Religious Witness for the Earth Leaders Participate in Tar Sands Action at the White House

Above: Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, RWE Co-Chair, wearing red stole behind RWE banner.

photo by: Josef Lorentz

Above: Andy Burt, member of the Religious Society of Friends and RWE Leadership Council member, front row left.

Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb and Andy Burt,  both affiliated with Religious Witness for the Earth, participated in the August/September 2011 Tar Sands Action protest in Washington, D.C.  Rabbi Fred's reflections on this event were picked up by the Huffington Post on August 31, 2011: "Tar Sands and the Jewish Month of Change."   More coverage of the Tar Sands Action available at and on Flickr.


RWE Leaders Return to D.C.
for November 2011 Tar Sands Action


RWE Affiliates at November 2011 Tar Sands Action
Pictured, left to right: Andy Burt, Fred Scherlinder Dobb and son,
Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Reebee Girash.


RWE Affiliates and friends and November 2011 Tar Sands Action
RWE and some good friends in DC. Pictured, left to right: Marla Marcum (Better Future Project), Fred Scherlinder Dobb and children, Joelle Novey (Greater Washington IPL), Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Reebee Girash.


Massachusetts Religious Leaders Visit Canadian Consulate to Advocate Regarding Tar Sands


Friday, August 19

Religious Witness for the Earth convened a meeting of eight religious leaders and members of the New England Canadian Consulate Staff, to offer a religious witness opposed to the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta through the middle of the United States.

Episcopal News Service interviewed RWE's Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and ran a story on this event.

Inspired by the upcoming Tar Sands Action in Washington, DC, RWE sought a way to join in solidarity with that movement. We gathered to share our perspectives on this critical environmental issue, and to deliver a letter on behalf of and Tar Sands Action to Consul Aaron Annable, head of Political, Economic Relations and Public Affairs. The Consulate staff offered hospitality and listened with care to our points.


Each speaker offered a unique perspective and vision, but there were common themes. Several spoke of their children and grandchildren, as well as the children already impacted by climate change in vulnerable regions such as the Horn of Africa. Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas commented, "I want to pass on a habitable planet to all those who come after us." The meeting also included statistics and scientific and technical perspectives offered by Marla Marcum of New England Climate Summer. Rev. Christine Elliott lifted up the one of the US and Canada's shared natural resources: the Whooping Cranes and Sand Cranes which are hatched near the Tar Sands in Northern Alberta, and migrate along the proposed pipeline route. Rev. Fred Small linked the current moment to the abolition struggle: "Like fossil fuels today, slavery in the 19th century permeated the United States economy both north and south.  Abolition was viewed as an economic impossibility.  The arguments we hear today in defense of oil and coal are chillingly similar."


The exploitation of the Tar Sands and building of related pipelines have been presented as being in the economic best interest of the US and Canada. Religious Witness for the Earth, in solidarity with the activists and climate scientists around the world, call on our leaders to recognize the Keystone XL Pipeline is not in the environmental or social best interest - nor long term economic best interest - of anyone on Planet Earth. "We believe [they] do exactly the opposite of mending, repairing, and healing the world," said Rev. Andrea Ayvazian.


Rev. Fred Small closed the meeting with this blessing to our host: "We know that you, as a public official, can't tell us how troubled or untroubled you may be by this project.  But we hope we have troubled you.  We pray for your health and happiness and loss of sleep."


Present at the Meeting:

Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Episcopal, RWE Co-Chair

Fred Small, Unitarian Universalist, RWE Co-Chair

Andrea Ayvazian, United Church of Christ, RWE Co-Chair

Reebee Girash, United Church of Christ, RWE Outreach Coordinator

Nancy Banks, Unitarian Universalist, and Mass Council of Churches Environmental Justice Taskforce Convener

Christine Elliott, United Methodist

Ian Mevorach, Mass Council of Churches Environmental Justice Taskforce

Marla Marcum, Chair, Climate Change Task Force, New England Conference,United Methodist Church