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Third Act’s Day of Action on March 21 seeks limits to bankrolling fossil fuel expansion


Third Act Faith, an interfaith working group of clergy and laity, is helping with the day’s events

March 15, 2023

Photo by Micheile-Dot-Com via Unsplash

Third Act, whose members are age 60+, is organizing a Day of Action that will give people, regardless of age, an opportunity on March 21 to pressure the “Big Four” banks (Bank of America, Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo) to stop bankrolling the expansion of the fossil fuel industry.

Third Act is not doing this alone. According to a Third Act news release, to date, 29 other organizations have signed on as partners for the Day of Action, including GreenFaith, the Sierra Club and the Hip Hop Caucus.

Among those working on behalf of the 3.21.23 campaign are the members of Third Act Faith, an interfaith working group of laity and clergy from across the nation and denominations who bring a faith-based perspective and presence to Third Act’s work. To that end, they are at work on creating a liturgy specifically for the Day of Action, under the leadership of the Rev. Jerry Cappel, an Episcopal priest and director of the Center for Deep Green Faith, and Rev. Dr. Jane Ellen Nickell, Chaplain Emerita of Allegheny College. They also are encouraging its members and their faith communities to be involved, where possible, in local 3.21.23 actions.

Third Act was founded a little over a year ago by longtime climate activist Bill McKibben to encourage the nation’s elders to join with others to address major threats including the assaults on democracy and on the planet. Who is better suited to work on this? As McKibben has pointed out, elders hold 70 percent of the nation’s private wealth; they bring skills and abilities gained through a lifetime of experience; they vote in large numbers; and they are more likely to have time to volunteer.

For climate-concerned Presbyterians, this means that they and their congregations and mid councils have an opportunity to publicly acknowledge — on March 21 — that faith communities have a moral responsibility to serve their neighbor, who, as the Rev. Jim Antal has observed, includes not only the people who live nearby but also all of Creation for generations to come. For more information about Third Act Faith, visit its Facebook page and check out its newsletters, Third Acts of Faith and Third Act Faith Going Deep. Or contact

What is the 3.21.23 Day of Action?

Quite simply, it will be a constellation of local, nonviolent activities held in communities across the country to bring attention to the looming climate crisis. According to a United Nations report, by 2030, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by at least 45% just to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, including more frequent and severe droughts, heat waves and rainfall. One way to help accomplish that goal is to stop the expansion of fossil fuel extraction and sharply decrease fossil fuel use worldwide. Learn more from McKibben’s blog here.

A local action may be something as simple as writing letters to the editor. A local event may also involve taking direct action. Some groups, for example, plan to meet with branch bank managers to talk about the issue. Some are organizing gatherings to cut up credit cards literally or symbolically outside these banks or some “iconic” place impacted by climate change. One group is planning an underwater protest at a dying coral reef.

Most but not all local actions are being hosted by Third Act’s working groups in states and communities from Maine to San Francisco and many places between. An online interactive map has been published on Third Act’s website. And to help organize an action, Third Act has prepared a comprehensive Event Guide that offers ideas, information, music and art.

Dr. Dan Terpstra is a ruling elder at First Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; former moderator of Fossil Free PCUSA; a retired research associate at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and a member of the Presbytery of East Tennessee’s Climate & Energy Stewardship Team. He is also a member of the Third Act Faith Coordinating Committee and moderator of its Faithful Banking subcommittee.

Today’s Focus: Third Act’s Day of Action

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Doug Tilton, Mission co-worker serving in South Africa, World Mission, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Jenna Tobbe, Operations Administrator, Presbyterian Foundation

Let us pray

Spirit of the Living God, wrap us in your love and make us one. Amen.

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