ST MATTHEW’S UNITED CHURCH
GOOD TIDINGS NEWSLETTER
NO.4, APRIL 23, 2021
As a member of the Earth-Spirit-Action Team, I am pleased to produce our Good Tidings Newsletter, No. 4. This newsletter provides information on environmental and climate change issues for the congregation of St Matthew’s.
As I begin to write this, the Federal government is announcing amendments to their climate change policy with the pledge to cut emissions 40-45% by 2030; Biden has announced the United States’ commitment to reduce emissions and has hailed Canada as a major partner in climate action; and the United Kingdom has agreed to cut their emissions 78% by 2035. And on the same day, Nova Scotia announced strict lockdown measures to combat the increasing COVID numbers in our province.
These Earth Day announcements created a strange and surreal juxtaposition. We are standing at a crossroads with both issues, and our actions now will either lead us to a better and happy future or to one filled with disaster and sadness. I am reminded of the opening sentence of Charles Dickens’ 1859 historical novel, A Tale of Two Cities - “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness …”. As we live through these ‘best and worst of times’, it is our choices that will determine the future for the Earth and for our children and children’s children. These choices will require sacrifice, but we should think of not what we have to give up but what we have to gain from them. - Margaret Machum
Earth Day 2021.
The theme for Earth Day 2021 was Restore the Earth. Events took place to help us along this path. On April 22 and 23, US President Joe Biden hosted the Leaders Summit on Climate which marked the return of the US on the international scene to tackle the climate crisis while underscoring the global urgency it presents. The outcomes for this virtual meeting were positive.
As the Dalai Lama wrote in his message for Earth Day, “Unless we all work together, no solution can be found. Our mother earth is teaching us a lesson in universal responsibility … Let us all commit ourselves to doing our part to help make positive difference to the environment of our only common home, this beautiful earth.”
Biodiversity means an abundance of life. This abundance is needed to avoid disaster. We have been altering the world at an amazing rate which has resulted in a decrease in insects, birds, animals, fish, and plants as well as in soil degradation. We need to reset our economies to stop all these declines by making good rules and legislation.
That is why it was so disappointing to learn that the Biodiversity Act proposed by Premier Rankin became so watered down by a propaganda campaign spearheaded by Forest Nova Scotia, an industry group representing the most powerful shapers of forestry policy in Nova Scotia. The original Act called for legislation that would ‘preserve and protect Nova Scotia’s unique ecosystems, wild animals, plants, lakes and forests for future generations’.An excellent summary on biodiversity and forestry by Dale Smith can be read at:
Groups Supporting Change
There are many groups supporting change in the challenges presented by the climate crisis. We can add our support by donating our time and money, signing petitions, and otherwise giving our voice to these efforts.
350.org - The Canada team is part of a global people-powered movement fighting to win action on the climate crisis. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
David Suzuki Foundation - provides weekly updates on issues around climate change. This weeks issue: It’s time to stop logging old-growth forests.
Stand Earth - provides weekly updates. This week, the issue was about the grinding of whole trees to produce wood pellets. The burning of pellets is dirtier than coal.
Nature Conservancy of Canada - Provide webinars and publications on land including wildlife corridors and flyways between natural habitats which are essential for the survival of many species of animals and birds.
Stop Ecocide Canada - a dynamic new alliance between Ecocide Foundation and the Canadian Partnership for International Justice which provides forums on climate change issues.
Centre for Action and Contemplation - offers meditations and prayers. A recent meditation was entitled “Grieving the Trees’.
St Matthew’s Earth Day Sunday, April 18.
On Earth Day Sunday, our Minister, Betsy Hogan, delivered a powerful sermon in which she spoke of sacrifice, inherent in Judeo-Christian theology, which is relevant to us today. That is, “An orientation toward life that understands and accepts without question that sometimes faithfulness and love mean we make sacrifices because that helps other people .. It’s love of neighbour writ large.” (The sermon is on St Matthew’s website)
The Raging Grannies have been resurrected in Halifax with Margaret Sagar as coordinator and Margaret Machum as song leader. We had our first gig on Saturday, April 10 and our efforts were met with great enthusiasm. Anyone wishing to join with us in the pursuit of social action and peace are most welcome.
A Reflection by Paul Bowlby:
It has been my conviction for some time now that unless the corporate world comes around to the reality of climate change, then the hope we all share to save the planet will not succeed. Our federal government continues to commit huge billions to the oil and gas polluters and the influence of these corporations on government policy will continue to defy our hopes.
Whatever the Liberal government’s plan for addressing climate change may be, and whatever the recent budget may have in it for climate change investments, without the investment and corporate world coming on board, it won’t be enough to save the planet.
Further reading - Halifax Examiner: https://www.halifaxexaminer.ca/province-house/how-the-biodiversity-act-was-killed/
and Corporate Knights: https://www.corporateknights.com/magazines-landing-page/
The Hidden Life of Trees. Peter Wohlleben
Tree: A Life Story. Wayne Grady and David Suzuki
Thought for the Day.
Trees by Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.