Climate change from a different perspective

Praxis update |

Global South Voices present a compelling message

In parts of the world where people subsist on less than $1 per day, the poor are getting even poorer because of climate change. This was the message brought to Everence staff in Goshen and around the country by three international speakers as part of the Global South Voices tour.

Dr. Sibonokuhle Ncube has seen the effects in Zimbabwe, where she serves as National Coordinator of Compassionate Development Service, a relief and development agency of the Brethren in Christ Church of Zimbabwe.

Global South team
“Where I come from, 70 percent of the economy depends on agriculture,” said Ncube. Droughts used to be 10 years apart, then five years apart, and then three years. “Now we have three dry years and two years with very heavy rain” and flooding, she said.

“Some farmers have to plant or replant up to five times before they can get a good crop,” she said. After several plantings, many farmers have no money for more seed.

Although other factors – including poor land-use approaches and migration – have affected farming in Zimbabwe, Ncube has no doubt that climate change plays a major role.

And she makes it clear that energy consumption – particularly in the Northern Hemisphere – is a major contributor to climate change by adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Ncube has been on a Global South Voices speaking tour with the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions, of which Everence® is a strategic partner. The center is an initiative of Eastern Mennonite University, Goshen College and Mennonite Central Committee.

Group listening to Global South presentation
People tend to think carbon-fueled energy consumption and climate change are such massive issues that one person can’t make a difference, but Ncube said, “I think everybody can do something. It’s a legacy issue.”

Zimbabwe is working on conservation agriculture methods that include minimum tillage so less soil blows away, and creating ways to collect and preserve rainwater.

The Global South is seeing more dramatic impact from climate change so far, but consumers in the Northern Hemisphere have a role to play by consuming less, she said.

Ncube hopes that people everywhere will “begin to see how we’re not only responsible for our lives, but the community that’s alive on the Earth right now, and more so, the generations to come.”

Another participant on the speaking tour was Durga Sunchiuri, Program Coordinator for MCC in Nepal. Climate change is creating significant water problems in Nepal, he said. Snow cover in the mountains, which provides water for millions of people, is shrinking as the climate warms.

“In Nepal, we are suffering because of what developed countries are doing,” he said. Referring to the United States, Sunchiuri said, “We don’t see conservation here. We don’t see many buses, and the trains are mostly for cargo.”

Ncube said, “Reduce, reuse, recycle – that’s what one person can do. The ostrich response is not good – pretending nothing is happening.”

One of the Everence Stewardship Investing core values guides us as investors to encourage companies in which we invest to pursue environmental sustainability.

At Praxis Mutual Funds®, we encourage environmental sustainability in several ways:

  • By avoiding investments in companies whose products or means of production don’t meet our environmental standards.
  • By actively seeking investments that build a bridge to a sustainable energy future.
  • Through community investments that respond to environmental challenges that impact the poor.

Today, Praxis has invested almost $100 million in bonds that fund a range of activities including solar and wind installations by utilities and governments, energy efficiency projects, green buildings, financing for electric vehicle sales, and other projects that mitigate the impacts of our changing climate.

Praxis co-filed shareholder resolutions in 2018 with several electric utilities, asking them to assess how their companies plan to address the risks and opportunities related to global efforts to limit climate change.

Praxis is a leading faith-based, socially responsible mutual fund family. It is the mutual fund family of Everence, managing nearly $1.4 billion on behalf of individuals, families and institutions.