Thursday, December 15, 2011

Let's not wait

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 Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol.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.


  1. Easily embraced? I know - plant a tree! I've got a bunch of ideas on my blog, but nothing is more empowering than getting hands dirty and planting seeds for the future.

  2. leading by example is the best way, isn't it? Each of us can make a difference no matter how small - that is what being faithful is all about

  3. If we all work together, the effect that small actions can have is truly amazing. For example, we are roughly 35 million people in Canada. If we all replaced one 60 Watt incandescent light bulb with a 13 Watt compact florescent bulb, we would save 1,645 MegaWatts of generating capacity. That's huge! & most of us have way more than 1 light bulb in our house.

  4. Darren's idea of planting a tree is a great idea! As churches, we could get together and order a large number of seedlings (for next spring) at very low cost. We can buy pine tree seedlings for 50 cents a piece at
    I wonder, could we encourage our youth groups to take that on as a project? That is, publicize, take orders & buy trees for next spring?

  5. Excellent ideas!!!
    Let's keep them coming. I'd like a list of a hundred things anyone can do and then encourage people to commit to one response every month.

  6. Plant a tree - and phone your MP! (hey, it even rhymes!). Like Mr. Kent said, politicians are not getting the message that this issue is important to Canadians, when the truth is we all want a stable and sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. Let him know that!

  7. Turn down your thermostat by two degrees in winter. Or more; see how low you can get. Wear wool and slippers. It's amazing how soon you get used to a cool house. And cool is much better for your health anyway.

  8. I love these ideas!!! They are practical, simple and anyone can do them.

  9. Get an energy audit of your home and then act on its recommendations. In Ontario the government will pay for half of the cost of the audit. Then the federal government will contribute towards the cost of energy-saving upgrades completed by Mar. 31, 2012. It's EASY!!