Earlier this week, our team submitted a letter to the Vancouver City Council expressing our support for the Council’s adoption of the Climate Emergency Action Plan. Specifically, we encourage Council to scale up ongoing work under the Climate Emergency Report, work to protect nature and enhance climate adaptation, reduce GHG emissions in the Transport and Building sectors, and incorporate just recovery principles in post-COVID plans.
Earthkeepers, along with a number of other faith leaders in Vancouver also jointly signed a letter expressing a support for the Climate Emergency Action Plan (click here for full letter).
The full letter from Earthkeepers to Council is posted here:
Dear Vancouver City Council members,
Thank you for joining in with other cities worldwide to declare a climate emergency for the City of Vancouver. Thank you for your vision of making this city one of the greenest in the world.
We are Earthkeepers: Christians for Climate Justice, a grassroots, citizen-led ecumenical group of Christians concerned about a sustainable and just future for our neighbors in this city, country, and around the world, and this treasured Earth that is our home. Many of our leadership team members, supporters, and volunteers grew up in and currently live in the City of Vancouver. We have helped with shoreline cleanups for New Brighton park, and led nature-inspired engaged ecology and prayer walks in local parks, and teach and engage Christians in climate change science and civic action through outreach at churches in Vancouver and Metro Vancouver. We are grateful for the opportunity to live, work, and minister in this city and help make it a better place.
We exhort the Vancouver City Council to adopt the Climate Emergency Action Plan, to set the city on a sustainable path that would align with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s scientific recommendations for a stable climate. We join in with other faith leaders in Vancouver to call the City Council to adopt the Climate Emergency Action Plan and are signatories in the October 28th open letter from Vancouver Faith Leaders.
We support continuing and scaling up the work under the Climate Emergency Report (2019), and highlight a few areas of interest to Earthkeepers: Christians for Climate Justice.
Protection Nature and Climate Adaptation
We support the continued work under Big Move 6, especially the measures to support shoreline habitat and improve natural shoreline defences. We encourage the updated plan to integrate and mainstream climate adaptation actions that are consistent with adaptation best practices used by other jurisdictions and endorsed by agencies including USAID and the UNFCCC. Restoring natural shoreline defences in areas such as False Creek and the south shore along the Fraser, would support those neighborhoods vulnerable to flooding as well as restore the habitats there. We encourage the plan to include and integrate local and native plant species in habitat restoration in order to support ecosystem resilience.
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Pollution in Transportation and Buildings
Given the significant carbon footprint of the transportation sector, we support the continuation of the plans to improve trips by active transport, and scaling up the actions under Big Moves 1, 2, and 3. We encourage the City to work with churches and other religious organizations to implement zero-emissions strategies for houses and centres of worship. Many people of faith and religious organizations wish to contribute to climate action and would support measures that enable energy and resource conservation and cost-savings.
Just Recovery and Renewal
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are witnessing how poverty, systemic racism, and climate and environmental justice, are all linked. We urge that all work areas under the Climate Emergency Report and other related plans incorporate the principles of a Just Recovery, which has been endorsed by over 400 organizations, including many non-governmental organizations, labor unions, and religious groups.
These six principles are:
- Put peoples’ health and wellbeing first, with no exceptions
- Strengthen the social safety net and provide relief directly to people
- Build resilience to prevent future crises
- Prioritize the needs of workers and communities
- Build solidarity and equity across communities, generations, and borders
- Uphold Indigenous rights and work in partnership with Indigenous peoples
We exhort that the principles of sustainability, public health, equity, and justice be integrated and mainstreamed into the updated Climate Emergency Response Plan, and forthcoming neighborhood, transit, and housing plans. Building the foundations for community resilience now will support us in preparing and responding to future crises.
We will continue to keep you and the municipal government staff in our prayers as you direct this Plan and oversee its implementation, as we work together for a better and more sustainable city.
The Leadership Team at Earthkeepers: Christians for Climate Justice.