Earth Day, 2015   Leave a comment

Earth Day 2015: Sea and Sky, Prayer and Conversion

It was a perfect Vancouver day… the sun shining, the sky blue; a slip of cloud in the distance, moving up Howe Sound; a breeze from the west, pushing occasional white caps on the waves. And I am walking the seawall – perhaps my favourite place in the world.

An otter swims in the sea off of Vancouver.

One of the strange gifts of being Moderator has been the amount of time I have spent away from home – a gift in that I have discovered how deeply rooted I am in Vancouver…  not just family and friends and home; but also history, smell, space; this is where I belong. Here, by this ocean, these mountains, this forest, this city. Sometimes it takes distance to remind us of what our home-land means. As the poet T.S. Eliot said, “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time” (Little Gidding).

Sign on Vancouver Beach advising public of oil spill.

Paterson goes on to write:

But as I walked the seawall, I was confronted with big signs, plastered all over the beaches:WATER SAFETY NOTICE
Due to an oil spill from a cargo ship in English Bay it is recommended that
people and pets temporarily avoid going in the water.
Clean up will be conducted by the Federal Coast Guard officials and their contractors.
Please also refrain from attempting to clean up the spill as it can cause further impact.
Call 3-1-1 to report any concerns or observations
as we continue to manage this unfortunate incident.The language is carefully crafted… don’t be alarmed, this unfortunate incident is being managed.  Just don’t go in the water; don’t even try to clean up the stuff.

Well, I’m glad the signs are up – we’re organized, finally, about clean-up. But I am worried.  Only 30 or 40 waterfowl dead, they say. But later on? And what might happen to the great blue herons, as they prepare to mate, nest, and rear their chicks? Or to the fish, the otters, and seals, the gulls and crows? And what is this about “further impact?”

More at:http://www.garypaterson.ca/2015/04/22/earth-day-2015-sea-and-sky-prayer-and-conversion/

The Earth is God’s Body – Paterson   Leave a comment

What do Earth Day (April 22) and the Moderator of the United Church of Canada have in common?

Gary Paterson wrote a blog with the above title after learning of what is euphemistically called, “an oil spill”.

“Sitting  here at my desk in Toronto, my heart is troubled by the news about an oil spill in English Bay… my home. I gather the clean-up is going well – it was, as these things go, a small spill. But, oh my, what a way to make frighteningly real and concrete all the worries about fossil fuels, environmental degradation, and climate change.”

The emotionally moving – especially when one reads to the end – blog can be accessed at:

http://www.garypaterson.ca/2015/04/14/the-earth-is-gods-body/

Zoo Poo in Toronto   Leave a comment

 

Ontarians invest $2.2M to turn Zoo Poo & Food Waste

into Renewable Power!

 

TORONTO – Nearly 300 local investors are celebrating after reaching their goal of raising $2.2 million to build North America’s 1st zoo-based biogas plant. The facility will be located across the street from the Toronto Zoo and will recycle 17,000 tonnes of Zoo poo and local grocery store waste into renewable power for the Ontario grid.  “We are extremely proud today – all of our members, investors, Board and staff have been focused on this goal for almost two years now,” said ZooShare’s Executive Director, Daniel Bida. “Having these funds in the bank brings us one step closer to putting shovels in the ground, which we plan on doing in the coming months. Our project proves that, given the opportunity, people will choose to invest for impact: our financial returns are good, but are our environmental returns are better – and our investors wanted their portfolios to reflect that.”

 images

Beginning in October 2013, ZooShare began raising funds for the project by offering Community Bonds to both local retail and institutional investors. Supporters are almost entirely individuals, ranging in age from 18 months to 83 years old, and most live in the Greater Toronto Area. “It was exactly the kind of investment I had been looking for,” says investor Jennifer Neirinckx, “Smart, green and helping out right in my own city! Go poo power!” A few companies have also invested: “Bullfrog Power participated early on as a founding investor and the project’s Educational Sponsor and, earlier this year, increased our financial commitment,” says Ron Seftel, Chief Operating Officer of Bullfrog Power.

 “As a not-for-profit organization, the Toronto Zoo is committed to energy efficient operations and environmental protection. We are excited to be associated with North America’s first zoo-biogas project, which will further strengthen the Zoo’s role as a global leader in conservation and sustainability,” said John Tracogna, CEO of the Toronto. “I want to congratulate everyone at ZooShare in reaching this significant milestone and thank the Community at large for their incredible enthusiasm and support for this project,” he added.

 The Ontario Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli, is also a fan of the project: “ZooShare is a fine example of community power in action – raising local dollars to make a local impact through the development of a renewable energy project. I congratulate them on their success.”

 ZooShare supporters celebrated their success at The Community Bond Showcase, an event ZooShare co-hosted with other leaders in the sector, SolarShare and the Centre for Social Innovation.

 hands-earth

About ZooShare

The ZooShare biogas plant will recycle manure from the Toronto Zoo and food waste from Canada’s largest grocery chain into renewable power for the Ontario grid. This process will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of removing 2,100 cars from the road each year, and will return valuable nutrients to the soil in the form of a high-quality fertilizer. To learn more, visit Zooshare.ca.

