People are finding hope as they engage climate change by taking action. Climate activist, author and public theologian, Rev. Dr. Jim Antal will share insights from his work at the national level with folks ranging from President Jimmy Carter to Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org. He will examine how we can accelerate the transition to clean energy through four approaches: reducing our consumption of fossil fuel, revoking the social license required by suppliers of fossil fuel, joining activists to pressure elected officials to change policy, and supporting various legal challenges to end our dependence on fossil fuel.
Antal serves as Special Advisor on Climate Justice to the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. His book,CLIMATE CHURCH, CLIMATE WORLD, was featured on Earth Day 2018 in the Chicago Tribune. From 2006-2018, he led the 350 UCC churches in Massachusetts as their Conference Minister and President. He is a graduate of Princeton University, Andover Newton Theological School, and Yale Divinity School, where he was Henri Nouwen‘s teaching assistant. In 2017, Yale Divinity School honored him with the William Sloane Coffin Award for Peace and Justice.
An environmental activist from the first Earth Day in 1970, in July 2017 Antal authored a resolution declaring a new moral era in opposition to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. The national UCC Synod passed that resolution with a 97% supermajority. In July 2013 Antal wrote and championed the UCC’s resolution to divest from fossil fuel companies, the first of its kind in the country. In 2009 the Massachusetts Conference UCC became the first religious body in America to pass a resolution calling upon our elected leaders to commit to policies that will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to below 350ppm. In August 2011, Antal joined 1,252 climate activists in an act of civil disobedience at the White House hoping to convince President Obama not to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. On Ash Wednesday in 2013, Antal joined Julian Bond, Bill McKibben and others as they cuffed their hands to the White House fence. In 2016 he and other faith leaders were arrested in Boston as they sought to block the construction of a new natural gas pipeline. Before leading the UCC in Massachusetts, Antal served as a local UCC pastor for 20 years in Shaker Heights, Ohio and Newton, Massachusetts. In the mid-80’s he served as Executive Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (USA), an interfaith pacifist organization. He began his ministry as a chaplain and teacher at several schools, including Northfield Mount Hermon and Phillips Academy Andover.
A collaboration of Memorial Hall Library and Working to Educate for Climate Action Now (WECAN).