Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The New Normal and the Anglican Foundation's Financing of Climate Action

Things are really changing, right? As we all look forward, the “new” normal will, in all likelihood, be nothing like “normal” at all—many changes which have rained down on us these past months will probably stay with us. Grocery shopping, church services, restaurant meals, haircuts (remember them?), concerts and sports—all may be very different experiences as we move back (forward?) into what we may—albeit wistfully—remember.

I live with a magnificent view of the Hamilton harbour outside the windows of my home—the beautiful bay, downtown Hamilton and, just off to the east, if I crane my neck a little, the heartland of Hamilton—the steel industry. I also live very close to two major arterial roads—lots of traffic! While the wail of sirens has not particularly diminished over these last months, the volume of traffic certainly has. The air quality over downtown is markedly better—bluer skies, a clearer view of the bay, and generally a “cleaner” environment.

There is abundant evidence all around us that a slow down, such as that we are experiencing with COVID, results, among many other things, in a dramatically improved environment. While we all know that the climate crisis is very real and very much the issue on the horizon (pun intended…), it sometimes takes a crisis of pandemic proportions to bring the message home. Irrespective of whatever the “new” normal does indeed look like, we know that we have the means to reduce carbon emissions, to clean up our environment, even though that all could come at a steep price.

How wonderful, then, that the Foundation, in its recent granting cycle, made 20 grants (totaling $50,000) to local projects all concerned with the climate crisis. We in the church community, working with others around us, can make such a difference. We who support the Foundation know only too well what a difference we can make by ensuring that the Foundation can continue to foster and finance such important work.


By Peter Wall. AFC Gift Consultant

Will We Learn from COVID-19 or Will We Go Back to Business-as-Usual?

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada Linda Nicholls on Climate Action in the Era of COVID-19

In an interview on May 12th on the weekly show from the Anglican Diocese of Montreal called Livewithleeann, the Primate of the Anglican Church Linda Nicholls dove into the challenges we face including those posed by Covid-19. Here is a transcript of Primate's response to a question about climate change from Richard Matthews, the chair of the Stewardship of the Environment Committee.

Should we continue to advocate for climate action in the era of COVID-19?

Primate Nicholls: "Absolutely [we should continue to advocate for climate action in the era of COVID-19]. I mean one of the things that has been so amazing and delightful to see is that because of COVID-19, with the shutdown across the world of so much use of fossil fuels we have actually seen the planet healing itself. We've have seen evidence that the planet can in only six weeks or eight weeks of the shutdown begin to reverse some of the effects which I think is worth highlighting and saying to people, OK when we are allowed to go back do we want to? Do we want to go back to the same frenetic pace? Do we want to go back to the same high level use, I mean, people in Ontario know that the 401 highway is the major route from Windsor right through to the other side of the province and most of the time it is just chock a block especially between Windsor the the eastern side of Toronto, and people have said my goodness its empty and to see, to be able to get around when there is less traffic to not be using as much of the fossil fuels and to see the effect on the environment with cleaner air people with asthma declaring that they can breathe easier in cities that have been devastated by pollution. I lived for some time in India. I know that for 30 years people in Delhi had not seen the sun. They can now see it and they can now see the mountains which had been hidden from view by the pall of pollution and smoke and gasoline fumes and diesel fumes. So I hope we will take the time to ask ourselves is there work that can and should still be done from home or from a place that doesn't require the same degree of travel? Its a question I am going to have to ask myself. I still live in London Ontario but the office for the national church is in Toronto. So I have worked from home some of the time will I do that more that's going to be a question that needs to be asked for those very reasons. So I think there is a reason alongside of COVID-19 to advocate for climate change among other issues that have been revealed by COVID-19. One of the things that a crisis like this does is it rips off the lid of all sorts of other issues around justice and care for the most vulnerable in our midst that we have put off to the side and so I think this is a moment that will change us."

To watch the full interview click here.

Executive Summary of the SEC's Most Recent Bishop's Report

Friday, June 5, 2020

World Environment Day Webinar: Faith for Earth Climate Change and Environmental Justice

As part of World Environment Day celebrations the event "Faith for Earth Climate Change and Environmental Justice" will take place on Friday June 5th 2:00am - 3:00am (EDT).

Faith-based organizations (FBOs) have been recognized as important players in protecting the environment and working towards climate justice. Their agility is crucial, especially at the local level and with other faith actors. In recent years, policymakers have begun to engage FBOs in environmental conservation and natural resources management as representatives of sustainable institutions. Tapping into the spiritual wealth of people and their beliefs stimulates people’s engagement and the organizational drive to contribute.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Ten Prayers for World Environment Day

World Environment Day takes place on June 5, 2020 and the theme this year is "Time for Nature".  We are called to reimagine our relationship with nature. This includes all the ways we rely on nature for our very survival (ie the foods we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink). The coronavirus pandemic is an urgent call to appreciate all the ways that we are dependent on nature, to combat species loss and to remember that we are polluting the planet and destroying habitats upon which we all depend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Call to Respond to Ecological Crisis: Worldwide Day of Prayer on May 24th

Pope Francis invites the Church to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’ Week.
On May 24th at noon local time bring solidarity to our world in a shared moment of prayer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Earth Day and the Church at a Crossroads

As we celebrate the 50th Earth Day, we are reminded of the Biblical conception of the Jubilee Year. “Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you” (Leviticus 25:10).  This Jubilee is marred by a modern day plague known as Covid-19.

The church should be concerned about Covid-19, but we should also be concerned about the far greater threat posed by environmental degradation and climate change. What we do to our planet we are doing to God’s creation, to ourselves and to each other.

Like climate change, this plague impacts the most vulnerable. This invites us to reevaluate our commitment to social justice and alter our perilous trajectory. If we are serious about our desire to preserve creation, we must acknowledge that we cannot return to business as usual. Our unbridled fixation on economic growth has led us to venerate industry and commerce over the gospel. Each year we take from the earth more than it can provide. Each year we pollute our air, soil and water. and each year we draw one step closer to a climate disaster.

It is time to repent for our errant ways and commit to making different choices. Lent is a time of reflection and at Easter we celebrate the resurrection. This is a time of opportunity, a time to move away from the old ways that augur death and consider a new path that embraces life. Let us take this opportunity to renew our relationship to creation as Christians who proclaim the gospel.

We are called to act by what the Bishop of Salisbury described as the prophetic voice of young people. The realities we face demand change and our failure to act makes us complicit. The church is at a crossroads. As we ponder a new vision in 2020 we need to decide whether we are here to promote our economic survival, or live out the gospel? It may be that by doing the later, we may increase the likelihood of achieving the former. At the very least in a world rife with divisions caring for creation can be a focus that brings us together.

Leviticus Chapter 26:1-13 describes how people will be blessed if they follow Gods command. However, failure to live in accordance with God is also described in graphic detail: “I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength. You will plant seed in vain” (Leviticus 26:16). Will we heed God’s command or be like Pharaoh and invite more deadly plagues? 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Easter and the Environment: The Call for Spiritual Transformation

The symbolism of Easter offers an opportunity to reflect on the importance of the natural world and the shift of consciousness required for the survival of life on this planet. If we are to find a way forward we urgently need to address climate change and environmental degradation.  To alter our perilous trajectory we need to assume responsibility for the state of our world. Science alone will not take us where we need to go. We need a transformation that will enable us to address the wide range of human activities that are adversely impacting the Earth's geology and ecosystems. Science alone cannot solve the crisis we face, to do that we will need a spiritual and cultural transformation.