The Earth, Spirit, Action Team (ESA) Newsletter
St. Matthew’s United Church
December, 2022 _________No.16___ _
Advent / Christmas – Season of Hope.
“Blest be the God of Israel, who comes to set us free, who visits and redeems us and grants us liberty. The prophets spoke of mercy, of freedom and release, God shall fulfil the promise and bring the people peace.” from “Song of Zechariah”, VU 901
“O come, O Dayspring, from on high, and cheer us by your drawing nigh, disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel.” from “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”, VU 1
Welcome to this Christmas edition of Good Tidings, St. Matthew’s ESA newsletter providing information on global and local environmental and climate change issues; suggestions for personal and political actions to build a healthy planet; information about petitions; resources from other environmental groups; and links to worship and prayer opportunities. We would like to hear your comments and views at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas - a Season of Hope.
Christmas is a season of hope. It is also a season of giving, and of entertaining. In this issue, we try to provide you with some helpful gift suggestions to reduce consumption and help care for creation, with tips on climate change and environmental organizations you might wish to donate to on behalf of a friend and as a gift to that friend; and with suggestions about great books you may wish to give. In this season of entertaining, we offer a vegetarian Christmas Recipe from Margaret Machum’s kitchen.
Paul Bowlby will share his assessment of the recent COP27 Climate Conference in Egypt in which he notes a victory, a fund to assist poor countries with damage and loss due to climate and weather catastrophes. Because we are called to join God’s restoring work, we are including information about petitions and actions you may wish to support.
May this Season celebrating Incarnation rekindle our hope, as it reminds us of God’s love for Creation, that God has not abandoned creation nor us, that God moves in our midst to restore, renew, and heal. In this season we can draw encouragement from Desmond Tutu’s words, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness,” and by the hope expressed in a familiar carol, “O that birth forever blessed! When the Virgin full of grace, by the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Saviour of our race, and the babe, the world’s redeemer, first revealed his sacred face, evermore and evermore.”
Books for Christmas Reading, Books for Giving. by Anne Marie Dalton
Here are some excellent books on climate change and environmental issues you might consider giving as gifts this Christmas…
Gayle Boss (illustrated by David Klein). All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings. Paraclete Press. 2016. Review: https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2016/11/26/book-review-%25E2%2580%259Call-creation-waits-advent-mystery-new-beginnings%25E2%2580%259D Videos by author: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMxnyyBvmaU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37hwTRUD8Fo
Thomas Homer Dixon. Commanding Hope: The Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril. Penquin Random House Canada. 2022. Review: https://quillandquire.com/review/commanding-hope-the-power-we-have-to-renew-a-world-in-peril/ Interview with Author: https://homerdixon.com/interview-with-tom-rand/
Leah Schade and Margaret Bullitt Jones (eds). Rooted and Rising. Voices of Hope in a Time of Climate Change. Rowman and Littlefield. 2019. Review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/ecopreacher/2019/11/rooted-and-rising-courage-climate-crisis/
Greta Thunberg. The Climate Book. Allen Lane Publishers, 2022. Review: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/nov/15/the-climate-book-created-by-greta-thunberg-review-an-angry-call-for-action
World Council of Churches. The Living Planet: Seeking a Just and Sustainable Global Community. Statement by the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsrube 2022, Germany. Available at: https://www.oikoumene.org/resources/documents/the-living-planet-seeking-a-just-and-sustainable-global-community
Evelyn Forget, & Hannah Owczar. Radical Trust: Basic Income for Complicated Lives. Review at: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/60068564-radical-trust
Katharine Hayhoe. Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World. One Signal Publishers.2021 Review at: https://www.honestlymodern.com/book-review-of-saving-us-by-katharine-hayhoe/
“If you want peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.”— Desmond Tutu
Books for Children and Adults.
Bob Haverluck. The Court Case of the Creatures, 2022, available at Common Word. “A seriously whimsical story of the watery earth's day in court.” Bob is a UC Minister, theologian, and “artist-storyteller” who works with community groups using the arts to help engage issues of violence against the earth and her creatures.” Review at: https://www.commonword.ca/ResourceView/82/25610
COP27: The 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Nov 6, 2022 – Nov 18, 2022
Some 45,000 representatives from both governments and citizen groups met in Egypt for COP27. As the conference title indicates these gatherings under the auspices of the United Nations have been occurring for 27 years. It serves to remind us that climate change is a crisis and we are already living through it. In the words of Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General: Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing, global temperatures keep rising, and our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible…. We’re on a highway to climate hell.”
The objective of these conferences has repeatedly been to create an international commitment to limit the increase of global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The outcome of discussions at COP27 has led some commentators to the conclusion that achieving such a goal is unlikely.
COP27 succeeded in one major respect. Low- and middle-income countries campaigned hard for the creation of an international fund to assist countries facing loss and damage because of Climate Change. From the outset of the conference the western nations responsible for most of the carbon pollution resisted such a plan. It took an extra day of campaigning to come out with an agreement. Among the beneficiaries are countries such as Pakistan suffering under massive flooding, and Somalia facing widespread drought. They will have access to support from this new international fund. While this agreement was approved, the actual implementation of the fund will require another year to negotiate.
