The Earth, Spirit, Action Team (ESA) Newsletter
St. Matthew’s United Church
May, 2022 _________No.12_____
Season of Pentecost – God’s Breath and New Creation.
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while the spirit of God swept over the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2
Jesus said “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem… and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Welcome to the twelfth issue of Good Tidings. This newsletter attempts to provide information on local and global environmental and climate change issues; suggestions for personal and political actions to build a healthy planet; information about petitions, symposiums, and resources from other environment and climate change groups; and links to worship and prayer opportunities. We are glad to hear from you at email@example.com.
Welcome to the Good Tidings issue in Pentecost Season. Our focus in this issue is on food, farming, and Creation, and the relationships between our food choices and habits, and the environment. In Pentecost we are reminded that just as God’s Spirit (that mighty wind) created the world, God’s Spirit breathes life and power into us to live in peace, harmony, and sustainability with Creation.
“I feel the winds of God today, today my sail, I’ll lift... if hope but light the water’s crest and Christ my bark will use, I’ll seek the seas at his behest, and brave another cruise.” VU 625
Rev. Gordon Murray, member and friend of our church, has published several of his Prayerpoems in Sage, © GORDON S. MURRAY, Limited Edition 2018, ETC Press, Halifax, NS. In our Pentecost Season issue, we are including two of Gordon’s recent Prayerpoems, Creation and Brother Sister Wind. Marveling at God’s life- giving breath in us and all creation, they will introduce and conclude this issue of Good Tidings. Gordon, thank you for generously sharing them with us.
Creation Genesis 1 - 3
I choose to believe
that creation is not random,
but comes from You
out of You
because of You
opens a new living canvas
of colour, of shape
of smell, of sound
of texture, of movement
caught in wonder
and staggering beauty
that nothing yet known
has been able to emulate
all our art
and bows in silent adoration.
FOCUS ON FOOD THIS SPRING; COMMUNITY ACTION ITEM by Anne Marie Dalton
Earth Spirit Action team is inviting us all to focus on food and farmers during this season. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be posting to St. Matthew’s website suggestions and reflections around the theme of food… growing food, cooking food, choosing food, remembering stories about food.
Our Christian faith has always been intrinsically related to sharing food, especially with those in need. Feeding the hungry is at the core of our ethics and moral life. Perhaps we have not always paid as much attention to the ways in which our faith also calls us to consider the ways in which our food is produced, and the consequences of food industry. So we hope that as a community we can spend some time this spring thinking about the many aspects of food.
To help us along, we are encouraging us all to consider some simple but important action around food and to share them with each other. So:
We have gardeners … share some of your experiences; are you planting for butterflies or bees, do you have tips for newbies to planting’
We know that the raising of cattle for meat is quite costly with regard to carbon emissions; are there steps you might take to reduce meat consumption especially from large corporate farms. Consider buying local if you can. Have you found some favourite local food markets to support? Do you have favourite vegetarian recipes or have experience moving to a “less meat” or “no meat” diet?
There are some of us who do not have much choice when it comes to the food we eat … it all comes already prepared. Maybe you have stories from earlier times… favourite recipes, stories about learning to farm or cook, or family wisdoms favourite related to food. We would like to hear them.
A BOX has been placed at the entrance of the church and we hope you will write up your stories, or recipes or suggestions related to food and drop them in this box. You can also choose to participate virtually. Send any submissions to StMattsESAG@gmail.com
Margaret Machum will collect them and arrange an appropriate way to share them with the rest of us. We hope this can be a kind of communal sharing during this time when we have limited occasions to do so.
FARMING IN NOVA SCOTIA IN 2022 by Margaret C Machum.
Nova Scotia with its fertile and still plentiful farmland offers many options for good, sustainable, and organic food. Eating these vegetables, fruits, and meats provides delicious, nutritious, and pure foods for us and our families. I remember the first time that I ate a meal of organic food and I exclaimed, “This organic food tastes like food did in my childhood”. As a child, fresh food bought either at a farm or a grocery store tasted the same - that is flavourful. How sad that this is no longer the case and we have to search out tasty food. However, living in the Halifax/Dartmouth area, we can have the pleasure of enjoying good food from many sources. A list of Grocers and Farms can be found below.
