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Justice Prayers - November 17, 2021

He has planted me and made me his own.  Fed by the gentle waters of his spirit, I beg him by faith to prune me as he will, to let me grow tall and broad, lit by the sun to bear his everlasting fruit unto the unending day of the new creation.  - Andrew Peterson 

COP26 Concludes with Achievements, Disappointments; China and India Alter Language & Plans for Coal Phase Out

As COP26 wrapped up late last week, there were several successes - such as a U.S.-China agreement to do more to cut emissions, a pledge to end deforestation by 2030, and India pledging to reach net zero emissions later this century - and yet despite this, there were noticeable setbacks.  Alok Sharma warned that India and China will ,“have to explain themselves to poor nations” after watering down the Glasgow climate pact. “We are on the way to consigning coal to history. This is an agreement we can build on. But in the case of China and India, they will have to explain to climate-vulnerable countries why they did what they did,” Sharma said. Both countries attempted to reopen the text of the deal by objecting to a commitment to “phase out” coal. They proposed instead the slightly weaker “phase down”, which implies that they could still carry on using coal in some way. The commitment, contained in the “cover decision” from the Cop26 summit, does not attach any deadline to the use of coal, but is regarded as significant as it marks the first time such a resolution has been agreed by a UN climate conference. 

God, so often after these summits and conferences wrap up, we’re left with jumbled emotions. There’s progress made, and we’re one step closer to achieving our goals, and yet it’s never enough. There’s rarely the urgency we need to protect the poor, the vulnerable, and the beloved. We pray the actions taken in the next year go above and beyond what’s been pledged and promised.

US claims 2019 airstrike that hit Syrian women and children was justified; Times report says there was a cover-up

The US military has confirmed for the first time a 2019 airstrike in Syria that killed up to 80 people, mostly women and children, but claimed the strike was justified as it killed Islamic State fighters who were attacking coalition forces. The confirmation from US Central Command followed a report by the New York Times in which former and current Pentagon officials alleged there had been a cover-up of a likely war crime. Central Command argued that because some women and children had taken up arms for IS, whether by indoctrination or choice, they “could not strictly be classified as civilians”. The Times report said two bombs were dropped on a crowd of women and children, trying to escape the fighting on the banks of the Euphrates, who had been identified as civilians by a US drone operated from Qatar. Within minutes, a legal officer flagged a possible war crime that required investigation, and ordered the drone footage and other evidence. The initial battle damage assessment put the death toll at 70. But no independent inquiry was ever carried out.

With shattered hearts, we ask why. Why the violence, why the coverup, why the atrocities that are committed by the country so many of us call home. God, our tax dollars support this violence. It has to end, it must end. Have mercy, Lord.

Despite Being Largely Ignored at COP26, (Canadian) Farmers Seek Climate Solutions 

Despite the role of agriculture in climate change not getting much attention at the COP26 summit, leaders of three Canadian agrifood groups told CBC's The House in a panel discussion airing this past weekend that there's a growing appetite among Canadian farmers for working with Canadian governments to cut emissions and find ways to take carbon out of the environment. "So there are a lot of farmers who for a long time have been experimenting with ways they can reduce emissions on their farm, thinking about ways that we can increase soil carbon — drawing carbon dioxide out of the air and storing it in our agricultural soils," said Brent Preston, an Ontario vegetable farmer and director of a national organization called Farmers for Climate Solutions. Canada still lags far behind the United States and European Union in helping farmers adopt more sustainable methods, such as reducing emissions, protecting wetlands and converting their operations to clean energy.

An analysis conducted by Farmers for Climate Solutions found the U.S. under former president Donald Trump spent 13 times more than Canada on a per-acre basis, while the European Union invested 73 times more.

For farmers, harvesters, ranchers, chefs, truck drivers, and logistics workers - for all involved in the growing, harvesting, transporting, and preparing of food - we pray. We pray they be recognized for the work they do to feed us, and we pray they receive the support they need to catalyze their energy to grow and feed Canada in lockstep with creation’s potential and limitations.

​​Stranded refugees and migrants say they are in dire need of help as conflict between the EU and Belarus escalates. 

Belarus has sent thousands of migrants to its border with Poland in a bid to ramp up conflict with the European Union over sanctions imposed last year, in the wake of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s crackdown on political opponents and protesters. The migrants — between 3,000 to 4,000 people according to Polish authorities, primarily from conflict-torn regions of the Middle East like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan — have come to Belarus after the government relaxed visa rules in August, providing a safer, easier route to the EU border. Far from providing humanitarian aid and a safe haven for migrants, the Lukashenko regime is pushing them toward the borders of Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania in an attempt to put pressure on the EU to lift sanctions on the nation.

God, we denounce the use of your beloved children as pawns to achieve a political agenda. We pray for voices of wisdom within Belarusian President Lukashenko’s regime to declare boldly that there is another way. The poor, the vulnerable, the migrant: they are not to be wielded for personal gain. Cease the evildoers, O Lord.

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