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Justice Prayers - March 8, 2023

Your justice is as solid as God’s mountains. Your decisions are as full of wisdom as the oceans are with water. You are concerned for men and animals alike. - Psalm 36:6 (NLT)

Catastrophic Methane Leak in Pennsylvania

A natural gas storage site in Western Pennsylvania has sprung a massive gas leak that’s impacting both the climate and the communities who live in Cambria County. 

The leak began Thursday, Nov. 6 at a facility operated by Equitrans Midstream Corporation.  Despite efforts from the company and state officials, it has continued for weeks – causing over 1 billion cubic feet of methane and other pollutants to fill the air.  Its impact is massive – large enough to be seen and quantified from space from the growing network of methane satellites. The near-term warming generated from this single site over the course of a few weeks is roughly equivalent to emissions from 360,000 cars over a year. It’s also an incredible waste of energy. The gas lost from this one leak could have met the annual natural gas usage needs of 15,000 homes and is worth $6.5 million. The gas leak is one of the largest we’ve seen in the U.S. since the Aliso Canyon disaster in 2015. That months-long disaster spurred the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to issue national standards for underground natural gas storage facilities. Those standards followed the guidelines of the American Petroleum Institute – and went into effect essentially unmodified with little transparency.

Lord, have mercy on Cambria County. And Lord almighty, might your swift and powerful hand of justice hold those responsible to account for this catastrophe. We pray for a robust cleanup and for these kinds of accidents to never happen again.

Countries agree on historic oceans treaty to protect the high seas

Nearly 200 countries have agreed to a legally-binding “high seas treaty” to protect marine life in international waters, which cover around half of the planet’s surface, but have long been essentially lawless. The agreement was signed on Saturday evening after two weeks of negotiations at the United Nations headquarters in New York ended in a mammoth final session of more than 36 hours – but it has been two decades in the making. The treaty provides legal tools to establish and manage marine protected areas – sanctuaries to protect the ocean’s biodiversity. It also covers environmental assessments to evaluate the potential damage of commercial activities, such as deep sea mining, before they start and a pledge by signatories to share ocean resources. “This is a historic day for conservation and a sign that in a divided world, protecting nature and people can triumph over geopolitics,” Laura Meller, Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace Nordic, said in a statement. The high seas are sometimes called the world’s last true wilderness. This huge stretch of water – everything that lies 200 nautical miles beyond countries’ territorial waters – makes up more than 60% of the world’s oceans by surface area. These waters provide the habitat for a wealth of unique species and ecosystems, support global fisheries on which billions of people rely and are a crucial buffer against the climate crisis – the ocean has absorbed more than 90% of the world’s excess heat over the last decades.

Creator of the universe, we are so grateful for leaders who are committed to cooperation, to cohabitation, and to protection of all the things and the places we hold dear. We pray for our fellow creatures in the ocean, the plant life that lines our ocean floors, the microbes, the beasts of the sea - we pray boldly that might take them into account whenever we make decisions about life on the surface and seek their flourishing, always.

Taiwan warns China’s military may make ‘sudden entry’

Taiwan must be on alert this year for a “sudden entry” by the Chinese military into areas close to its territory as tensions rise across the Taiwan Strait, its defense minister warned. China has stepped up its military activities around Taiwan in recent years, including almost daily air force incursions into the island’s air defense identification zone. Thus far, Taiwan has not reported any incident of Chinese forces entering its contiguous zone, 44.4km (24 nautical miles) from its coast. But it has shot down a civilian drone that entered its airspace near an islet off the Chinese coast last year. Answering questions from lawmakers in parliament, Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said on Monday the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) might find excuses to enter areas close to Taiwan’s territorial air and sea space as the self-governing island steps up its military exchanges with the United States, to Beijing’s ire. The PLA might make a “sudden entry” into Taiwan’s contiguous zone and get close to its territory, which the island defines as 22km (12 nautical miles) from its coast, he said. “[I] specifically make these comments this year, meaning they are making such preparations,” Chiu said. “Looking forward, they would use force if they really have to.”

We pray against these threats, or perceived threats, Lord and we ask boldly in your name that you might calm the hearts and tongues of those who seek a fight. We pray for leaders to understand that in war, there are rarely, if ever, winners and losers; there is but death and less death. Lord, help us find a different way.

At the U.S.-Mexico border, desperate migrants have sights set on Canada

Gang violence, drug cartels and political corruption together continue to leave countless with little choice but to flee their home countries, even though they know the journey itself will be life-threatening and that eventually getting anywhere beyond the U.S.-Mexico border is extremely complicated.  In fiscal 2022, U.S. authorities made 2.4 million arrests at the border — an all-time record - leading many to consider Canada as a destination. At the tiny Pasos de Fe shelter just outside central Juarez, one of countless such places in the city, there's room for about 50 migrants. Episcopal Pastor Miguel Gonzalez tells CBC News that migrants here have indeed heard all about Canada, with stories coming back from those who've fled Haiti, for example, and have managed to make it into Canada. "Their message back is that Canada is receptive to people," he said. "That they are treated well in Canada." Like so many migrants now - like Yescee Urbina and Nelson Ramirez from Venezuela - massing at the U.S.-Mexico border, their immediate goal is to find a way into the United States. But the couple's long-term target, as with countless others who've made it to Juarez, is Canada. Why Canada? Entry into the U.S., be it legally or otherwise, remains extremely complicated and word has spread among migrants in Juarez that Canada is likely a significantly better landing spot.

We pray, once again, Lord for migrants making dangerous journeys from all over ; from Caracas, from Medellin, from Tegucigalpa, from Managua. Lord, we pray for stability and opportunity at home, and when migration is necessary, for safe, humane pathways.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Advocate with Dreamers: Support Pathways to Citizenship!

A permanent legislative solution is needed to protect the lives, dreams, families, and futures of Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants, who are often exposed to vulnerable and dehumanizing conditions because of their status.  Using our editable email template, urge your Members of Congress to ensure a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS-holders, and essential workers.

Advocate for Reconciliation in Indigenous Education

Canadians join us in asking members of Parliament and Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu to continue Canada’s commitment to reconciliation and fully implement TRC Calls to Action 7-10 for Indigenous education.

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