Unfortunately, these foods and farms are threatened as farmers deal with low income, lack of help, the government, and competition from commercial farms.
Farmers have to put in ridiculously long hours of back-breaking work while having to spend too much time navigating government paper-work in order to stay in business. A lot of time is spent modifying, fabricating, and otherwise inventing anything to reduce the labour load while keeping the cash flow in the black. At the same time, labour supply is tight. COVID restrictions on travel did not help with this supply. Yet, fortunately, farmers still want to do this work. It does have rewards; working outdoors with beautiful scenery and fresh air, accomplishing growing things with a sense of satisfaction and self-worth in a job well done.
One needs will power and resilience to be successful. There is the threat of storms or drought but now the task is increasingly an uphill battle. Unthinking bureaucracy and now obvious pretty rapid climate change is making for a steeper slope. Burnout is always a risk for the family farm.
Various government and service agencies bombard the farmer with seminars on building resiliency so that the farmer can accomplish more for less and keep the illusion of cheap food alive but no one is offering help or real solutions. These organizations continue to cheer from the sidelines.
To enhance the pressure, the climate is changing and bureaucracy continues to erode any possibility of agriculture thriving in this province or even in Canada. Canadian food security has been eroded directly as a result of food processing being moved out of the country because government regulation makes it unprofitable.
The emotions of what is happening or, more significantly not happening, are tremendous. We all need to do something for the sake of the next generation. Despite all the challenges, many small farms in Nova Scotia are moving the needle forward toward much more environmentally sound ways of growing food and are dedicated to leading the charge.
This article contains thoughts by the farmers of both Elmridge and Taproot and I thank them for their words. A further resource is the book Grit which looks at will- power and resilience.
Local Grocers, Halifax/Dartmouth
LF Bakery (Laurent’s French Bakery), 2063 Gottingen Street
Local Source, 2530 Agricola Street
Luke’s Bakery, 2393 Agricola Street
Noggins on Coburg, 1474 Seymour Street, Halifax
Obee’s Market, Alderney Landing
Osprey Roost Butchery and Provisions, 2100 Oxford Street and 5544 Kaye St. (Hydrostone)
Ratenaud Charcuterie, 2157 Gottingen Street
Real Fake Meats, (Plant based meat substitutes), 2278 Gottingen Street
Tare Shop, 5539 Cornwallis Street
Warehouse Market, 2867 Isleville Street
Local Food Pick-ups through on-line orders, Halifax/Dartmouth
Elmridge Farm Ltd. Saturday: Halifax Forum with Home Delivery option or Seaport Market.
On-line orders can be placed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Taproot Farms. Wednesday: Halifax Forum; Noggins on Coburg; Obee’s Market, Alderney Landing
Taproot offers CSA boxes which can be ordered for a season on-line at CSA@taprootfarms.ca
Wild Pasture Farm. Friday: at the farm in Lower Onslow. Saturday: Truro Farmers’ Market
Online orders are available about once per month with pick-up at Obee’s Market, Alderney Landing,
2 Ochterloney Street, Dartmouth. E-mail: wildpasturefarm.net
Update on Energy Audit at St. Matt’s
Following the Official Board’s decision at its April Meeting to engage Tate Engineering to do an energy audit of the St. Matthew’s buildings, the energy audit was conducted Tuesday, May 17th. Motahhar Qadri, B.Eng., CEM., CRE, Energy Manager from TATE Engineering Inc. arrived at 11 am and Wayne Lynch and Elaine Murray walked through the building with him. Here are Elaine’s notes on the visit.
“Mr. Qadri requested architectural drawings for the building but we did not have any on hand. He took measurements in the sanctuary with a laser device, asked about insulation, how much use the sanctuary gets, what other groups use the building, what the heat source was. He took lots of pictures. Wayne took him to the attic space, and to the basement to see the boiler room and spaces there. He looked at the gym which was being used at the time, went into the kitchen to see the old appliances we have, and went to the office spaces as well. I thought his inspection was very thorough. We tried to find one outside wall with a hole in the plaster that would permit him to see what was in the walls. There was a place where the sewer pipe goes out where he could see and feel how much cold air was coming through the wall. I don't know when we will get the final report but it will be very interesting to see what it says.” Elaine Murray
Petitions & Letters, Webinars, Conferences, and Newsletters from Environmental and Justice Groups.
