In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that the world had 12 years to act on climate change or bear the consequences of ecosystem collapse and biodiversity loss. Two years later, this deadline now looms amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic and tipping points in the struggles for racial equality and Indigenous rights in what is called North America. The pandemic has laid bare the interconnectedness of all these issues and has exacerbated pre-existing crises of colonialism, human rights abuses, social inequity, and the climate crisis. We know we cannot go back to the way things were, and we are being called to work in new ways towards a sustainable future for all life on this planet.
We draw inspiration from the rich history of ecumenical and faith-based collaboration in social justice movements.
It is in this moment that a coalition of churches and faith-based organizations have come together to make a meaningful contribution to climate justice in the next decade. Launched on Earth Day (April 22, 2020), For the Love of Creation – A Faith-based Initiative for Climate Justice has, to date, brought together 30 Canadian churches and faith-based organizations, and it continues to grow. These organizations have pledged to collaborate more deeply and engage more broadly than we ever have before.
While we, as faith communities, have come together under a unified banner, For the Love of Creation is situated in a much broader movement for climate justice. Our work honours Indigenous Peoples’ resilience and wisdom and the work of global partners who show us a sustainable way forward, even in this time of crisis. We look to social movements, here in Canada, that have worked so diligently for accountability and change. We are inspired and motivated by young people, whose transformative work is changing everything. While there is an urgency to this work, there is also recognition that we can leave no one behind. We must develop plans that reflect the needs and priorities of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
The work of climate justice is not new for the organizations in this coalition. But the urgency of this decade is requiring us to work together in new ways. We draw inspiration from the rich history of ecumenical and faith-based collaboration in social justice movements. From churches in North America leading the campaign against apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s to the ecumenical Jubilee 2000 campaign calling for cancellation of third world debt, there are numerous examples where people of faith came together to turn the wheels of justice. The unified message of those campaigns was hard to ignore then and it will be hard to ignore now.
For the Love of Creation will weave together reflection, education, action, and advocacy to advance meaningful responses to the climate emergency. Together, we will create a space for collaborative responsive theology, exploring our relationship with the Creator and creation, and encouraging theologically-grounded and relevant dialogue about climate justice and global warming. We will endeavour to increase dialogue and reduce polarization in the climate change conversation in Canada; to build consensus on the actions needed to build a sustainable future for all. As people of faith, we will urge the government of Canada to meet and ultimately exceed our Paris climate commitments by investing in a just transition and establishing a fair and inclusive economy.
This national-level initiative is open to all faith communities and faith-based organizations who wish to take meaningful action for climate justice in the next decade. We will engage people individually and in community, as congregations and organizations, all across the country. We have entered that crucial decade where immediate and collaborative action for justice by communities of faith is needed now more than ever. We hope you will join us.
CPJ and KAIROS are excited to join a growing list of national churches, Christian international development agencies, and faith-based organizations in launching For the Love of Creation – A Faith-based Initiative for Climate Justice.