Perhaps more than at any time in our modern era, we are recognizing the moral urgency of the spiritual and living relationship between humanity, Creation, and Creator. Earth Day is a time to claim these insights, renew relationships and act on commitments to care for God’s world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further revealed many of the inequities and systemic barriers in Canada and around the world. Stay-at-home orders and lockdowns to control the spread of COVID-19 have also resulted in an initial reduction of carbon emissions in many jurisdictions around the world. For a little while, air quality improved, urban wildlife flourished, and creation was offered a brief respite. Unfortunately, even with these reductions, the accumulated carbon in our atmosphere continues to grow¹. Truly addressing the climate crisis and keeping global temperature increases below 1.5˚ Celsius, as called for in the Paris agreements, requires us to make significant commitments at all levels to continue to reduce our carbon output and mitigate the devastating impacts of climate change.
In partnership with other churches and faith-based organizations, our churches are part of the For the Love of Creation initiative that provides resources for Canada-wide education, reflection, action and advocacy for climate justice. The ongoing 2021 campaign invites individuals to make personal commitments to reduce household greenhouse gas emissions and to call on the Government of Canada to pursue policies which enable Canada to live up to its global climate commitments. The personal pledge provides 27 ideas for next steps and room to name your own goals. The advocacy section provides templates for addressing just transition, rights of Indigenous peoples and climate change adaption in the Global South.
We believe this campaign is living out the values of protecting God’s creation, working towards right relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and upholding the dignity of all people. We invite you to participate. We also encourage you to be in meaningful and discerning conversations as you meet locally as parishes, congregations, faith communities, ministries and collegial clusters. What next steps might you take together?
Addressing the climate crisis requires commitment and action from each of us. We give thanks for the ways that you carry love of creation and the needs of the earth into your worship, prayer, and study of scripture. Together we have the power to effect the real change necessary to preserve a future for generations to come.
As we undertake this reflection and commitment, let us pray:
God of Love, let there be greening. Renew our commitment, call us to life and send us to act for the love of creation and for the healing of the Earth; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Susan Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
The Most Reverend Linda Nicholls
Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church of Canada
The Most Rev. Mark MacDonald
National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop, Anglican Church of Canada