As for Canada’s role at the conference, the Canadian delegation was led by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Steven Guilbeault. The Prime Minister did not attend. Canada’s governmental delegation resisted any attempt to legislate the phase-out of oil and gas. The reasons are not surprising. The Germanwatch environmental group responsible for the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) reported at the conference. Its index “placed Canada in the 58th spot among 63 countries on the list…Only Russia, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia and Iran ranked lower” (Globe and Mail, November 15, 2022). Such a dismal ranking makes clear that Canada is not on track to meet its own stated objectives for 2030, let alone zero carbon emissions in 2050.
Discouraging for sure! Let’s hope that Prime Minister Trudeau makes a real difference for nature and wild-life at the biodiversity conference in Montreal, and with the upcoming legislature to place a hard cap on fossil fuel emissions. Paul Bowlby
From the Moderator’s Advent Message in the December issue of Broadview
“He (John) instructed them, ‘Bear fruit that is worthy of repentance.’ This phrase leaps off the page at me. The way that systemic injustice works – whether it relates to inequality, reconciliation, or climate change – is that the status quo is easier and benefits those with power, and change is hard. Which means that we can fall so short of living into the things we say are our values.”
For me, this is what the season of Advent is for: it’s a time for reflection, for recentring our minds on that hope and dreaming of what is possible. When the Christ Child arrives all things are possible.
Humans are amazing when we stay in a posture of hope and possibility. And hope and possibility are what we need if we truly want to bear fruit worthy of repentance.”
Rt. Rev. Carmen Lansdowne, Moderator, U C of C.
IDEAS FOR A GREEN CHRISTMAS 2022 by Margaret Machum
To help you prepare for an eco-friendly Christmas while providing for others, here are some suggestions. produce that is grown in Nova Scotia, and ideas for donations to help the earth.
Gifts. Use your craft skills to knit, crochet, sew, or build to make presents. Find locally-made items at Christmas fairs and stores. Support local retailers.
Food. Local produce is available at Farmers Markets and stores. Vegetables are for sale from Elmridge Farms in the Forum parking lot on Wednesdays from 10:30 to 12:30 until December 15. Produce can be ordered on-line for either Wednesday or Saturday pick-up at the Forum with booths at the Forum Farmers Market on Saturdays.
Noggins has stores in Halifax and Bedford. They sell local produce, meats, and bakery items. Local Source has two stores in Halifax which sell local produce, meats, and bakery items. They also have locally-made items such as beeswax candles which make great gifts. Free-range turkeys can be purchased from Osprey, Getaway, Wild Pasture Farm, and may be found in grocery stores.
Donations to Help in Canada and Around the World.
CBAN - Work to prevent the sale of unassessed, undisclosed genetically-modified (GM) seeds which would threaten the future of organic food and farming.
Amnesty International Canada - Across the globe, human rights are being threatened by violence and injustice. On December 10, International Human Rights Day, send letters to request the release of wrongfully accused and imprisoned political activists.
Canadian Red Cross - donations will make all the difference for those made vulnerable by harsh winter conditions due to ice storms, power outages, inadequate shelters.
Hospice Halifax - provides end-of-life care and bereavement support to improve how Nova Scotians experience death and dying.
Humanitarian Coalition - responds to major catastrophes but also mobilizes for smaller events by providing clean water kits, food, mosquito nets, access to emergency health care, PPE equipment.
Indspire - supports First Nation, Inuit, and Métis students as they pursue post-secondary education.
Operation Smile - provide life-changing surgery and care to children to create more smiles across the globe.
UNHCR - Help displaced people by providing transitional shelters.
UNICEF - Help children facing hardships caused by conflicts, climate disasters, and hunger crises.
Invest in Nature, Our Greatest Ally:
Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature - a worldwide network of people and communities working together to recognize and protect Rights of Nature.
Nature Conservancy of Canada - protect breathtaking Canadian landscapes and species.
Stand.earth - is present when wild places are endangered.
Wildlife Preservation Canada - the only organization in Canada with a goal to rebuild wild bumble bee populations through conservation breeding to protect Canada’s food production system.
World Wildlife Fund Canada - adoption kits are available to protect endangered species.
David Suzuki Foundation - Helps Canada to fulfil its climate promises, to fast-track the transition from fossil fuels to clean renewable sources, and to advance environmental justice.
350.org - Fight for our planet and communities for a better future, to transition to 100% renewable energy with justice, and to protect irreplaceable forests by building a people-powered movement.
Please watch for the ESA’s “Lunch and Learn” Series taking place after church on last Sundays of the winter months, focused on climate change and hopeful steps being accomplished. Speakers Lil MacPherson, food expert and founder/owner of Wooden Monkey, Jim Abraham, Meteorologist, and others will join us.
Petitions and Actions.
