Green Corner: How to fight climate change with your wallet – The Citizen
Last month I mentioned the importance of each person doing things like “reduce, reuse and recycle.” But also that it is important for us to let our voices be heard at the corporate and government level. How do we do that?
Sign petitions that come your way via 350.org or Sierra Club, or any number of environmental organizations. Sign letters to corporate leaders and to congressional representatives. Establish an environmental advisory committee to your town or village board. Run for local government office on an environmental platform.
Since global warming and climate change are at tipping points now, it is imperative that we act not only locally, but globally. Fortunately, governments and corporations are beginning to talk about the need to pay attention to their climate footprint. However, their actual movement on environmental issues is quite minimal. There seems to be supportive words but not substantive action. The reality of that inertia is unfortunately related to the almighty concern of the bottom line: the dollar.
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So a way forward, to lean into environmental action, is to remove our dollars from being invested by these companies in dirty and ill-chosen technologies. The divestment movement is gathering momentum and having a positive impact on our environmental choices. You can join that movement by finding out where your money is invested and redirecting those funds into organization that care about environmental, social and governance issues. These ESG companies are producing as good and/or better returns than companies that invest in fossil fuels and other climate-destroying technologies.
Places to find out how to divest and move your money into money-making opportunities that are also sustainable and pass the ESG criteria include Hansen’s Advisory Services in Central New York at hansensadvisory.com. Also, Rivers and Mountains GreenFaith Circle (rivers-mountains-greenfaith.org/divestment-fossil-fuel) provides a service to walk you through the process of divestment. (They will be providing a workshop next fall from St. James’ Episcopal Church in Skaneateles, and on Zoom.)
And think about where your gift money goes. Do you donate to your alma mater? Ask where they invest their money. If it is not in ESG companies, suggest to them that you would like to see a more environmentally responsible balance sheet before you give them more funds.
Individual investors do have a choice. We can make our voices heard in the marketplace. We vote with our pocketbook. Buy from socially and environmentally responsible organizations and invest with socially and environmentally responsible institutions. God’s green earth will thank you.
Kip Coerper is organist and choirmaster at St. James’ Episcopal Church in Skaneateles and music director of the MasterWorks Chorale of CNY. At St. James’ he also coordinates EarthWorks, St. James’ eco ministry. In that capacity he is offering some monthly reflections on how people can address climate change, save money, be more energy efficient, and simply care for our beautiful creation.