Good Tidings – 6
Earth-Spirit-Action Team of Saint Matthew’s United Church
Welcome to the sixth issue of “Good Tidings”, the “Earth, Spirit, Action” Team’s bulletin on environment and climate change issues for the St. Matthew’s family and anyone who wants to do what they can to keep God’s creation healthy. This issue will be our last until next Fall. This edition will be filled with news briefs that will enable readers to read further about the issues and politics of climate change.
We welcome feedback from readers who would like to share their thoughts with us. We particularly welcome reports on any of your sustainable actions or lifestyle changes that can inspire the rest of us. Our email is: email@example.com
International Energy Agency Report: Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector (https://www.iea.org)
I first encountered this important report by reading about it in the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/18/climate/climate-change-emissions-IEA.html) , and the Globe and Mail (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-pathway-to-net-zero-means-no-new-oil-and-gas-developments-iea-report/).
Then into my inbox came a comment from 350.org. “We’ve been saying these things for a long time. But, now, even some of Big Oil’s biggest allies agree.” Clayton Thomas Muller has three policy implications he has drawn from the report. “First, this report makes it clear that we cannot afford to waste any more public money on fossil fuel projects….Second, Canada is falling further and further behind on legislating a just transition away from fossil fuels….Finally, it’s clear that something big needs to shift in Canadian climate politics in order for us to actually see action that meets the scale of the climate emergency.”
Net Zero by 2050 is a long report, but at the beginning, there is an excellent executive summary of the report’s main points. As Thomas Muller points out, the Canadian government has been promising policies for a just recovery. The have produced nothing so far. The momentum for a serious policy on Climate Change cannot be borne by the workers put out of their jobs in carbon related industries. Climate change must entail substantial investments in re-training workers and sustaining both them and their families as they prepare to enter new low carbon employment. A Just recovery then is essential for addressing Climate Change.
You can read the Net Zero by 2050 report online or download it. (https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050)
Books to Read
A book I return to over and over again is John Felstiner’s, Can Poetry Save the Earth? A Field Guide to Nature Poems. Reading about climate change policies is important but it won’t sustain us. We need our worship on Sundays, our walks in the parks and trails of Nova Scotia, our quiet times in families and isolation. We need our birds and plants, our gardens and our trees. What this book gives us, is a history of the nature poems by the greatest English language poets. He starts with Psalm 104 (King James version, of course) and walks you through the poetic stars and many poets you may never have heard of. Its soul restoring reading whether it be from cover to cover or meandering through a chapter here and there.
Mark Carney was the head of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England. In the introduction to his book, Value(s) Building a Better World for All, he tells us that in the vaults beneath the Bank of England’s historic offices, sits 5,500 tons of gold bullion, reminiscent of the days when money was valued with reference to that gold. Should you imagine any worth to building a destructive gold mine near the St. Mary’s River watershed. Think again. The world in the IEA report noted above, does not need more gold any more than it needs to have more oil discovered or pipelines to convey what we have. Carney walks us through how we socially construct value and it is an illuminating tour. Its importance lies in the fact that Carney has been and continues to be an outstanding spokesman for the corporate obligations to support the transition to carbon neutral economies.
For the historically minded, Darren Dochuk, a Canadian from Alberta, has written a monumental history entitled Anointed with Oil: How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America. While the history is focused on the Rockefellers and Pews and the wildcat oil hunters, it shows the remarkable story of the support these oilmen gave to mainline Protestant and the “wildcat” evangelical churches. It shows how the churches in turn supported and benefitted from the exploration and development of oil. It’s a remarkable story. Dochuk does not ignore Canada either. He knows the story of Ernest Manning and Social Credit in Alberta and spends a good deal of time showing the interconnections of religion and oil in Canada. In the final chapters, Dochuk recounts the “turn” in the public euphoria with the redemptive or “manna” qualities of oil to the loss of American control as well as the rising and continuing disillusionment with the outcomes, by the religious faithful as well as the public in general.
SUMMER TREAT: Read Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. A mind and heart changer for many. “Paying attention is a form of reciprocity with the living world, receiving the gifts with open eyes and open heart.”
Advocacy News Briefs
(Some of the Briefs are from the Diocesan Environmental News Newsletter, with thanks.)
The Ecology Action Center is celebrating 50 years with “50 things: A Province wide, Interactive Art Adventure!” They are opening 34 micro-commissions for ecological/environmental art pieces inspired by themes, stories, people and places connected to the EAC and our history of environmental advocacy from artists across media, from everywhere in the province. They are looking to hire artists, actors, etc.
For more detail including commissioning fees, timelines, and more, head to
https://zuppatheatre.com/call-for-artists-from-the.../ ...and please share far and wide!
We’d love to hear from you! Submissions close May 28!
Owl’s Head Provincial Park or in a secret government deal, a golf course?
“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty.”
– John Ruskin
Beloved Nova Scotian artist Joy Laking has devised an art-based awareness initiative: Artists for Owls Head. We are looking for artists, photographers, songwriters, poets, sculptors, and other creative folks to help capture the rugged beauty of Owls Head Provincial Park. We invite submissions on the theme of saving Owls Head Provincial Park, in the medium of your choice. Paintings, poems, songs, and sculpture are all welcome.
“Biodiversity hotspot” primed for logging. Informative article in the Halifax Examiner. https://www.halifaxexaminer.ca/environment/biodiversity-hotspot-primed-for-logging/?fbclid=IwAR3xgM60OAsHX0G_jGnt70X8mCm-SJ097pG07ZB-guetSkOzsWboNW-h2ac
Say NO to Big Oil and Federal funding for the Goldboro LNG plant in Nova Scotia. For more information, please view the Council of Canadians webinar “If I had a Billion Dollars – Fighting Back against fossil fuel subsidies” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bsrgHlcqYM To sign their petition to reject the billion dollar subsidy: https://canadians.org/action/reject-pieridae-energys-billion-dollar-lng-subsidy To sign a petition from EcoJustice, https://www.support.ecojustice.ca/page/81542/action/1?ea.tracking.id=leadgen_Website&en_og_source=website
Coal Mining Coal fired power plants produce so much air pollution, contaminated waterways and greenhouse gas emissions that the Canadian government is phasing out their use at home. However, the mines are still allowed to operate and export thermal coal. There are two petitions:
Join the Raging Grannies.
This from Margaret! “ I have been raging against injustice of all kinds, war, violence, pillage and destruction of Earth for many years. I have also been a granny for many years. I am delighted to have this opportunity to finally put the two together and become a Raging Granny. Might as well have some fun while addressing such serious challenges. Please come and join us, even if you are not a literal granny. No auditions required, just a willingness to ham it up a bit and look silly!” Look for calls to action as the pandemic restrictions are lifted.
Green Church News
Greening Churches with Ben Griederhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3I_rRPloHc
From the Green Churches Network in Canada:
After our recent Annual General Assembly, the Green Churches Network will strive to reaffirm ourselves as ECUMENICAL. After consulting many Catholics, Anglicans and Protestants, we got every sign we needed that the Green Churches Network must strengthen its inter-church dynamic. We were growing worried about losing a balance when considering the higher proportion of Catholic Churches in the network, but that can simply be explained by the fact the network grew from word to mouth in Quebec first. As the network expands in other provinces, a higher number of Anglican and Protestant churches will join. Oh, and the Anglican Diocese of Montreal will be officially jumping on board the network (after years of schmoozing). Yeah!
So, could you please invite churches of all denominations to register to the Green Churches Network (this year, no fee is necessary because of the pandemic)