Tools for faith communities to engage in climate justice.
For God so loved the world. Throughout the creation story we hear of God’s pleasure at what has been created. Light, water, living creatures, and human kind. God looked at it all and declared “it is good.”
Sadly, God’s wondrous creation is under threat. The impacts of climate change – irregular and severe weather patterns, the rising and warming of the oceans, accelerated species’ extinction – are already being felt the world over. Nowhere, however, are the impacts more pronounced than among the world’s poorest in low-lying island states and sub-Saharan Africa. In the far north too, first peoples in Canada and other Arctic countries are experiencing fundamental shifts in their way of life.
We have a chance to avert further devastation, and to assist those whose lives have been irreversibly altered. World leaders will gather in Paris from November 30 to December 11 this year for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They have been charged with forging “a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C” and preventing catastrophic climate change.
Canada’s current target, as defined by our Intended
Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat in June, is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Not only does Canada have the weakest commitment among G7 countries, measures to achieve this target are sorely lacking.
Canadians have the opportunity to change this. Our next government will be responsible for our participation in Paris. It will determine whether or not we play a constructive role in the negotiations, and whether Canada will commit to an ambitious and meaningful plan to significantly reduce GHG emissions.
As Canadian Christians, we are citizens of both a global political community and a global ecological community. Our faith compels us to seek the well-being of the earth and all its creatures. We are invited to begin with a sense of awe at this magnificent creation. We are charged with the service and protection of the earth. This includes greater ecological consciousness in our day-to-day actions, as well as faithful civic engagement. The scope and scale of climate change adds urgency to the call to pursue climate justice.
Prayers for COP21 in Paris. Time is running out. COP21 is a critical junction and has the potential to be a real turning point for climate change policy, and the fate of the earth. Climate action is urgently needed.
CPJ has compiled an package of creation care resources that can be used as part of Sunday worship in the lead-up to Paris, and in particular, on Sunday, November 29, 2015 (the first Sunday of Advent and the eve of the Paris negotiations). Materials also support additional learning opportunities, as well as action and engagement on climate change. All are centred on responding to God’s call to faithfully support the flourishing of creation. They include:
- Factsheets: Climate Change 101 & Climate Conference 2015.
- Sample sermons.
- Prayers of intercession.
- Hymn suggestions with environmental themes.
These resources, along with several others, can be found on our Worship and Action Guides page.
We urge you to pray and act for climate justice, and to engage your community of faith to do the same. We hope that these materials will serve as a guide as you express gratitude for the gift of creation, pray for those impacted by climate change, and also to pray for the leaders charged with reaching an equitable and effective climate agreement when they meet in Paris.