Thursday, January 16, 2020

SEC’S Activities Over the Last Five Years

As we embark on a new decade, we have taken a moment to reflect on the Stewardship of the Environment Committee's (SEC) accomplishments. Through our social media channels, we report on faith based environmental news and provide resources to Christians and others in and beyond our community.  We create quarterly reports, support events, disseminate information, engage in direct actions, organize speakers conferences and hold vigils. Most recently we are working on the production of a short environmentally themed film
 
One of the outstanding highlights of the SEC's efforts was the successful fossil fuel divestment motion that was passed in the Anglican Diocese of Montreal on October 16th, 2015. Here is the presentation delivered in support of the motion by SEC Chair Richard Matthews. In support of this motion we consulted widely within the diocese and we published a wide range of support materials including a FAQ and a statement of support from Dr. Brooke Struck.

At the end of 2014, we launched our website and social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter with the intent of posting environmentally themed educational resources and communications related to climate action. These efforts were informed by the Anglican Communion's fifth Mark of Mission: "To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew life of the earth."  

We organized a speakers conference titled Creation Groans: Climate Justice Event (Christ Church Cathedral), we held a candlelight vigil in support of COP21. We have participated in direct actions and supported events including the Season of Creation, Earth Day/Earth Hour, Blue Dot Movement, Interfaith Eco-Action Day, Global Divestment Day, Justice Tour: Faith Climate Change and Poverty Anglican Eco-Ministry, A Good Friday Call for Climate Justice, and the Global Environmental Day of Prayer. We have also published numerous statements including those encouraging ecological witness, supporting climate change as a moral and justice issue, and drawing attention to the environmental crisis in the Arctic.    

Over the years we have published hundreds of articles and shared a wide range of faith-based resources. This includes articles on the Season of Creation, faith activities in support of the UN's annual Conference of the Parties (COP) and Canadian politics. We closely follow the work of ecologically minded organizations within the Canadian Anglican tradition including Creation Matters, ACEN, Greening Sacred Spaces and Greeningspirit.ca. To access links to these and other SEC activities click here.

In 2016 we rewrote our constitution and redefined our mandate and in 2017 we reflected on our strategic priorities as part of a longer-term vision. On Earth Day in 2017, the SEC hosted a Youth Litter Clean-Up Event on Mount Royal where we handed out environmentally themed loot bags that included children's books, seeds, environmentally safe cleaning products and  easy to follow information on composting and recycling.
In 2018 the SEC relaunched with new leadership, a new vision and a new mission.  We started the year by creating a survey to help us gauge Anglican attitudes on nature. The results of our poll reveal that Anglicans are meaningfully engaged in nature and they believe that we must act to protect it. Further, they are actively involved in efforts that support nature in their personal lives. The results also suggest that most Anglican respondents would benefit from knowing what they can do to be better environmental stewards.  In response to this poll we began writing and publishing a series of posts called the Eightfold Path of Environmental Action. They are designed as resources that respond to the needs expressed by those who took the survey.  

1. Right Understanding: Knowing the facts about climate change
2. Right Thought: How we think about the natural world
3. Right Speech: Effective environmental communications
4. Right Action: Making smaller footprints
5. Right Livelihood: Work that benefits the planet
6. Right Effort: Choosing a cause
7. Right Concentration: Staying focused on nature
8. Right Mindfulness: Managing climate stress 


In 2018 we also began writing and submitting quarterly environmental reports to Bishop Mary. The inaugural was submitted on April 1, 2018.  These reports are consistent with the revised SEC mandate and they contain a brief review of our activities and plans as well as faith focused environmental news. We also amplified Bishop Mary's messages about plastic waste by relaying her messages and published 21 curated posts. In September, the SEC attended a plastic-free picnic hosted by Christ Church Cathedral's Environmental Social Justice Action Group (ESJAG) to celebrate the Season of Creation.   

In 2019 we focused our efforts on the creation of a short environmental film. We chose to make a film with the hope of delivering a broadly accessible message that reaches people in a way that both resonates and inspires action. On Easter Sunday we consulted with the film maker and environmental scientists who all members of the St. Jax community to get feedback on the film’s themes. We developed a storyline, engaged a scriptwriter and created a storyboard. We titled the film Aya's Mirror and formally announced it in June. It was recognized by the U.N. on World Environment Day (WED).  We began preparing to support the project with multi-channel marketing campaigns.  This includes an Initial pre-release marketing strategy and content (introductions to the film making team, behind the scenes stuff, teasers etc.

As we begin an exciting new chapter in the history of the SEC we would like to thank the Diocese and Bishop Mary for their unrelenting support.  In 2020 we look forward to appearing on Live with Lee-Ann on Earth Day and stay tuned for more information on the release of Aya's Mirror, the SEC's long awaited short film that will be released in September.

A FAITH BASED CASE FOR CLIMATE ACTION

To read the Executive Summary of the SEC's most recent Environmental Report click here, for access to the full report click here or go to the Diocesan Website here and click on the tab marked SEC Environmental Report July 2019 - December 2019. Older reports are also available. 

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