For more information contact:

Daniel Bida

Executive Director

daniel@zooshare.ca

 

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Encouraging Democracy   Leave a comment

IMG_2156 “Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.” – Arundhati Roy

Posted March 20, 2015 by allanbaker in Uncategorized

An Imaginary Climate of FEAR!   Leave a comment

i-remember-for-peaceIMAGINARY CLIMATE OF FEAR

By Jim Taylor – Wednesday March 18, 2015

A big black SUV with dark-tinted windows pulled up beside me. The driver’s window zipped down. A very big man with a shaved head and lots of tattoos leaned out.

“Hey, you!” he growled.
It felt like the opening scene of almost any TV crime show.
“What kinda dog is that?” the driver demanded.
“A Chesapeake Bay Retriever,” I replied, a little nervously.
His door popped open. He levered his bulk onto the ground. He bent over to rumple my dog’s ears.
“I’ve never seen a Chesapeake before,” he said. “She’s got a beautiful face.”
Nope, definitely not your stereotypical crime show.
Television, I’m convinced, gives us a hugely distorted view of reality. Unfortunately, most of us don’t realize how distorted that view is.
Every study, for example, says that the rate of violent crime in Canada has decreased by around 50 per cent over the last 25 years. Yet the federal government bases its run for re-election on fear, pushing a heightened “tough on crime” agenda.
Admittedly, the U.S. — source of most TV crime shows — has a much higher violent crime rate than Canada. You’re about three times more likely to be murdered in the U.S., according to Wikipedia. But the chances of being murdered at random are extremely low in both countries.

INACCURATE PORTRAYALS
Rather to my surprise — yes, I get influenced by television too! — the overall crime rate in the U.S. appears to have dipped even faster than in Canada. Even for gun crimes.
Yet no one would ever get that impression from the hail of bullets launched every night on the screen, where teams of crime fighters smash down doors, fan out through homes wearing flak jackets, fingers on triggers….
TV coverage made the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, look like an episode of Star Wars last summer, with Darth Vader’s troops massing to crush protesters .
The medical profession suffers from TV-induced distortion too. Doc Martin glimpses a rash on a woman’s exposed belly. “I must operate immediately!” he commands. “Get me some boiling water!”
“At a time like this, you want tea?” his befuddled assistant gasps.
“To sterilize my scalpel, you idiot!” the doctor snorts.
Marcus Welby might have spoken more diplomatically, but the aura of omnipotence stays the same.
Given the stereotypes of medical drama, it must be very difficult for ordinary doctors to say, “I don’t know.”

OVERLOOKED ELEMENTS
The great failing of television, it seems to me, is that it ignores the essential goodness of people. In the rush of telescoping a plot into an hour, or a news story into a minute, there isn’t time to acknowledge little acts of kindness, compassion, caring.
I can’t quantify this claim, but I suspect that 99% of my life is spent trusting other people. Trusting that the relationship I have with them will withstand any disagreements. Trusting that those I don’t have a personal relationship with will still act with honesty and justice.
Yet the TV culture encourages us to base our life decisions on fear. We act to protect ourselves, even when nothing needs defending. We withdraw. We hold back. We hesitate.
We let a few drops of imaginary fear taint the entire bucket of life experience.
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Copyright © 2015 by Jim Taylor. Non-profit use in congregations and study groups, and links from other blogs, welcomed; all other rights reserved.
To comment on this column, write jimt@quixotic.ca
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The Year of Fear   Leave a comment

"Sortie"

“Sortie”

“As you know, we live in a fearful society that is devoured by anxiety. And we imagine in our anxiety that there are extreme “security” measures that will make us safe.

But if this is God’s world and if the rule of love is at work, then our mandate is not to draw into the cocoon of safety; rather it is to be out and alive in the world in concrete acts and policies whereby the fearful anxiety among us is dispatched and adversaries can be turned into allies and friends.”

Walter Brueggemann

in “Mandate to Difference: An Invitation to the Contemporary Church

Fossil Fuel Divestment   Leave a comment

February 13 / 14 has been designated as “Global Divestment Day(s).

From a blockade at the International Petroleum Conference in London to hundreds of people dumping their dirty banks on the same day in Australia, the photos and videos are already pouring in from our friends on the other side of the globe. Click here to see (and share!) some of today’s early photos on Facebook:

Today people are demonstrating that there are thousands of people around the world who know that fossil fuel divestment is both the smart thing to do and the right thing — and those people are willing to take action in their own communities. We know that if it’s wrong to wreck the climate, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.

Earlier this week, the fossil fuel industry launched a concerted counter-attack on the divestment movement, only to have their efforts fall rather flat. This (perhaps apocryphal) Gandhi quote feels more apt than ever: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Let’s show the world that we’ve got the guts, the heart, and the numbers to win against the power and money of the industry driving the climate crisis.

Let’s make fossil fuels history.

For information on what one courageous church community is doing, check out: http://www.trinitystpauls.ca/climate-justice/

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