Thursday, December 6, 2012

Missed Opportunity

I am feeling a little defeated. Waves of regret lap up against me like the rising sea. It isn’t guilt that I am wrestling with. It is feelings of disappointment.

Last year at this time I was at COPS17, the UN Climate Change Forum in Durban, South Africa. The hope then was to increase the number of Canadian Church Leaders who would attend COPS18 this year in Doha, Qatar. But to my embarrassment not one church leader from Canada has been able to attend. We asked the church representative from El Salvador to carry our voice of concern.

I feel like we have allowed good intentions to erode into lost opportunity.  I can still hear the pleas from last year. ”We have no more time,” expressed a delegate from Nigeria. “If we cannot agree on a second commitment of the Kyoto Protocol, let us lay it aside and prepare ourselves to die.”

The task remains. We still need to find solutions to decreasing our negative impact on creation. Church and civic leaders must give voice in asking governments for real change to our corporate systems of consumption. I applaud the recommendation issued this week:

Recommendation of African Leaders on the occasion of the 18th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate:

We can not continue with the same models of development , economics and amoral conduct in the global system of governance  and multilateralism.  Not only must we address the evident causes of climate instability, its impacts, and support those most vulnerable - we fundamentally need a model of living which is anchored in good faith, compassion, respect for nature, an adherence to the scriptural guidance of our role as stewards and custodians, not of consumers of the Earth's beauty and abundance.... Success in  the climate negotiations must speak directly to the well- being and sustainability of the least developed countries.

- South African Council of Churches

I am grateful that the church is still actively present at the negotiations in Doha. I am grateful that El Salvador agreed to carry our voice. But I can’t shake the feeling that we have requested others to do what we should be doing.

I’d love to hear your responses, your thoughts, your comments and observations of how churches should engage this pressing matter.