Climate action: how to protect future generations

By Rev. Chris Brouillard-Coyle

‘Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:
to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’
(Lk 2:10-12)

20-sust-devlpmThroughout the Christmas season, in our homes and churches, on our cards and hanging in our trees, there are countless images of a baby wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger. We can see the simplicity of his state. We know his vulnerability. We can appreciate how much this child, this Son of God, needs the care of his earthly parents. As a child, fully human, Jesus would have been fed at Mary’s breast, carried with love and taught to walk and talk. Christmas connects us to this wonder of God with us and reminds us of the innocence of children who also need such care, who will learn from their parents and who will grow into the fullness of who they have been created to be.

Embracing this image we are challenged to consider the ways in which we continue to care for and nurture the children of this world. What do we teach them by our actions? What legacy will they inherit from us?

Part of the enduring need for sustainable development goals comes from the desire to ensure that future generations inherit a world that is not impeded by the choices we make today. It is a fact that the world’s industrialized nations have changed the balance of the earth’s carbon cycle over the last 150 years by burning large amounts of fossil fuels. Climate change has the potential to further derail efforts for sustainable development by continuing to alter weather patterns threatening food production and raising sea levels. We need to increase awareness and convey urgency to world leaders to address climate change before it is too late! This is the foundation of Sustainable Development Goal #13: Climate Action.

From across the globe, Bishops in the Anglican Communion have already gathered to speak about the impacts of climate change in their dioceses and countries. The conversation has begun to build awareness and encourage support particularly for those communities who are already facing significant impacts.

Nationally, the Creation Matters working group provides leadership, engaging conversations across the country about the ways in which we seek to fulfill the fifth mark of mission: to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth. Through these conversations, this group developed and presented a motion at General Synod this past summer to encourage divestment from fossil fuels. Follow them on Facebook (“Creation Matters” – public group) to see posts which inform and provide insight into ways we can make a difference as faith communities and individually.

Within the Diocese of Huron, we have EnviroAction. The work of this committee has led to the “Green Awards” which includes an assessment of the environmental footprint of our churches. This group has also inspired the use of compostable and recyclable materials for our feast on the lawn at synod and called for a review of our own investments in an effort to identify ways in which we can better utilize our resources to safeguard creation. Representatives from EnviroAction are available to provide workshops for parish communities that will inform and inspire further efforts to be good stewards of the earth.

There are many resources available now to help us reduce our environmental footprint individually and collectively as members of faith communities. As we pay attention to the baby in the manger through the Christmas season and reflect on the commitments we make entering a new year, may we become ever more aware and intentional about the ways our choices impact our environment so that future generations will continue to have plentiful opportunities to appreciate the wonder of God’s creation.

Rev. Chris Brouillard-Coyle is Co-chair of Social Justice Huron.

(Featured photo: Jesse Orrico, Unsplash)