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This year for Buddhist Action Month 2017, we are making five special suggestion for a BAM action: Number #1 is DIVESTMENT. If you don’t know much about divestment, then here is your chance to find out, and more to the point, we can join in!
Tejopala has written a very helpful short intro to divestment explaining what it is and how you and your Centre can join it - see his “fossil fuel divestment for BAM guide”.
Divesting from fossil fuels
Many people in our Sangha would like to do something effective to make a difference with regard to climate change but wonder where to start. One of the most tangible and effective things one can do is to financially withdraw support from fossil fuel companies. This is known as divestment.
Most banks provide finance in some form to coal, oil and gas companies. So, divesting involves changing bank to one that doesn’t do this. It also involves changing any pension fund or shares you may have one that refuses to invest in these companies. And it means changing electricity company to one that offer 100% green energy,
People around the world have been divesting from fossil fuels over the past few years. By the end of 2016, more than $5 trillion worth of investment funds worldwide had divested from coal, oil and gas in this way, with roughly half of that divestment occurring in 2016 alone.
This June, as part of Buddhist Action Month (BAM) there will be a new initiative to ask as many people as possible in Triratna to divest. This can take place on three levels: divesting one’s own personal finances as individuals, asking one’s local Centre to divest and holding divestment days at Centres to ask others to do the same.
For a guide as to the steps that you might want to follow when it comes to your local Centre divesting have a look at the divestment guide developed by the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change. A number of the websites it refers to are specific to Australia or New Zealand, but some also focus on the UK or are more international in their outlook. Wherever you may be in the world, though, the process that it suggests can be useful.
The website www.gofossilfree.org has useful resources that are specific to individual countries, so do have a look at this too.
Two things that would really help with this would be having at least one person at each Centre to be a local divestment champion and having Centre Chairs get behind the idea. If you’d like to be a local champion and you’d like or if you’re the Chair of a Centre and you’d like to looks into divestment a bit more closely please contact Tejopala on tejopala [at] gmail.com
Please also look at The Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), of which the Sydney Triratna Buddhist Centre is part, which has come up with a divestment guide, which is also attached. Some of the information in it is specific to Australia but most of it is not. You can either download the guide from this web page - http://www.arrcc.org.au/divest_invest_guide_for_fbo_s - or open the version of it that’s attached.
excerpt from the Australian faithbased guide to divestment -
FIRST BUDDHIST ORGANISATION DIVESTS
Global Buddhism Blog, 1 September 201639
One of the Sydney Buddhist Centre Management Commitee’s members, Ratnajyoti, explains: “As Buddhists, we are actively trying to transform our consciousness so we appreciate the absolute interconnection between all things. We want to increase our awareness of the impacts of our way of life and take responsibility for them wherever we can. The catastrophe of climate change has such serious impacts for all living beings, we really want to start to step up to the challenge. Although this decision to shift our money or buy green energy are small gestures, we will be seeking to build on them.”
Sadhu Sidney Buddhist Centre!!!