People’s Climate March (2)

Take Responsibility

Take Responsibility

A week before the People’s Climate March, which was held worldwide, the Moderator of the United Church of Canada had this to say:

Thinking about the climate change summit, I find myself reflecting on some of my summer experiences. First, let me mention the United Church’s National Aboriginal Spiritual Gathering at the end of July, for there is so much we can learn from First Nations peoples’ wisdom about the land – its sacredness, a gift from God, not our possession; the need to listen to what the land is trying to say to us, to teach us about our place within a web of creation that embraces all our relations; and the need for every society to be committed to the well-being of the world for our children’s sake, even to the seventh generation. I realized that I am part of a very self-centred, short-sighted culture, and I need to learn to see differently. Celebrating the birthdays of three grandchildren this summer helped make that clear!

Then, in August, there was Rendez-vous, where over 400 youth and young adults gathered for an incredible weekend of faith, worship, fun, energy, filled with an eagerness to change the world. As I looked out on all those young people I found myself thinking, “If I mean what I say, if I really do care about them, then how can I not be committed to doing my small part to ensure that the world is healthy and green seven generations from now?”

And then, at the end of the summer, there was a trip to Alaska (and to the Yukon, a quick return to the land of my birth). One hundred thousand glaciers in Alaska, and nearly all of them in rapid retreat. Sure, the ice always ebbs and flows, but here’s a statistic that stopped me cold (so to speak). The Mendenhall Glacier is the city of Juneau’s pride and joy, but it is slowly disappearing. In the 90s it was shrinking by about 30 feet per year; the following decade that rate had increased to about 200 feet a year. Last year, the glacier retreated by 540 feet. Go figure!

I know, I know…. you’re already swamped with various requests and challenges to change the world and make a difference. But I suspect we all know that what is happening to the environment – global warming; oil sands, pipelines, and our insatiable consumption of carbon fuels; nuclear waste; pollution; “Western” lifestyle (including trips to Alaska, no doubt); climate change; ocean sickness; species extinction – we know that this is probably the most pressing issue of our times. I also suspect that we probably feel almost powerless to make a difference. And yet, and yet….

Maybe this is the moment for change, or at least, “a” moment. Follow what will be happening at the UN summit, and the preceding Interfaith gathering; check out the United Church’s suggestions for taking action and maybe choose just one; and watch thevideo playlist where clips of five Moderators will soon be posted offering statements about the importance of taking action on climate change.


For more info on what Gary Paterson has to say, watch this video:


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