Author and educator Bill McKibben made a video plea to those gathered Tuesday for the Presbyterians for Earth Care luncheon, urging them to stand up to power.

“Standing up to power is what we are called upon to do as Christians,” McKibben said in a six-minute video. “I know it can be tough to convince others, especially Christian communities, which tend to be conflict averse. There are times we are called to stand up to power, and there are no greater powers and principalities than those who derive wealth from fossil fuels and use that wealth to go to places we don’t want to go to as a civilization.”

He urged the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to pass Overture 15-01 on fossil fuel divestment, which won committee approval Tuesday. 

“We have to get to work, and that work needs to happen very quickly,” McKibben said. “We need for your news to get out, because that news will hearten others around the world. We will look forward to all that happens in the days ahead.”

Fletcher Harper, executive director of GreenFaith, an interfaith environmental group, said the fossil fuel divestment movement “is advancing because it is small and unafraid. We need the courage and conviction of our faith that is not just limited to legislative or incremental gain. The audacity of faith in God and the power of God’s love will make the creation and God’s people whole.”

The Cool Planet Working Group from First Presbyterian Church in Palo Alto, California, won the Restoring Creation Award for its leadership supporting efforts to divest the PC(USA) from fossil fuel companies.

Winning the William Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award was Lynn Cameron of Mt. Crawford, Virginia. Presbyterians for Earth Care gave her the award for volunteering “thousands of hours” and traveling “countless miles to advocate for cleaner air and water and in protecting her nearby Shenandoah Valley and forest areas from hydro-fracking and other industrial types of development.”