 226th General Assembly voted to approve that, then reversed itself in the afternoon in order to accommodate existing efforts of PCUSA staff and others to engage in constructive dialogue with fossil fuel industry representatives. The Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) has been deeply involved in efforts to modify the fossil fuel industry’s more destructive policies and actions.  GA adopted ENV-06 instead of ENV-02 that, instead of calling for total immediate divestment, directed MRTI to immediately identify the top 10 fossil fuel companies that derive most of their profits from the exploration, development, and production of fossil fuels and immediately divest from them.  This allows for more time for constructive engagement with other companies. (information found here)

GA also approved ENV-03, calling for vigorous efforts to become free of plastic, and ENV-04, which requires that mining for Lithium, in the US or abroad, must be undertaken only with the “free, prior, and informed consent” of any Indigenous or other communities affected.

Congregations are encouraged to look into practical help that is available for making our buildings more energy efficient.  The Environmental Committee sponsored a brief presentation to the full assembly by a high-ranking Treasury Department official about grants available to churches to help make energy-efficient improvements to church buildings and property.  Falling under the government’s Inflation Reduction Act, they are definitely worth looking into!

Rev. Dr. Aline Russell
Member at Large
Presbytery Earth Care Coordinator

1 Comment

  • Posted July 9, 2024 5:52 pm
    Ellie Stock

    Thanks for you blog update on overtures related to the environment passed by the GA. Very helpful!

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