The Earth, Spirit, Action Team (ESA) Newsletter
St. Matthew’s United Church
January, 2023 _________No.17___ _
Epiphany – Season of Light and New Comprehensions.
Isaiah 42: 16 “I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things that I will do, and I will not forsake them.”
John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
Welcome to this Epiphany 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.
Epiphany Issue of Good Tidings.
We know that an Epiphany is a revelation that profoundly changes our understanding and actions. This is the Epiphany season, and this issue is about new comprehensions on the journey of discipleship focused particularly on caring for the environment, and the relationship between food and the environment. This relationship gives rise to many issues; food production’s impact on soil and water, food distribution and its impact on greenhouse gases (GHGs), food insecurity, food waste and its impact on GHGs, regional food strategies, local and community gardens, seasonal foods.
There are many local and regional organizations working on education and behavior change on all of these issues. s. The Ecology Action Centre has been addressing the issue of food for many years, and provides a portal to several of these local organizations. Just go to https://ecologyaction.ca/ and click the links “Our Work”, then “Food”, to begin your primer on food and the environment.
On Sunday Feb. 26th following worship, the Earth Spirit Action Team will host the first event of its Lunch and Learn Events focusing on food and the environment. Anne Marie Dalton has contributed more about Lunch and Learn in this issue.
This issue provides website sources for more information on food and environmental issues, information on programs on the climate emergency that you won’t want to miss, and a book review on Radical Trust by Evelyn Forget and Hannah Owczar. Please check out the Advocacy section, and try another delicious recipe from Margaret’s Kitchen. We hope this issue will provide light for your path.
Mark your calendars. Earth Spirt Action is inviting you to a Lunch and Learn 2023 series. Two are planned: after worship Sundays, February 26 and March 26 at 12:00. The series is designed to provide relevant information and to answer questions on current issues relevant to the climate emergency and our attempts to live our Christian moral commitment through this challenging time of transition. There will be opportunity to raise your questions both before and following the presentations. Members of other churches will also be invited. We hope to encourage further cooperation among communities of faith to strengthen our witness and advocacy on these issues.
The first Lunch and Learn will focus on food and the environment. Our Speaker will be Lil MacPherson, well-known in Halifax as the owner of Wooden Monkey. Wooden Monkey, which now has two locations, Halifax and Dartmouth, was one of the very first to serve a full menu of food from Nova Scotia farms. She is an advocate for farmers and local food supply both with governments and consumers. Lil has also represented Canada at international environmental conferences and remains a keen supporter of environmental efforts especially in Nova Scotia but also nationally and internationally. St. Matthew’s Breakfast program receives regular donations from Wooden Monkey.
More details will be forthcoming leading up to our first Lunch and Learn session. For now, please reserve the date. Join us for good conversation, sharing of a light lunch, and time to chat together. In order to plan for our light lunch, we will be asking for registration. The gathering will be in person with St. Matthew’s COVID protocols observed. Information on registering will be available shortly. Watch for it!
WebArticles on Food and the Environment.
Food and Climate Change: Healthy diets for a healthier planet https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/science/climate-issues/food
Sustainability – The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sustainability/
The National Geographic. How small changes to our diet can benefit the planet. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/how-small-changes-to-our-diet-can-benefit-the-planet
Food Print -The Problem of Food Waste. https://foodprint.org/issues/the-problem-of-food-waste/
TerraPass - Food: The Impact on The Environment. https://terrapass.com/blog/food-impact-environment
UN Environment Program – How Tweaking Your Diet Can Help Save the Planet. https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/how-tweaking-your-diet-can-help-save-planet
Forbes Magazine - How much does our food contribute to Global Warming? New research reveals all. https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidrvetter/2021/03/10/how-much-does-our-food-contribute-to-global-warming-new-research-reveals-all/?sh=e38985d27d7e
Earth. Org -- How Does Food Waste Affect the Environment? https://earth.org/how-does-food-waste-affect-the-environment/
Good Reads: Books and Articles.