Protect Eisner Cove Wetlands. By Anne Fay
The Eisner Cove Wetland is a near-pristine forested wetland located within a densely populated area of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, just two kilometers from downtown Dartmouth, and is bounded by Gaston Rd, Highway 111, Woodside Industrial Park and Lynn Dr. The wetland itself occupies about 12 hectares, and is currently surrounded and sheltered by about 43 hectares of old growth Wabanaki-Acadian forest. The wetland once continued all the way to Eisner Cove on the Halifax Harbour, but the downstream area was filled in many years ago.
Wetlands play a vital role in carbon sequestering. They purify water systems, provide a buffer for the impacts of climate change such as flooding, improve air quality, and moderate extreme heat.
The Eisner Cove Wetland is home to many species of plants (Lady’s Slippers, Dogtooth Violets, Trilliums, wild Rhodora), animals (deer, otters, foxes) and hosts many species of migratory birds.
The land was publicly owned until 2020 when it was sold to by a provincial crown corporation to private interests. The proposed developments at the Southdale Future Growth Node will put the long-term viability of the wetland at risk. The land to be developed slopes downward towards the wetland, so road salt runoff and other pollutants associated with human activity will inevitably find their way to the wetland and do irreparable damage to this ecologically sensitive region.
The destruction of this old-growth green space in the Regional Centre goes against HRM’s goals related to open space preservation set out in the Halifax Green Network Plan as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation targets in the HalifACT 2050 plan.
Considering other HRM landmarks and properties are not permitted to be altered from their “original” form dating back to the 1850s, the wetland and surrounding forest should be protected as heritage. This forested area, which includes the active remnant of a larger original ecosystem, has been untouched for centuries or more.
Disturbing the Eisner Cove Wetland will release significant amounts of stored carbon into the air in the form of greenhouse gases, and will reduce our ability to store carbon in the future. Pockets of green space in urban areas help to keep temperatures cool in summer months. Wetlands reduce risk of flooding to neighbouring communities by providing a place for excess water to be.
The developer has started clearing the forested area (between Lynn Drive and Highway 111) up to and infringing upon the wetlands, although this is in violation of by-laws.
A map with the proposed development can be found on the Protect Eisner Cove Wetland website, under the button "Wetland in danger". This link (below), or the basic web page link, should get you there. https://www.protecteisnerwetland.ca/wetland-in-danger https://www.protecteisnerwetland.ca/
The developer has since applied for approval for further early tree cutting and earthworks, which will go to the city planning office in the very near future. The decision will largely be made by provincial housing Minister John Lohr. While more housing options are needed in HRM, there are more appropriate locations.
What can you do?
1. Sign a petition - ideally a physical petition, online petitions may not be counted.
2. There is an online petition with change.org http://change.org that is just a few signatures short of the 1500 goal.
3. Write a letter to your MLA, provincial housing minister Hon. John Lohr, and the Housing Task Force (HousingTaskforce@novascotia.ca<mailto:HousingTaskforce@novascotia.ca
For more information:
Petition by 350.org/canada calls on Federal Gov’t to cancel $10 Billion loan guarantee to Trans Mountain Pipeline. Petition at: https://350.org/canada Follow link to “Campaigns” and scroll down to “Reconsider TMX”.
Letter from Sierra Club Canada to Federal Ministers protesting Gov’t support for Bay du Nord Project. Letter on “Minister’s Misinformation on Bay du Nord” and suggestions for action can be found at: https://www.sierraclub.ca
Petition by David Suzuki Foundation to Federal Government to support the generation of energy through clean renewable electricity by 2035, and to “terminate public financing for fossil fuel generation with carbon-capture-and storage and new small nuclear reactors, and redirect public funds toward renewable electricity and enabling technologies”. Sign the petition at: https://nwmd.io/s/email/Zh88BzjEHQ==/r
Webinars and Conferences:
A Climate of Hope Conference: Postponed until Fall, Online Webinar June 4th, 10am-12pm.
Due to concerns about in- person gatherings and ongoing Covid infections, The Ecology Action Centre will be moving our Climate of Hope: Faith Communities Confront the Climate Emergency conference to early autumn. The day-long conference will host workshops, speakers and resource sharing with a focus on initiatives and strategies that tackle different climate change issues.
