WATERLOO REGION RECORD — In honour of Earth Day, ten congregations in the region are calling for climate action.
The ten faith groups are raising awareness for climate justice through banners publicly declaring their commitment to climate action.
“Different faiths have different creation stories, and most of them point to the same thing: that humans have a duty to care for the earth,” says Scott Morton Ninomiya, a Faith Climate Justice member.
“So we thought today, Earth Day, is a great day to encourage all these faith communities to say something publicly.”
The ten congregations span multiple faiths and denominations.
“We’ve been really pleasantly surprised by how different faith communities came forward and said, let’s do this, where can we get one?” says Morton-Ninomiya.
Morton-Ninomiya says he became aware of the need for a faith-based, united climate voice when he attended a guest lecture by former Ontario Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe. She spoke about the need for faith communities to be more vocal about climate justice, especially in this decade when so much will be determined about our future.
From there Morton-Ninomiya began to connect with like-minded people in his own Mennonite community, and they found concerned people in other denominations and faiths in the area as well.
“We found out that a lot of faith communities are doing things, like retrofits,” he says. “We’ve been working over the last year to so to build a collective voice for climate justice.”
He emphasizes the role of churches and faith communities in pushing governments and to commit to the goal of 50 per cent reduction of 2010 levels of carbon emissions by 2030, and being leaders in the climate movement.
“The banners are frankly the least we can do. We don’t want faith communities to put a banner up and say, ‘OK, we’re done.’”
“Now we’ve got to get to the work of actually meeting those targets.”
The Faith Climate Justice Waterloo Region press release lists the ten local places of worship that have installed or requested a banner including: Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church, Shri Ram Dham Mandir, First Mennonite Church, Waterloo North Mennonite Church, Trillium Lutheran Church, Temple Shalom Synagogue, Westminster United Church, Rockway Mennonite Church, Emmanuel United Church and St Jacobs Mennonite Church.
The original goal was to have ten faith groups hang banners by Earth Day, says Morton-Ninomiya. The next goal is for 50 faith groups to hang banners by the end of 2021.
Leah Gerber’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. The funding allows her to report on stories about the Grand River Watershed. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Leah Gerber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Waterloo Region Record