An Atlantic Canada consortium of food producers, industry association representatives, and advocates, all working to strengthen food systems across Atlantic Canada has come up a common vision of how food systems can play a role in a just, equitable, and prosperous recovery from COVID-19. This consortium has concluded that this can only be fully achieved in partnership with all levels of government and Indigenous communities, and has produced an Atlantic Canada Food Systems Recovery Vision. It has determined there are 10 elements to a just recovery from the pandemic, beginning with addressing food insecurity which begins with the establishment of a basic income guarantee. https://www.atlanticfoodvision.ca/ Proposals for a basic income guarantee are not new in Canada, but have resurfaced as Canadians have considered how to restructure a just society after the pandemic.
This leads us to “Radical Trust: Basic Income for Complicated Lives” by Evelyn Forget and Hannah Owczar. This is a look at the lives of unhoused, disabled, formerly incarcerated, and other marginalized Canadians. Forget and Owczar get into the weeds and gritty details as they learn about the lives of youth aging out of foster care, people coming out of prison, youth who have been wards of Child & Family Services, disabled people, minorities, Indigenous women, victims of domestic violence, immigrants, and others. They recount details of the interactions of these marginalized people with income assistance, EAI and other support programs and ‘paint a disturbing intimate human portrait of trust that is radically absent in policies that should help people but don’t.’ They conclude that most current income assistance programs are bureaucratic, rule bound, sometimes punitive, and are ineffective in helping recipients escape poverty. They assert (based on their involvement in pilot programs here in Canada) that a basic income guarantee program results in better outcomes for recipients and for the community; more family stability, and better health, educational, and justice system outcomes. People’s lives become healthier, more stable, and they now have freedom to find housing, pursue job training or other education. They become more upwardly mobile.
But Canada has been reluctant to adopt a guaranteed basic income plan because of the widely shared belief that people will not work if they receive a guaranteed basic income, and because of fears about the cost. Forget and Owczar present strong and convincing counter arguments to these beliefs. They argue that given the levels of spending by all levels of government on social assistance programs and the administration of those systems, the justice and incarceration systems, the health systems, we can afford to take a different approach that will raise everyone out of poverty. They ask, “What would happen if we approach one another in a spirit of radical trust - a recognition that each one of us knows what it is we need to live better lives? What would public policy look like? We contend that it would involve a basic income – a guarantee that, no matter what happens in our live, each one of us has access to enough money to live a modest but dignified life.” (p.34) They conclude by painting a picture of those living below the poverty line in Canada, and describe the principles of a basic income guarantee. It would be: unconditional, adequate, guaranteed, responsive, delivered with dignity and respect, and respecting of individual autonomy.
This is a challenging book and well worth the read. But what does it have to do with the environment or climate change? Just this. When our basic needs have been looked after, we are able to grow and focus on the needs of others and of the society and creation of which we are part. The community is healthier, has more energy, creativity, (and money) to tackle big issues like climate change, food security, housing needs, addictions, racism and reconciliation. It’s all connected, just as we are all connected.
“I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ… may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, … and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead…” Ephesians 1:17 – 20.
Programs and Symposiums YouWon’t Want to Pass Up.
Give It Up for The Earth! Lenten Campaign
February 22–April 6, 2023
Give it up for the Earth! is built around two key elements: political advocacy and a personal action for the environment to reduce Green House Gas emissions. Plan to participate in this online campaign. 2023 materials will be posted on the Give it up for the Earth! webpage closer to Lent. (Control & Click highlight.)
Citizens for Public Justice is a Canadian Christian interdenominational organization promoting social justice issues from a Christian perspective. The United Church of Canada’s For the Love of Creation program co-partners with CPJ in “Give It Up For the Earth”.