On June 4th from 10am to 12pm we will host a Zoom Webinar to begin looking at ways that faith communities are addressing the climate crisis as well as lessons, tools and resources that can help us to transition to a post carbon caring society. We will feature some of the speakers who will give workshops at the Fall conference. Register Here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/faith-communities-confront-the-climate-emergency-a-conversation-tickets-348214738657?aff=estw&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&utm-medium=discovery&utm-source=tw&utm-term=listing
We apologize for any inconvenience this causes and hope you will join us for a shorter webinar on June 4th and an in-person conference in the Fall.
Citizens for Public Justice invite you to their Zoom Conference “Seeking Justice in Our Institutions”. May 25-26- 27. Register at: https://cpj.ca
David Suzuki Foundation invites you to join them for the 30 year anniversary celebration of the UN’s Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro on Monday June 6th, 8-9 AT to reflect on the past 30 years of activism and look ahead to the next 30. David Suzuki, Tara Cullis, and Severn Cullis-Suzuki will be there with other guests. There will be a special screening of the animated and Oscar short-listed film “Only a Child” by Amka Films. Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KvXUhFL1RJKgc_X4kQ31iQ
The Sierra Club Canada invites you to their webinar “2030 is Tomorrow: Protecting 30% of the Gulf of St. Lawrence is Urgent and Feasible” on June 16th, 2pm AT. Speaker: Veronique Bussieres. Register at https://sierraclub.ca
“For the Love of Creation”. Newsletter. This program is a collaboration of Canadian churches and organizations (including United Church of Canada and Citizens for Public Justice) and is a faith based initiative for climate justice. May Newsletter at: https://fortheloveofcreation.ca
Ecology Action Centre May Newsletter. email@example.com or https://ecologyaction.ca
Fair Vote Canada. This organization promotes electoral reform through proportional representation and is calling for a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. It is well worth a visit to their website for information on how proportional representation would work and what the results might look like in terms of broader based policy decisions. https://fairvote.ca
Did You Know?
In the last issue of good Tidings, Gayle Reiner asked us to include a “Did You Know?” column that would present important information or facts about the environment, climate change, and lifestyle choices. Here is our first installment, contributed by Anne Marie Dalton.
BAD NEWS: Meat and dairy products provide only 18% of food calories worldwide; beef supplies only 3%. Their production, however, creates 60% of carbon emissions from agriculture.
GOOD NEWS: Sales of plant-based foods grew three times faster than all food sales in 2021.
Vegetarian Recipes from Margaret Machum’s Kitchen…
Strawberry Apple Cobbler
Makes 6 servings; preparation time: 10 minutes; cooking time: 50 minutes
½ cup sugar 3 Tbsp flour 1 tsp cinnamon 1lemon, grated and peeled 5 cups strawberries 2 cups apples, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour 3 Tbs sugar 1 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp baking soda ¼ tsp salt 3 Tbsp butter, cold and cut into bits ⅓ cup buttermilk
1. Turn oven to 400F.
2. In bowl, mix together dry ingredients, Stir in strawberries, apples, then lemon juice.
3. Spread in 8-cup shallow baking dish. Bake in oven for 10 minutes
4. Make topping by mixing together dry ingredients. Using fingers, cut in butter until crumbly. With fork, stir in buttermilk until soft dough forms.
5. Drop by spoonfuls onto fruit in 6 evenly spaced mounds.
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden.
For gluten free, substitute flour with rice flour. For topping, use ¾ cup rice flour with ¼ cup almond flour. Other fruit may be substituted such as rhubarb, blueberries, raspberries, apples.
Brother Sister Wind ~ Rev. Gordon Murray
(Genesis 1:2 - a wind from God swept over the face of the waters;
Genesis 2:7 - and God breathed into 'his' nostrils the breathe of life, and the 'formed clay' became a living being}
Brother Sister wind -
Brother Sister wind
Life-giving breath of God
from the water womb
you breathed us
Brother Sister wind
you filled sails
but we chose FIRE
fueling our machinations
befouling your air
Brother Sister wind
Breath of God
is it too late?
Breathe us clean!