Thursday, November 5, 2009

Call to Anglicans in Canada for Vision and Action on the Climate Crisis

Call to Anglicans in Canada for Vision and Action on the Climate Crisis

We, the undersigned, as Canadian Anglicans, call on our primate, bishops, clergy, and laity to address climate change as stewards of God’s good creation, required to act justly towards our fellow creatures and to Earth itself.

We are deeply concerned at:
* Increasingly urgent warnings on the need for substantial, swift greenhouse gas emission reductions, warnings issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1990 and widely ignored;
* Canada’s being the world’s worst per capita emitter, with increasing emissions flouting its Kyoto Protocol commitment to a 6% reduction from 1990 levels;
* The federal government’s failure to establish targets or a plan of emissions reductions, as the scientific consensus indicates, of 25-40% from 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050, in order to avoid an average global temperature increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius, after which runaway crises can be expected;
* The inadequacy of provincial targets and reduction plans -- despite responsible policies in some provinces -- given that the harmful impacts of global heating are occurring faster than anticipated, making deeper, faster reductions necessary;
* Promotion by Canadian tax subsidies of tar sands extraction, the major cause for rising emissions and of massive pollution and water depletion, water itself being a critical environmental issue;
* Failure to recognize that fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource fast being depleted;
* The lack of requirement in our Constitution and other statutes for responsible use and conservation of these valuable one-time riches for future generations;
* Failure to include military operations, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, in reduction planning;
* The substantial carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions from Canadian agricultural practices and other industries;
* Failure to take adequate advantage of well developed knowledge and technology for alternative fuels and for more efficient planning of cities and transportation systems, industrial European countries being more advanced in curbing emissions and committing to serious further reductions;
* Climate-change induced harm to developing countries and the far north in Canada, and the devastation of First Nations’ lands by the tar sands extraction.

We call on Anglicans to work for solutions to the climate crisis. In our liturgy, we confess that “we have sinned against God by what we have done and by what we have left undone,” yet, with blind eye and hardened heart, we do not “love our neighbours as ourselves.” Climate change is the slavery issue of our day: we in the developed world are the oppressors in a system that victimizes the Earth, our neighbours in the global South, and future generations. We fail to act as partners in the Covenant with God to care for this planet, and to live out the transformative love of our resurrection hope.

It’s time for new vision and commitment to a new kind of life, to renewed care of the land on which we live as tenants, to deeper respect for all the creatures within the Covenant, for the mountains and hills that sing, the trees and rivers that clap their hands.

Time is urgent. At the December 2009 Copenhagen Convention on post-Kyoto reduction targets, we need Canada to be a voice for the serious cuts deemed necessary by the best science.

We call on the Anglican Church to join with environmental organizations and other faith communities in urging the Government of Canada to make the effective, timely commitments needed. We call on church leaders to take these concerns to all levels of government.

We ask Anglicans to support a national call for climate change action by signing the KyotoPlus petition. Sign it on line at, and download it at

We call on all levels of the church to set an example by making cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in our own operations. We urge routine incorporation of the care of creation and the responsibility for environmental justice in prayers, readings, and sermons.

Who is my neighbour? The command to “love one another” embraces people far away and future generations. The command to stewardship embraces the whole Earth, our
island home, and all life dependent on it.

Phyllis Creighton, MA, adjunct faculty, Divinity, Trinity College; Honorary Canon
Joy Kogawa, CM, OBC, LLD (hon), DLitt (hon), DD (hon), author
Diane Marshall, MEd, RMFT, Director, Institute of Family Living, Toronto
Lynn McDonald, PhD, LID (hon), university professor emerita, University of Guelph

Fellow Anglicans! Sign this Manifesto electronically at
Or print it out, sign it indicating parish and diocese, and mail it to
PO Box 92513, 152 Carlton Street
Toronto ON, M5A 2K1.

We will report both printed and electronic support of the Manifesto to the Primate and Bishops. Pass the Manifesto on to other Anglicans.

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