CERAweek 2023: Recap & Next Steps

HOUSTON, TX – Earlier this month, people of faith and moral conscience joined the Permian Gulf Coast Coalition in downtown Houston to demand climate justice for impacted communities during CERAweek, one of the biggest energy industry conferences in the world.

GreenFaith’s engagement in coalition programs began on Tuesday, March 7, joining Earthworks, Texas Campaign for the Environment, and the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas outside of the CERAweek for a watch party of educational documentaries about fracking pollution and environmental racism in frontline communities of Texas and Louisiana. Juan Mancias, tribal chairman of the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas opened the evening with drumming, song, and tobacco. GreenFaith closed out the evening with a song circle led by Lu Aya of The Peace Poets

Dr. Charon Hribar (Bronx, NY), Director of Cultural Strategies for the Kairos Center and Co-Director of Cultural Arts for the Poor People’s Campaign: National Call for Moral Revival, joined the evening programs. When asked why her faith called her to show up for climate justice, Hribar recalled growing up in Western Pennsylvania and seeing vast contamination and distruction caused by fossil fuels, including witnessing family members becoming ill and dying of cancer. 

“I grew up in a faith tradition that really called us forward to live out justice and to do what we need to do to take care of each other and take care of the planet.,” she says, “We need to do all we can to build a global community that can take care of one another and be guided by faith, knowing that’s what God has called us for.”

The following morning, Aly Tharp, GreenFaith Senior Organizer, disrupted TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanné during a morning plenary at CERAweek. Ms. Tharp stood on a chair at the conference, raised a banner with the words “STOP EACOP & RIO GRANDE LNG” and said: “In love and solidarity with the people of East Africa and across Texas, Louisiana and the entire world being poisoned by TotalEnergies and other companies in this room – we must end the era of fossil fuels!” News of the disruption quickly went viral, with more than 100,000 impressions on Twitter and coverage from multiple media outlets, including “Bloomberg”, and “Reuters.” 

Wednesday afternoon involved a rally and parade through downtown Houston filled with powerful testimonials, moving songs, and vibrant musical stylings of the Free Radicals band. With nearly a dozen visits planned at the doorsteps of climate-criminal-filled buildings around downtown, the contingent remained energized by the band’s uplifting sounds and uniting chants and songs. 

Stops on the parade route included the Houston headquarters of TotalEnergies and Nextdecade, the parent company of Rio Grande LNG, and big oil-backing banks like Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Societe Generale, Macquarie Capital, and Credit Suisse.

At Bank of America and Macquarie Capital, security denied protestors building access and prevented the delivery of petitions containing over 3,000 signatures demanding a halt to their harmful practices of backing new fossil fuel infrastructure development.

The power and impact of the community action events during CERAweek will continue to have ripple effects, and you can be a part of it! Here are three are ways that you can engage in support and solidarity for the work being done by GreenFaith and our partners in the Permian Gulf Coast Coalition:

  1. Sign this petition to the CEOs of JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citi Bank, Morgan Stanley, & Goldman Sachs, telling them to NOT invest in the Rio Grande LNG project

  2. Sign this petition to the leadership of global financial institutions Macquarie Capital, Société Générale, and Credit Suisse, telling them to PULL THEIR FUNDING from the Rio Grande LNG project

  3. Learn more about the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) by watching the documentary “EACOP: a Crude Reality”, which features GreenFaith Uganda Organizer Maxwell Atuhara. Amplify and follow GreenFaith Africa on Twitter or Facebook to stay up to date about what GreenFaith and allies are doing on the ground to stop EACOP, and how you can support from afar.
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