“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications:
environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods;
it represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”
~ Pope Francis
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the historic Paris Agreement, the Canadian government is set to announce a national Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
This framework will determine how we, as a nation, respond to the climate crisis.
For five fundamental reasons, I believe such action to be critically important.
1. I am a Christian.
Throughout scripture we find stories that illustrate God’s love for all of creation and instructions on the ways in which we are to share this love. From the Genesis call “to work and take care of [the Earth]” (Genesis 2:15) through to the celebration of Psalms (Psalm 19:1; 96:12). The prophets’ devastation at the destruction of the land (Hosea 4:3; Jeremiah 12:11) to the New Testament message of renewal and life eternal (Romans 8:22), we read of repentance, community, and loving compassion.
As a person of faith, I believe that I am called by God to respond to the human and ecological devastation of climate change with love and justice. In other words, to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with [our] God” (Micah 6:8).
2. I am a mother.
My husband and I have three amazing children. All of them are wonderfully good at living in the moment, but they also have dreams for the future. Our eldest son loves wildlife and I’m almost certain that this passion will one day influence his career path. I pray that he will have the opportunity to experience creation’s vibrant diversity up close and “in real life.” Like any parent, I want my children to have a future full of possibility, well-being, and fulfillment.
So, I endeavour to live my life in such a way that Gabriel, Oscar, and Naomi will know that I did my best to slow the devastation of climate change, to begin to heal the planet, and to secure the future for their children and their children’s children.
3. I am an adventurer.
No doubt my hopes for my kids are influenced by my profound experience of creation. I’ve always loved the outdoors. As a child I spent endless hours playing in the Elora Gorge in south-western Ontario and along the shores of Lake Huron. As a young adult, I travelled far and wide exploring cloud forests, salt flats, and mountain communities. To this day, I feel most alive when I am outside. It can be as simple as weeding my garden or as luxurious as diving into ocean waves.
The vast and awesome beauty of the Earth surrounds me everywhere I go and I am so very grateful. Still, I do not take this this wondrous gift for granted and will do my part to see it preserved.
4. I am an ally.
Reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples requires that we respect their rights, recognize their traditional ecological knowledge of the land, and honour their views.
So far, I have been shielded from the most immediate impacts of climate change. But I know that this is not an experience shared with the Inuit in the far North where infrastructure is failing due to melting permafrost. Indigenous and non-Indigenous coastal communities are losing land to rapidly rising seas. In other First Nations communities, access to traditional foods is becoming increasingly scarce.
Millions of people in the Global South are also on the frontlines of climate change, experiencing drought, dangerous wildfires, and devastated livelihoods.
Having acknowledged our historic wrongs, we must put an end to actions that harm the ecosystems upon which Indigenous peoples rely. We must find a way forward that involves meaningful consultation and mutual respect. And, we must also take responsibility for the destructive impacts of our actions in the South and offer our financial support.
5. I am an advocate for public justice.
Public justice is the political dimension of loving our neighbour.
The role of government, as I understand it, is to promote just relations between people, correct injustice in a way that restores relationships, protect the environment and foster conditions that enhance the common good.
Climate change is an issue that will ultimately impact all aspects of our lives. Already, the greatest burden is being born by the most vulnerable – those with little responsibility for creating the problem and very limited capacity to respond. Addressing climate change is now an element of global efforts to address extreme poverty. It is increasingly recognized as a factor in the international refugee crisis. Climate change is fundamentally a justice issue – and the issue upon which all others hinge.
I am a Christian. I am a mother. I am an adventurer. I am an ally. I am an advocate.
That is why I care about climate change. That is why I am taking action.
*The IPCC is the leading international source of scientifically informed knowledge on the state of climate change and its environmental and social impacts.
Welcome to our Why I Care about Climate Change series! This series is for you, for the voices that don't shout the loudest, but have important things to say about climate change. Check back on Monday to hear a First Nations leader's perspective. Or subscribe here to our weekly email digest to make sure you don't miss a post!
[Image: Flickr user Marc van Woudenberg, under Creative Commons license]