Transition in a Perilous Century: System Change and the Climate Emergency. (Free Online Course) The Centre for Local Prosperity and The Deanery Project have teamed up to co-facilitate “Transition in a Perilous Century”, a course focusing on climate adaptation education and action in Nova Scotia. Individuals or pairs from organizations may join us. A certificate of completion or a graduate level university credit is available on completion. The course has 7 modules spread over 21 weeks. Each module runs for 3 weeks and takes about 2 hours/week to complete. Our team will be facilitating NS specific learning circles. The course is free and begins January 29th. For information on the modules, and to register, visit https://synergiainstitute.org/ Curious to know more? Email Olivia at email@example.com or call 902-845-1888
Amnesty Canada’s Climate Justice Illustrated: Take Action. What do you get when you combine activism with arts, and human rights with climate justice? Powerful climate action! Start 2023 with an exciting and creative activism and join Amnesty Canada’s Climate Justice Workshop Team for a free online workshop on Sunday February 5th at 4:30pm EST. For Zoom registration go to: (Control and click highlighted link) https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYode6hqzkiHNQq7GWvRTMVNiwu8Jf1vIDQ
Join Ecology Action Centre for Celebration of World Wetlands Day Feb. 2nd, the anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands. This is a day to celebrate these natural features and to learn more about the importance of wetlands in the fight against the biodiversity and climate emergency crises. For information on the EAC Workshop on Wetlands being held at the Captain Spry Community Center Feb. 2nd, 6:30 – 8:30pm, go to: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/public-workshop-protecting-wetlands-world-wetlands-day-event-tickets-519105898717
Advocacy and Action.
For David Suzuki’s position on Canada’s proposed clean fuel standard and pushback from the fossil fuel companies, and his call to encourage the federal government to move forward with a robust clean fuel standard and actions to reduce Canada’s carbon emissions, see Don’t let oil interests derail Canada’s clean fuel standard (davidsuzuki.org) (Control and click on highlight.)
For information on the Climate Emergency Unit’s call on the federal government as it prepares for a new budget for a Just Transition Transfer of $25 Billion dollars annually that is specifically linked to funding climate infrastructure and energy transition projects that would create thousands of jobs, along with training & apprenticeships, go to: https://www.climateemergencyunit.ca/jtt#send-letter
Greenpeace International is conducting a campaign to call on world leaders to support a global plastics treaty. This treaty would limit plastic production, change the way corporations deliver products to people, and hold corporate polluters accountable. It would also demand full transparency on plastic production, require wealthy countries to lead the zero-waste transition and help others, and to ensure that Indigenous Peoples and affected workers have a voice in the transition to a reuse economy. Go to: https://www.greenpeace.org/international/?s=plastics&orderby=_score
Annapolis Waterkeepers want the help of fellow Nova Scotians as they call on the NS Government to clean up Arlington Heights C&D. This site has been a dumping place for tens of thousands of tons of asbestos and toxic auto shredder residue in spite of the fact that it was built at the apex of three watersheds hat have provided pristine drinking water and supported livestock and gardening installations for communities immediately downslope for centuries. Please go to: annapoliswaterkeepers.ca for more information.
The Sierra Club Foundation is opposes Canada’s decision to approve the Bay du Nord offshore drilling project off the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador by Norwegian company Equinor, and BP’s proposal to drill an exploration well in the Cape Freels region. For more on this issue go to: https://www.sierraclub.ca and scroll down to Media Releases.
From Margaret’s Kitchen. A wonderful Valentine’s Day Dinner Treat
Fruit and Dark Chocolate Crumble (Gluten-Free] Makes 6 servings; preparation time: 15 minutes; cooking time: 40-45 minutes
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp almond extract
4 pears, peeled, cored, and diced
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp corn starch
1/3 cup almond flour
1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter, cut into cubes
1. 1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Grease 2-quart baking dish.
3. In a large bowl, combine lemon juice and almond extract.
4. Add the fruit and toss to coat.
5. Sprinkle the sugar and corn starch over the fruit and stir until mixed in.
6. Spoon the fruit into baking dish.
7. In food processor or blender add the crumble ingredients except for the butter and pulse once or twice to mix.
8. Top with the butter and pulse 8 or 9 times until mixture looks like wet sand.
9. Spread this mixture over the fruit and gently press into the fruit.
10. Bake for 40-45 minutes until fruit is tender and topping is golden brown.
11. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Note: Other fruit can be substituted for the pears and apples.
“Fly on spirit of hope, fly on through the storm. Do not be afraid of the cold wind of indifference that seeks to hold you back, nor of the flash of anger that splits the sky. You have overcome these obstacles before and you can do it again. We believe in you, all of us here awaiting the first glimpse of your arrival, we believe in you, for the moment we see you, we know there is nothing against which we will not prevail.” Rt. Rev. Stephen Charleston