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Justice Prayers - October 5, 2022

“Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years" - Genesis 1:14

After Russia’s Illegal ‘Annexation’, Ukraine Advances, Makes Gains

Russia no longer has full control of any of the four provinces of Ukraine it says it annexed last week after Ukrainian troops reportedly advanced dozens of kilometers in Kherson province in the south of the country and made additional gains in the east. Russian forces in Ukraine were on the run Monday across a broad swath of the frontline, as the Ukrainian military pressed its blitz offensive in the east and made gains in the south, belying President Vladimir V. Putin’s claims to absorb into Russia territories that his armies are steadily losing. All this comes amidst less immediate, but altogether harsh news about the environmental impacts of war. Environmental damage in Ukraine caused by Russia’s invasion was estimated at around 36bn euros ($35.3bn), with millions of hectares of natural reserves under threat, Ukraine’s environment minister has said. Citing a new methodology developed by the Ukrainian government to calculate the damages, the seven-month-old war alone had caused 31 million tons of CO2 emissions, roughly the amount produced by New Zealand annually.

God, we pray for civilians in Ukraine living under constant threat of annihilation; a feeling of dread each morning that today might be their last. We pray for Russian civilians fleeing their homeland, wanting no part in this war. We pray for peace, O Lord. 

Minister signs deal to return land to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory

Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory is now, officially, getting some land back. At a ceremonial signing on Monday morning, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller agreed to hand over a 120-hectare (296 acres) plot of land to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (MBQ) band council, along with roughly $31 million in compensation. The deal's formal conclusion settles part of a longstanding and at-times acrimonious land dispute about 200 kilometers east of Toronto, but it only covers about a third of the area under claim. The disputed land known as the Culbertson Tract includes 448 separate parcels of land and covers most of Deseronto, according to federal briefing documents. Third parties and private property holders occupy much of it, meaning it won't be easy to resolve the outstanding claim. Tyendinaga, meanwhile, remains divided on the issue. Some members oppose transferring the land to the council, a creation of the Indian Act whose legitimacy, along with the federal government's colonial land claims policies, they refuse to recognize. "I see this as nothing but a scam, a ripoff," said Mario Baptiste, a Tyendinaga member who was among the first ones on the ground as activists began reclaiming land beginning with an aggregate rock quarry in 2007, stopping work to this day. "These people were trying to jail us, these very people who are being rewarded."

Creator, we acknowledge that the path towards conciliation and justice is a long, winding, painful one. We pray that this act of returning land is but the start, and perhaps more importantly, that the concerns and fears of those receiving the land be met with the utmost sincerity and respect. Heal us, Lord.

More Americans are moving into hurricane zones even as climate risks mount

The full extent of the destruction from Hurricane Ian, which made its first U.S. landfall near Fort Myers as a Category 4 storm, is still developing. What is clear is that it is expected to be more devastating than many comparable storms because of its size and all that was built in its path. From 1970 to 2020, census records show, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area grew an astounding 623 percent, to more than 760,000 people. From 2010 to 2020, census records show, the top two fastest-growing metro areas in the United States were The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, and Myrtle Beach, S.C. “Severe weather events are certainly one cost people are considering, but based on the data, these benefits, at least for many, seem to clearly outweigh the costs,” Von Nessen said. Census projections suggest the Southeast will see the largest population gains over the next two decades, through 2040. These population trends increase the likelihood that more Americans will be trapped in a costly cycle of flooding and repairs, experts said. In 2019, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that hurricanes and tropical storms cause about $54 billion, on average, in annual damage across the United States. The report noted that without policy changes limiting greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the number of properties covered by flood insurance, “storm-related costs are likely to rise in the future because of climate change and increases in development in risky areas.

God, we pray for the recovery and restoration of all those whose livelihoods have been upended by Hurricane Ian, and we pray for those who we’ve lost. Instill in us a new spirit, Lord, that guides our planning and building: a spirit of ecological limits and planetary flourishing. Water, giver of life. Water, source of destruction. Amen.

U.S. Reaches EV ‘Boom’ Threshold; Future Unclear

The U.S. auto industry recently passed the 5% mark of EV market share – a watershed moment, analysts say, before rapid growth. New policies at the state and local level could very well spur that growth: the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed this summer, offers tax credits of $4,000 to purchase a used EV and up to $7,500 for certain new ones. In August, California, the nation’s largest state and economy, announced rules that would ban all new gas-powered cars by 2035. New York plans to follow. All of this comes in light of the White House who has set a goal for 50% of new cars to be electric by 2030. The administration’s target of 500,000 public charging units by 2030 is a far cry from the current count of nearly 50,000, according to the Department of Energy’s estimate. And those new chargers will have to be fast – what’s known as Level 2 or 3 charging – and functional in order to create a truly reliable system. Today, many are not. Last week, the White House approved plans for all 50 states, along with Washington DC, and Puerto Rico, to set up chargers along highways, unlocking $1.5bn in federal funding to that end.

God, we know not of what lies ahead. The promise of EVs eliminates our dependence on fossil fuels for transportation, but creates entirely new problems with mining across the African continent and on the surface of the ocean. Lord, help us to know what’s best, to know what’s next, to be open to what’s possible.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

New! Faith In Action Course

This popular workshop is now available as an online course in Canada and the U.S. Faith in Action is designed to help you grow in five key advocacy areas: research methods, key messages, letter writing, planning talking points, and setting up in-person meetings. Sharing your well-informed opinion can make a real difference on the justice issues that you care about, and can bring about long-term changes to unjust systems. Find the course at

Promote Global Nutrition and Stronger Agricultural Infrastructures 

Join us and our partners from Bread for the World in urging lawmakers to co-sponsor and pass the recently introduced Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2022. This bipartisan bill would continue to build on the success of existing programs, such as Feed the Future, designed to help address the root causes of hunger and malnutrition. 


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