The Earth, Spirit, Action Team Newsletter
St. Matthew’s United Church
Nov. 21, 2021 No. 7_______
Welcome to the seventh issue of “Good Tidings”, the ESA Team newsletter that provides information on local and global environmental and climate change issues; suggestions for personal and political actions that will build a healthy planet; information about symposiums, webinars, resources, and petitions from other environment and climate change organizations; and information about environmentally themed worship and prayer opportunities.
We welcome feedback from readers who would like to share their thoughts with us. Our email is: email@example.com
COP26: Where are we now? Anne Marie Dalton
“Cynicism is the recourse of cowards. Hope stays the course.”
Well, the Conference of the Parties has happened. The Last Chance to Save the Planet, many tweeted, emailed, posted, yelled, and believed. It was an idle faith. International conferences are fraught with cultural differences, economic inequities, long standing animosities, political posturing, invasive self-interests of politicians and political parties, and pressure from powerful multi-national companies. In that sense, the outcomes of COP26 is nothing short of miraculous. Should the parties have done more? YES. Could they? Unlikely.
There were some major accomplishments of COP26. It has kept us on course. It has strengthened a framework by which countries can be held accountable for reaching their targets and improving them.
The richer nations, who have grown rich on the raping of the planet, strengthened their pledges to help the developing nations to skip the fossil fuel era for a cleaner development. Priority for an equitable transition to a cleaner future was a component of all plans. Thirty countries (including Canada) signed a statement to end the direct public support for the international fossil fuel energy sector. Pledges to end investment in coal were also made. 130 countries signed a declaration to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030. And what may well be most significant overall is that Indigenous Peoples were present in large numbers and taken seriously. (Indigenous peoples own and protect almost 1.5 hectares of unspoiled forests and wetlands in the Peruvian Amazon alone).
Doubtlessly, there are high risks still remaining. The International Energy Commission (IEC)’s analysis of the COP26 pledges concludes that they give us a 50% chance of keeping warming within 1.8° increase by the end of the century. (1.5° is the safer target). That chance depends highly on keeping those pledges. This is precisely where the real work begins and that must include all of us.
The greatest source of hope and confidence that we will stay the course lies with the immense public outcry of ordinary folks before and during the COP26. Young people, the Gen Zers were the largest and most vocal of these groups. Thomas Friedman, New York Times, observed that the delegates “were more afraid of the young folks outside” than they were of one another or the press inside. There were also parent’s groups, mother’s groups, religious groups, and countless others with various descriptors. And there were millions of tweets and other social-media cries for climate action. This MUST continue!
“Stay Angry. Protest. Vote the Issue. Exercise Consumer/Investment power,” President Obama urged the youth. Listen, not just to “the choir”, but also to those who may be fearful of transition, who have the most to lose in the short run at least, who already suffer the results of climate change compounded with systemic inequities.
No one reading this newsletter needs sermonizing on the covenant that already gives a divine source to this call for action. There is no more poignant time than now to be boldly Christian.
Taking Action on Climate Change, Individually and Together.
Recently the Earth Spirit Action Team of St. Matthew’s invited worshippers to join them in forwarding a petition to Prime Minister Trudeau and the Minister of the Environment Hon. Steven Guilbeault urging them to advocate for and to take strong action to combat climate change at COP26 in Scotland. Over thirty people signed the petition on Sunday October 24th, prior to the summit. Did it work? Well, it sent an important message, along with many other petitions, that otherwise may have been missed. At COP26, Canada made an impassioned case for strong action and made significant commitments. Petitions let our leaders know what we are thinking, and what we are prepared to do. Petitions do have an effect! Now it is up to our governments at all levels, and all of us in our daily lives and behaviours, to follow up with actions that show what we are truly prepared to do to address the climate crisis and other critical challenges facing our country.
Petitions on a Just Transition. Several Canadian social justice and climate change groups have researched and developed petitions calling on the Federal Government for a Just Transition as it charts the course through climate change, a greener economy and the creation of green jobs, Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples, minorities and systemic racism, universal basic income, health reform and long term care, proportional representation, child care, etc. To learn more about these issues, and to take basic action by signing petitions, check out the following links to:
Council of Canadians, https://canadians.org ;
Citizens for Public Justice, https://cpj.ca Fair Vote Canada, https://fairvote.ca
Remember, petitions tell our leaders what we think and what we are prepared to do.
2.Earth, Spirit, Action proposes networking with other faith communities in the HRM.
The ESA Team is inviting other HRM faith communities working on the climate crisis to network with them to explore “how we can work together to build a stronger voice, create ideas for action, and provide support to one another on behalf of God’s creation”. ESA believes and hopes we can develop more effective strategies and actions to address climate change if we are pooling our gifts and resources and working together.
Makes 4 servings; preparation time: 10 minutes; cooking time: 25 minutes
1 1/3cup baby lima beans (1 cup=3 servings)
3 cups water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 green pepper, chopped
8-10 mushrooms, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes (or 3-4 fresh)
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbs thyme (dominant flavour)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs honey
salt and pepper to taste sour cream or grated cheese for garnish
Place lima beans in cold water. Soak for 20 minutes. Place pot over high heat and bring to boil. Cook until soft. Drain, leaving some water. In Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add vegetables except tomatoes and sauté. When softened, add beans. Add tomatoes and herbs and simmer gently until blended. Stir in lemon juice and honey. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Review: Seth Klein A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency. Toronto: ECW Press, 2020.
We are living in a climate emergency! What does that mean?
We have a lot of clues about the meaning of an “emergency” in the public sphere from our recent experience. We continue to live through a pandemic emergency that has galvanized all of us through voluntary and mandated actions to seclude ourselves, get vaccinated and wear masks, to name only a few of things Dr. Strang and our political leaders have asked of us. Our politicians took the emergency so seriously that they spoke to us sometimes daily or several times a week to re-enforce the meaning of the emergency.
Seth Klein in A Good War invites us to consider historic moments during the First and Second World Wars to understand how Canadians responded to wartime and the national emergencies that war brought to each and every citizen of Canada and beyond. Klein wants us to understand the multiple dimensions of calling our times an “emergency”. He invites us to realize that we have lived in the midst of “emergencies” before and thrived in the midst of incredible losses.
Klein takes us through the responses Canadian political and economic institutions and individual citizens made in response to the declarations of war passed by the Canadian Parliament. Citizens responded by volunteering for the military, medical corps, until the government policy intervened with conscription. Under government leadership and legislative action the economy was transformed into military production producing guns, planes and ships by the hundreds and thousands. Women left their domestic tasks to work in agriculture or in factories. Men and women volunteered to be on the front lines as soldiers or medical care personnel. No effort was too small; no expense was too great to face the war-time emergency.
Klein also wants us to understand what is missing completely or is clearly insufficient in the midst of the “climate emergency” we now face. Our political leaders appear to lack the courage to provide the leadership needed. Too often they think business as usual is sufficient even when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary from the United Nations climate reports or the International Energy Agency. For example, the IEA says simply:
“The number of countries announcing pledges to achieve net-zero emissions over the coming decades continues to grow. But the pledges by governments to date – even if fully achieved – fall well short of what is required to bring global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050 and give the world an even chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C.
That says it all. We live in the midst of a climate emergency and the responses of our political leaders are insufficient to meet the challenge. The Guardian just published this headline in its interpretation of the failure of COP 26: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/09/cop26-sets-course-for-disastrous-heating-of-more-than-2.4c-says-key-report The cover on this week’s Economist states simply “Cop-Out”.
We live in desperate times, indeed.
(Available as an E-book and in print.)
Happy 272nd Anniversary St. Matt’s!