Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Building Bridges: Stewardship of the Environment Committee's Mission Plans for 2018

The Stewardship of the Environment Committee (SEC) in the Anglican Diocese of Montreal is pleased to share our mission priorities for 2018. We are grateful to serve alongside an increasing number of faith communities that are prioritizing environmental stewardship. This year we will focus on crafting narratives that appeal to shared values. We will do this by telling stories that invite engagement.

As we embark on our newest initiatives, the SEC wishes to thank everyone who has supported us over the years, especially the delegates who voted in support of the fossil fuel divestment motion at the 2015 Synod. I am happy to report that as a function of your votes divestment efforts are underway in our diocese.

The Diocese of Montreal was among the first wave of faith communities to pass a divestment motion. Since then dioceses across North America and around the world have passed similar motions. The Anglican Diocese of Ottawa has passed a divestment motion as did the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada.  The Anglican Diocese of Quebec is already fully divested from fossil fuels.

The SEC is grateful to have been given the opportunity to play a leadership role in helping to pass the motion in Montreal. In addition to our divestment efforts, the SEC has supported and staged events. We have welcomed speakers, published statements, held vigils, and supported actions like those associated with the Blue Dot Movement, the Season of Creation, Earth Hour and Earth Day. We also published a number of viral posts.

After all our efforts in 2015 we were deeply gratified by the Paris Climate deal reached at COP21. However, our resolve was tested when Donald Trump was elected president of the United States and subsequently began the process of withdrawing the US from the agreement.

Exhausted and crestfallen the SEC lost focus. Nonetheless, in 2017 we continued our social media efforts and hosted a Youth Litter Cleanup Event on Earth Day. In 2018 we are reviving our commitment with renewed vigor. We will leverage our strengths and use the tools at our disposal to refocus our social media efforts. We will employ the lessons we have learned from studying climate communications to weave effective yet simple climate narratives that both inform and engage.

We believe that bridge building is a key component of environmental justice work. At a time when the world seems more divided than ever, environmental stewardship can bring people together around a common purpose. To this end, we will explore shared ecological values within our parishes and foster ecumenical ties with other faith groups.

In addition to providing Bishop Mary with quarterly reports, the SEC will prioritize a long deferred production project. Through a series of three short videos, we seek to increase awareness and promote both environmental and climate action. In the process, we hope to build bridges and foster unity around a common purpose.

Leveraging the power of digital media we will reach out beyond the walls of our parishes to forge relationships and share our inclusive and welcoming vision of environmental evangelism.

We are extending an open invitation to all who see the merit of protecting the natural world. We are reaching out because climate change and environmental degradation concern everyone. We are at a crossroads and what we collectively do in the coming decade will determine the fate of all humanity. We are all in this together so we must work together for our own sakes and for the sake of future generations.

We invite your comments and suggestions and we encourage you to stay tuned for regular updates on our progress.

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