This year, we watched the world change dramatically with the Covid-19 pandemic.
We have witnessed paradoxes. The spring lockdowns worldwide led to a temporary decrease in greenhouse gas and air pollution and the return of wildlife in some cities. This speaks to humanity’s disproportionately large footprint and the groaning of creation. Regrettably, these worldwide lockdowns have not significantly decreased greenhouse gas emissions, and overall global emissions continue to rise. This tells us we have a long way to go in decarbonizing energy and transport systems.
This has also been a transformative time for us at Earthkeepers. We are a grassroots, citizen-led group that has primarily relied on building relationships with Christians and churches through in-person interactions. This pandemic has prompted us to pivot to an online platform to continue ministry. We’ve also seen people join in for our webinars and prayer meetings from Vancouver Island all the way to Ontario, which has allowed us to expand the reach of our message.
We have been reflecting on the connections between the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and identified the following parallels:
The poor and vulnerable are disproportionately impacted;
We need coordinated government action for maximum effectiveness;
Misinformation deeply hurts our ability to respond, affects citizen compliance and cooperation with public policy, and increases suffering and its impacts.
We have used our online platforms to continue education, outreach, and advocacy by:
Producing three webinars, with guests from A Rocha International, Citizens for Public Justice, and City Councillor Christine Boyle. You can view them here.
Urging Canada to build back better, based on the principles of a Just Recovery.
Working with Christians and other faith groups to support the City of Vancouver in passing the Climate Emergency Action Plan in November.
Hosting monthly prayer meetings to pray for bold climate action from our leaders, churches, and societies to act on the climate crisis.
We are planning for the next year of climate action. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there’s less than 3300 days to avert the worst of climate change by getting the world to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and to restore degraded habitats and carbon sinks.
The Apostle Paul writes in the book of Romans (Romans 8) that creation is groaning and waiting for redemption. The Biblical commandment to be stewards of the Earth (Genesis 2) means that we have the agency to still pivot and change, because God’s creation is good and worth protecting. The more we can do now to mitigate climate pollution, the more effective our climate adaptation efforts will be and the more we can do to mitigate the suffering from climate impacts.
Something you can do, from wherever you are, is to join us in the Year of Prayer for Bold Climate Action campaign. Stay tuned for invites to our end-of-month prayer meetings.
The second is to take thoughtful, strategic, targeted action. Join us on February 6, 9:30-11:30am for Catalyze for Climate 2021 (virtual conference). We’ll review the key facts from science and theology to inform climate action and then advance climate intercessory prayer, faith-based civic advocacy, improving climate communications, and greening faith spaces.
We wish you, your families, and your communities a safe and restful Christmas season. We look forward to advancing climate care and advocacy in 2021.
Monica Tang, current chair at the Earthkeepers: Christians for Climate Justice leadership team.