Hartlen Point. A proposed military facility at Hartlen Point could ruin the area for birding, surfing, and fishing. DND wants to build a $65M warship testing site. They warn of potentially harmful radio emissions, an environmental concern for people nearby. According to eBird, Hartlen ranks tenth on a list of the most biodiverse areas for birds in Canada and is the only site without any provincial or federal protection.
To read more see article by Martin Bauman: https://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/hartlen-point-military-warship-testing-facility-sparks-concerns/Content?oid=29786520
To register your opposition to DND’s development of the Hartlen Point site write:
The Honourable Anita Anand,Minister of National Defence, 101 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0K2. The Honourable Andy Fillmore, 1888 Brunswick Street Suite 808, Halifax, NS, B3J 3J8.
The Honourable Lena Metlege Diab, 401-3845 Joseph Howe Drive, Halifax, NS, B3L 4H9.
“Despair can come from deep grief, but it can also be a defense against the risks of bitter disappointment and shattering heartbreak. Resignation and cynicism are easier, more self-soothing postures that do not require raw vulnerability and tragic risk of hope. To choose hope is to step firmly forward into the howling wind, baring one's chest to the elements, knowing that, in time, the storm will pass.” Bishop Desmond Tutu
For over six years Atlantic Canada has led the country on Basic Income advocacy; mobilizing communities, city councils and provincial legislatures; urging municipalities to pass Basic Income Resolutions; inspiring provincial politicians of all political stripes to collaborate; sending the Prime Minister thousands of letters. . Neither Parliament nor the federal government has responded.
We are launching a 3 week campaign demanding that federal and provincial governments listen to the call of the people of Atlantic Canada for a Basic Livable Income. Please take one action each week.
Week 1: Write your Liberal MP (of 24 Liberal MPs in Atlantic Canada) asking why the PM has yet to respond, and asking the federal government to finally give Atlantic Canadians a response. Week 2: Write Councilors and Mayors thanking those who’ve voted to support Basic Income, and encouraging those who haven’t, to join their neighbouring city and town councils.
Week 3: Write your MLA or MHA asking him/her to join the multiparty example from P.E.I. in advocating for Basic Income, and to engage directly with their federal counterparts. Thank you.
For A Hearty Christmas and Wintry Soup try
Margaret Machum’s Mushroom and Potato Soup
Makes 6 servings; preparation time:20 minutes; cooking time:20 minutes
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, 1 cup stems and 1-2 cups leaves, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups broccoli, cut into florets
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
8 cups vegetable broth
2 cups red potatoes, cut into 1” cubes
1. In large stockpot, heat celery, onion, and Swiss chard stems over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, about 3-5 minutes.
2. Add 1-2 Tbsp of water as needed.
3. Stir in garlic, turn down heat to medium, and cook for 1 minute.
4. Add broccoli, mushrooms, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for 1 minute.
5. Pour in the broth and turn heat to high. Once the broth is boiling, add potatoes. Lower heat to simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
6. Stir in the Swiss chard leaves.
7. Add salt and pepper to taste. :
Substitutions: In place of potatoes, add barley, brown rice, or farro. Use kale or collard greens in place of Swiss chard. Use cauliflower in place of broccoli. Use fresh rosemary or oregano in place of thyme.
Links to Excellent Articles and Other Resources.
David Suzuki Foundation. Reflections 0n COP27, We Must All Do Our Part. https://davidsuzuki.org/story/as-climate-conference-wraps-we-must-all-do-our-part/
Herald article by Raymond Plourde, Director of EAC’s Wilderness Committee. Cabot’s proposal for a golf course at West Mabou Provincial Park Beach. https://www.saltwire.com/halifax/opinion/raymond-plourde-pop-cabots-trial-balloon-now-100800980/
CBC Listen and CBC Radio 1. “What On Earth”, an environmental program on Sundays at 11:00 am ET. The current program assesses the Government’s Climate Adaptation program.
Broadview December 2022 for David Geselbracht’s article “The Case for Action”. “In countries around the world the courtroom has become the last resort for climate justice. Can the legal system save us?”
Home-The Letter. A film about Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si and a meeting with a Laudato Si group from around the world. https://www.theletterfilm.org
“Worship and praise belong to you, God our Maker. Out of nothing, you called all worlds to be, and still you draw the universe to its fulfilment. Dawn and evening celebrate your glory till time shall be no more. In Christ your Son the life of heaven and earth were joined, sealing the promise of a new creation, given, yet still to come. Taught by your Spirit, we who bear your threefold likeness look for the City of Peace in whose light we are transfigured and the earth transformed. As children of your redeeming purpose who await the coming of your Son, we offer you our praise, with angels and archangels, and the whole company of heaven…” from the Church of Scotland Eucharistic Prayer 2, 1982
“For lo! The days are hastening on, by prophets seen of old, when with the ever circling years shall come the time foretold, when peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendours fling, and the whole world give back the song which now the angels sing.” from It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, VU 44
“God places us in the world as his fellow workers-agents of transfiguration. We work with God so that injustice is transfigured into justice, so there will be more compassion and caring, that there will be more laughter and joy, that there will be more togetherness in God's world.”— Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“O come, o come, Emmanuel”
Merry Christmas, Dear Friends.