Sheila Cole, NSEN Environmental Policy Advisor shares her update on Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan. The report from meetings in Ottawa in November 2018, is written to brief members who want an overview on this subject and includes Cole’s opinions on where Canada can and should lead in the global arena of chemicals management and also where improvement is needed.
National recognition: I am pleased to say that our diocese EN was featured in a national church article during Seasons of Creation: https://www.anglican.ca/news/diocesan-environment-network-builds-alliances-in-nova-scotia-and-p-e-i/30022769/
Membership is approximately 200 and growing. Many churches have multiple members. The Church of St Andrew in Cole Harbour probably has the most, approximately a dozen parishioners are members of the EN. Members are involved in varying degrees.
Communication: At our September meeting we reviewed the EN’s call to teach, inform and motivate parishes to be greener, support all people who care about God’s creation, encouraging environmental activism, energy conservation and waste reduction. We agreed to take advantage of the Diocesan Times, to submit articles about people and parishes, profile them, what they are doing and how they are accomplishing it. Good news stories, for example the St Margaret’s community garden. Provide information on where to go to obtain information and funding. We should also continue to promote the EN in parishes and throughout the diocese. Engaging parishes in greening our buildings. A subcommittee developed a resource list for our webpage with the DT. One of our members, a journalist, will write articles featuring parishes that are engaged in caring for creation and a quarterly article on a “big issue”.
EN Retreat Weekend and Day Retreats: Evaluations showed satisfaction with the retreat in May and there were requests for more retreats. Some asked for annual retreats and one person asked for “mini day retreats”. As a result, the EN partnered with Kairos Canada and Christ Church, Darmouth and held an initial day retreat Nov. 18 with 30 participants. More day retreats are being planned for 2019 in Charlottetown, Pictou, Cape Breton, possibly Amherst and Yarmouth. Day retreats spreads those events throughout the diocese, engages more people and reduces costs. We would also be happy to provide day retreats for parishes, regions and various groups within the diocese as well. The EN is requesting Diocesan Council support. Estimated costs of day retreats is $500 each.
Season of Creation: We will approach Archbishop Ron about in promoting Season of Creation next year to increase participation. That being said, from my latest Creation Matters meeting, it appears that our diocese has more parishes engaged in Season of Creation than any other diocese in the country. At least a dozen parishes engaged in Season of Creation. I was guest preacher at the Church of St Andrew in Cole Harbour the end of September. Kudos to all who celebrated Seasons of Creation particularly:
Parish of Horton, Wolfville:
Held a mid-week book study using “Grounded: Finding God in the World.
Adapted a creation focused Eucharist from South Africa. “The response from a diverse group of folks was thought-provoking and theologically deep.”
Undertook a day retreat called “Soil and Spirituality” According to the rector, “Quiet contemplation on dirt, spirit, connecting with our roots in a beautiful garden setting at the Quiet Garden in Wolfville. Rev’d Lynn Uzans of the Anglican Parish of Wilmot lead this restorative day retreat.”
St. John the Evangelist, Middle Sackville:
Who marked the Season of Creation on four Sundays through September.
One of their Lay Readers, Maxine Simpkin found an “Earth” beach ball that was suspended from the cross beam in the middle of the congregation. They used the Joe Miller piece, “If the Earth were only a few feet…” as part of the liturgy opening. Maxine also found some “Earth” squeezy balls that they gave out to the children and the rest of those present the next week which was Welcome Back Sunday had a caring for creation theme.
One week they located the new baptismal promise to sustain and restore the Earth at the opening of the service as a reminder of our commitment.
They used the “Earth Blue Marble” photo from space on their bulletin covers (instead of the church photo) and on their slides for the projector.
“This was St. John’s first year so we started small and hope to do better next year.”
Developing relationships with like-minded organizations inside and outside the church: The church is in the unique position of being able to provide spiritual care and support to environmentalists. To better connect with other environmental groups and individuals Tory Byrne represents our network on the board of the Nova Scotia Environmental Network and serves as treasurer, https://nsenvironmentalnetwork.com/
Our EN promoted and supported Nova Scotia Environmental Network, Ecology Action Centre, Healthy Forest Coalition, Northern Pulp, Alton Gas and Council of Canadians Blue Community campaign.
Our expression of support to the fishers who are protesting pollution by Northern Pulp on Facebook resulted in well over 60 likes and positive comments from members of the Clean Up the Pictou County Pulp Mill FB page.
Provided support to Joanne Light for travel to Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada ‘s 13th National Conference and Lobbying Days, “Building Bridges,” on Parliament Hill (https://canada.citizensclimatelobby.org/).
I am still an active member of national church’s Creation Matters Task Group and represent the ACC on the Kairos Eco justice Circle. And I recently acted as a resource to United Church Maritime Conference on their new environmental program Faithful Footprints.
Lenten Practice in our diocese: It was agreed at our September meeting that the EN would develop a “Stations of the Cross” type spiritual practice for Lent using local photographs taken by Donna Giles from the Church of St Andrew in Cole Harbour. The Stations will be available to parishes and regions throughout the diocese. Parishes or regions will be able to book the Stations in advance. EN members could be available for support. Contact Rev Marian if your parish would like to book the Stations. firstname.lastname@example.org 902-483-6866
On Line Book Club: After a member of the EN lent me a book called Chasing Francis, I am hoping to introduce an on line book club.
Tory Byrne’s letter to the Nova Scotia Environmental Network re the meeting with the Minister of the Environment:
Specifically, the three areas I would like to see addressed are
1. The need for environmental non-profits to have core funding support from government, especially at a network level. It’s hard enough to find financial support for specific projects; it’s nearly impossible for administration, coordination, communication and education. Governments, both federal and provincial have noted the need for the public community groups to do monitoring and education because governments aren’t doing it. – And because self-monitoring by industry fails in the face of the need for industry and shareholder profits.
2. The environment can heal us, physically, mentally and spiritually, and keep us healthy. But if we continue to destroy the environment, it will kill us. This is a link which governments are missing. This government is taking a beating on health care, yet ignores practices and papers from other parts of the world that show that healthcare costs can be significantly reduced and health significantly improved by maintaining and building healthy forests, waterways and air, while providing access to all people. This is an environment issue, a health issue, a social justice issue and a spiritual wellbeing issue.
3. Listen to environmentalists: indigenous, academic, and the ecologically involved. Value all the knowledge that is out there. We don’t expect legislators to be environmental experts. We do expect them to listen and consider, act on and continue to be visibly acting on advice and information from all sources. Don’t pit industry against environmentalists (we do that well enough) but work with the issues to protect the environment AND provide for jobs. And probably profits – though these tend to leave the province anyhow). Example: according to the Economist, it costs $14,000 to extract one kilo of gold from the ground, as is currently being proposed for the Goldboro area gold mine, a mine which will devastate the land and waters and wildlife for generations. It costs only $4,000 to extract that same one kilo of gold from recycling electronics, which does minimal damage or even benefits to the environment. Both methods provide jobs. Due diligence may provide ways to better outcomes for the environment and for the people.
The Rev. Marian Lucas-Jefferies
Coordinator, Environment Network