Collaborating against Climate Change

Collaboration–what a concept in the nonstop world of competitive partisanship, where

millions are spent promoting one message, one candidate, one worldview over against another, while children skip meals.

The day before the crashing finale of the most disturbing presidential race ever, “bipartisan” seems pretty remote. But it is happening in some places. Groups like the Friends Committee on National Legislation have worked hard toward bipartisan political solutions. Read here about their game-changing behind-the-scenes work especially with Republican legislators concerned about climate change.

Here’s another promising start: I’ve begun reading Getting to Green: Saving Nature: A Bipartisan Solutionby Frederic C. Rich, a book with a hopeful (though colon heavy) title. I look forward to getting past a prologue that surveys the same sad inactions that tie climate activists’ stomachs in knots, and reading his proposed solutions.

Hope comes in smaller doses too. Presbyterians from Fossil Free PCUSA (pro-divestment), Faithful Alternatives (anti-divestment), and the Presbyterian Church’s Mission Responsibility through Investment team (selective divestment), three groups that had competed to win a breakthrough at the Presbyterian General Assembly in June–and all lost out to a weirdly broken process–sat down together to collaborate on what all could agree on, and to create a shared plan to help reduce the church’s carbon footprint on many fronts: not only the supply side (energy industry) but also the demand side (Presbyteries, churches, individuals). Perhaps we’ll no longer be asked to choose among parties that–unlike our political parties–agree on the essentials.

Since I was blessed to sit at that Texas table, Fossil Free leader Abby Mohaupt invited me to write about the meeting. As I say in thisblog post for Fossil Free, the day reminded me of a classroom exercise at that very seminary years ago, which taught the definitive superiority of collaboration over competition. I was happy to see the article reposted by the Presbyterian Foundation’s Facebook page five minutes later. You can read it here…. or wait to see it soon in the online justice journal Unbound. 

In the meantime, prayers for our country’s future, and our world’s.

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