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Watch our wrap-up video: Move Your Dough: Passover Action to End the Era of Fossil Fuels.
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Move your Dough: Passover Action to End the Era of Fossil Fuels
All Our Might: 21 Passover Actions Across the Continent
This Passover more than 1,000 Jews and allies gathered at 21 events across North America, calling on banks and asset managers to move their dough out of fossil fuels. We publicly proclaimed today’s fossil-fueled plagues, lifting up matzah as a symbol of urgency, calling on these financial institutions to end their investments in oil, gas, and coal. These were the first actions of All Our Might, Dayenu’s multi-year campaign to end financial support for the fossil fuel industry, free ourselves from the destruction of the fossil fuel economy, and create a world where everyone can thrive.
Confronting the Climate Crisis With All Our Might
In the V’ahavta passage that is part of the Sh’ma, we are exhorted to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our might.
To avert the most harmful impacts of the climate crisis and live l’dor v’dor, from generation to generation, we need to not only invest in clean energy solutions, but rapidly slash greenhouse gas emissions . This includes stopping the drilling, mining, and burning of oil, gas, and coal, and keeping these fossil fuels in the ground and unburned.
But fossil fuel companies have spent decades spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, polluting our air and water, sowing misinformation, and delaying climate action just to make a profit. To achieve climate action at the scale that science and justice demands, we need to bring all the people and power of the American Jewish community to bear; we need to bring all our might.
The All Our Might campaign will work with Jewish, multifaith, and secular partners to remove the financial support for – and social license of – the fossil fuel industry to operate by urging banks, asset managers, and Jewish institutions to be a force for good, leaving behind fossil fuel investments, and investing in a just, clean energy future. And at key strategic moments, we’ll confront the fossil fuel industry through political advocacy and direct action shoulder to shoulder with frontline communities.
Like the V’ahavta, All Our Might is rooted in love: Love for our planet, love for our communities, and love for generations to come. Join us in this crucial new effort: we have no time to waste.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is All Our Might?
Drawing its name from the Sh’ma, All Our Might is a Jewish campaign to end the era of fossil fuels and build a clean energy future. In the last two years we have advocated and mobilized with all our hearts and all our souls to pass major federal legislation – The Build Back Better Act – that invests in clean energy and transportation and addresses environmental injustice. The investments that are part of Build Back Better are a good start, but the fossil fuel industry has thwarted progress, whittling down the bill and delaying passage, all to make a profit while the planet burns. Much, much more needs to be done to cut emissions fast enough and deep enough to avert climate catastrophe.
Through this new campaign, we Jews and Jewish communities across the country are bringing All Our Might to:
Pressure major banks, asset managers, and investors to leave behind oil, gas, and coal companies
Work in partnership with Jewish communal institutions to move investments away from fossil fuel companies and towards clean energy
Stand shoulder to shoulder with communities on the frontlines of drilling, mining, and transportation to help keep fossil fuels in the ground
What is the meaning of All Our Might?
The V’ahavta section of the Sh’ma prayer tells us to love God with all our heart (b’chol levavcha), all our soul (b’chol nafshecha), and all our might (u’v’chol me’odecha). Over the past year, we’ve brought all our heart and soul to confronting the climate crisis: We’ve made thousands of calls to policymakers, showed up at their offices, sounded shofarot in the streets, and stood shoulder to shoulder with communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Now we need to bring all the people and power of the American Jewish community to bear; we need to bring all our might.
Additionally, some rabbis interpret the phrase “u’v’chol me’odecha” as “with all our possessions” or “with all our money,” a fitting connection to a campaign focused on moving investments and financing away from the polluting fossil fuels driving the climate crisis.
Why focus on banks, asset managers and investors?
The fossil fuel industry has grown rich from polluting our air and water. Its enormous wealth gives it power over our political process, and it has almost no incentive to change its core business model: Extraction.
But it depends on investors to keep digging up and burning the coal, oil, and gas that is driving the climate crisis. Just a handful of big banks and asset managers provide the majority of financing that keeps the fossil fuel industry afloat. Even as many top Wall Street firms have made commitments to the public, their books show that they are not (yet) taking meaningful action to cut financing of coal, oil and gas. These banks and asset managers can drive a rapid transition to sustainability – but only if they divest from destruction and invest in a clean energy future.
What about Jewish institutions?
Jewish communal institutions hold more than $100 billion in assets, and so far only three have committed to moving their investments away from fossil fuels.
Through All Our Might, we look forward to partnering with Jewish institutions to help their investment strategies reflect our shared Jewish values – values like living l’dor v’dor, sustaining the Jewish people from generation to generation; bal tashchit, the prohibition against destruction; shomrei adamah, protecting creation; and tirdof tzedek, pursuing justice.
By working with leaders and stakeholders, we are confident that an increasing number of Jewish institutions will join the growing trend of more than 1500 institutions such as Harvard University and the New York State Common Pension Fund in moving away from fossil fuels in a responsible way, aligning their investments with their values while protecting their assets.
We will support and connect institutions to resources and tools that help to re-invest their assets in clean energy and sustainable solutions, working to secure a livable and just world for us and for generations to come.
Should I move my own investments away from fossil fuels?
Aligning personal investments with Jewish values can be a good first step in educating yourself about the kinds of fossil free investment options available. Our friends at the Stop the Money Pipeline campaign have a range of resources to help. But the real opportunity for collective impact is moving the tens of trillions of dollars that the world’s largest asset managers and top banks have invested in fossil fuels, urging Jewish institutions to move their billions of dollars away from fossil fuels into clean energy, and standing shoulder to shoulder with communities on the frontlines of drilling, mining, and transportation to stop fossil fuel companies in their tracks.
