It seemed like everyone was holding their breath waiting to see what Canada would do. While at the UN Climate Change Forum in Durban, South Africa, word circulated quickly that Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister had indicated that Canada would withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. This prompted sharp reaction. Protests developed. Attempts were made to dissuade the Canadian negotiators.
But now with the Durban talks finished the waiting is over. Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol. The disappointment is exhausting. I can only imagine the emotional fatigue experienced by the negotiators who worked late into the early mornings to reach an agreement. But we didn’t have to wait long, Minister Kent made the announcement hours after his return from Durban.
So now we must take matters into our own hands. Let’s not wait any longer. I received an email quoting Ghandi as saying; “When the people lead, governments will follow.” It is time for us to lead.
A statement made by Minister Kent in our meeting together in Durban has been lingering in my mind. “The media is covering the things that the Canadian public is interested in. And Canadians are more interested in the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor then they are about climate change,” he said.
Regrettably, I think Minister Kent is correct. Through the cold winters, rising temperatures are welcomed by many. For most Canadians severe drought and flooding are distant threats. Rich with natural resources Canadians are shaded from the extreme impacts of climate change. The suffering of others is not top of mind.
But as followers of Christ, we are not like most Canadians. We have been saved from the control of selfishness that lurks within. We are no longer ruled by the sin of greed and untamed appetite. The image of God in us has been given new birth. The Spirit of Christ in us hears the suffering of others and compels us to respond. Our yearning to worship God more fully prevents us from ignoring the decimation of God’s creation. Because we long to love God with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves, we do not wait for others to lead. We are already led by the Spirit of God within us.
So as the People of God, let’s lead on. Let’s create the atmosphere for our government to follow. Let’s begin the movement of climate justice and hearts that are hungry for something more meaningful than greed.
Let me issue an appeal for help. Climate Change seems daunting for most people. I am asking for examples of concrete, attainable steps ordinary Canadians can take in reducing their carbon footprints. I want something that can be easily embraced so that lifestyles will begin to be influenced. Do not give me that which will be viewed as eccentric or impossible. Let’s create a list of responses that are easy to embrace. This is not to downplay the seriousness of the situation we are in. It is instead to view the situation so seriously that we must make the response as applicable as possible so that as many as possible will embrace the changes required.
Who will begin? Send me suggestions and let’s pull together a compelling list that will propel Canadians into action. Let’s not wait for public opinion to change. Let’s change public opinion and experience so that governments will have the unavoidable platform to lead.