Don’t institutions have a fiduciary responsibility to invest money as profitably as possible?
The fossil fuel sector is a bad long-term investment. Share value of fossil fuel companies dropped by $123 billion in the last decade, underperforming major indices by more than 50%. In addition, coal, oil, and gas investments risk becoming stranded assets – investments that rapidly lose value – due to the rapid growth of the renewables sector, government regulation and climate impacts across the globe.
That’s one reason why more than 1500 institutions worth nearly $40 trillion have screened out fossil fuel investments from their portfolios and begun to invest in a more sustainable future. As Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said in his announcement that New York State’s $226 billion Common Pension Fund would screen out fossil fuel investments: “Investing for the low-carbon future is essential to protect the fund’s long-term value.” Any fiduciary who is concerned with long-term returns should be considering climate risk in investment decisions.
Won’t other, less ethical investors just buy the positions? How does selling fossil fuel stocks and bonds make an impact?
The campaign to divest from fossil fuels has already helped to screen coal, oil and gas out of nearly $40 trillion in institutional assets. And it’s having meaningful financial impact on the fossil fuel industry itself. A recent academic study found that “Increasing oil and gas divestment pledges in a country are associated with lower capital flows to domestic oil and gas companies.” Financial strategies like divestment, alongside regulatory frameworks, social stigmatization, direct action, and the rapidly falling costs of renewable energy, can drive the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy more rapidly, in line with what the Paris Agreement, science, and justice call for.
Responsible shareholders have worked diligently for years to urge companies like Exxon, Shell, and Chevron to disclose climate risk, address human rights abuses in their operations, and transition to clean energy. Ethical investors have good intentions, but these strategies have not yielded meaningful, measurable emissions reductions because fossil fuel companies’ core business model is extraction. A different approach is necessary: Moving money away from fossil fuel companies.
The more institutions, banks, and asset managers screen out fossil fuels from their portfolios, the more probable it is that other institutions, banks, and asset managers will also screen them out. This creates a positive feedback loop that will eventually strangle the ability of the fossil fuel industry to continue to extract and burn coal, oil, and gas to the detriment of our health and our future.
How will we know if we’re making an impact?
Banks, asset managers, and investors tend to follow trends, and move together as a pack; generally, they try to avoid unnecessary risk. We will have achieved success if the handful of major banks and asset managers that prop up the fossil fuel industry significantly cut their investments in coal, oil, and gas companies, and if Jewish communal institutions are leading the way by screening fossil fuels out of their own investment portfolios.
How can banks, asset managers, and Jewish institutions invest in climate solutions?
The International Energy Agency estimates that to reach net zero emissions by 2050, annual clean energy investment worldwide will need to more than triple by 2030 to around $4 trillion. Clean energy and sustainable investment opportunities dominate energy markets: in 2021, more than $370 billion (70% of the total) was invested in renewable electricity, storage, grids and efficiency. Investing in the future has never been easier.
For individuals, small and medium-sized institutions, there are dozens of investment funds available that screen out fossil fuels and invest in clean energy technologies. More than ever before, investment managers and committees have a choice of clean energy investment vehicles that provide solid returns on investment.
As part of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, more than 430 banks and asset managers have already made commitments of $130 trillion to investing in clean energy and sustainable technologies. But for these investments to lead to emissions cuts in line with what science and justice demand, these financial institutions must also wind down their investments in coal, oil and gas as quickly as possible.
Why do this work Jewishly?
The American Jewish community is poised to play an important role in keeping fossil fuels in the ground, recognizing our responsibility to current and future generations, bringing our spirit, people, and power to the broader movement, and standing shoulder to shoulder with Black, Brown, Indigenous, and low-income communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis.
We join with multi-faith and secular partners involved in this struggle, but we start with our own American Jewish community — one which is more worried about the climate crisis than any other single issue. Like the V’ahavta, the All Our Might campaign is rooted in love: Love for our planet, love for our communities, and love for generations to come.
Won’t moving off fossil fuels too quickly cause economic pain and suffering for communities reliant on the industry?
The economic and human costs of inaction on climate change are astronomical, and they will continue to rise. In 2021 in the U.S. alone, the cost of climate and weather emergencies was $145 billion in damage. One study estimated that by 2030, the cost of climate disasters and disruption in the U.S. could amount to $240 billion per year, roughly equivalent to having a COVID-style economic shock once every five years. The climate crisis is also a force multiplier, exacerbating historical inequities even as its impacts spread far and wide, into every corner of the world.
In short: the cost of climate inaction is higher, more wide-ranging, and more unequal than the cost of climate action. As the price of renewables, sustainable industry, transportation, and agriculture falls, we must ensure that workers and communities reliant on the fossil fuel industry have an opportunity to thrive.
That’s why over the past year we’ve advocated for the THRIVE agenda and passage of Build Back Better, which will invest hundreds of billions of dollars helping communities transition to a just, clean energy economy.
With the clock ticking, we can’t just wait for our governments to act. We can make a difference right now by using all our might to keep fossil fuels – oils, gas, and coal – in the ground unburned. By joining together, we can end the fossil fuel era and build a more just and livable future for all people, for generations to come.
How can I get involved?
First, you can sign onto the All Our Might pledge, encouraging the Jewish community to bring all our people and power to end the era of fossil fuels and build a clean energy future.
Second, you can help organize a public action around Passover, outside the office of a bank or asset manager that isn’t yet living up to their commitment.
Third, you can reach out to one of your local Jewish institutions – a synagogue, Federation, JCC, etc. – and ask them about their plan to screen fossil fuels out of their investment portfolios and to invest in sustainable solutions.