Moderator Mardi’s Blog: So what to do?

This morning I spoke with both my 91-year-old Father-in-Law and my Mom, who’s of the same generation (haven’t asked permission to publish her age!). Both had great questions and suggestions about the UN Climate Change talks.

Father wanted to be sure I was reading George Monbiot’s work in the Guardian. Monbiot is the author of Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning, and I happened to hear him speak on Nov. 28th at the University of Toronto. Monbiot strongly encourages Canadians to take action for all of the world’s people “who are being hammered.” This is, he says, a call to altruism, a moral call, and that if we allow climate change to proceed unchecked it will be on our conscience.

My Mom wanted advice on what specific requests for action to include in her letter to her Prime Minister and her Member of Parliament. I suggested that the KyotoPlus Petition goals are a good place to start:

1. setting a national target to cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020
2. implementing an effective national plan to reach this target
3. accepting our historical responsibility for climate change by helping developing countries to reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change

And that the KAIROS website is a good place for more information on Copenhagen, from ecumenical perspectives.

Like so many congregations, my Mom’s and mine are ringing bells on December 13th, the day of the international, ecumenical worship service in Copenhagen. If your congregation is involved, be sure to register and learn more about the significance of the bell-ringing effort at
http://www.kairoscanada.org/en/ecojustice/climate-change/copenhagen-2009/ring-350-for-copenhagen/.

The leadership of St. Paul’s United Church in Kindersley, Saskatchewan, is inspiring. They responded quickly to the request I made during my installation as Moderator for efforts that would offset the carbon footprint of the travel I will necessarily make on behalf of the church. St. Paul’s has made a commitment to replace their boilers, resulting in 33.924 fewer tonnes of carbon emissions per year—more than compensating for my trip to Copenhagen. My hope is that we’ll be able to measure United Church individual and congregational progress in reducing carbon emissions. To help, please send an e-mail to offsets@united-church.ca and let us know how much carbon you’ve kept out of the air. To help you make the necessary calculations, see the offset calculator on the Faith & the Common Good website.

My Mom and Father-in-Law are of a generation who made extraordinary sacrifices for me and my generation because they wanted us to have a better life. Out of an abundance of love and a vision of the future, they chose to do with less so that we could have more.

We all want our children to have a better life. Can we find again the abundance of love and the clarity of vision to embrace, as gifts of love, the changes we will have to make in our lifestyles so that future generations may also know abundance?

This week in worship I listened as a six-year-old in the pew behind me recited the Lord’s Prayer. As I listened to her, I knew the changes that lie ahead would not be sacrifices; they would be gifts paid forward from my generation to hers.

“Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” I heard her say. May it be so.

Blessings on your journey. Tell me who or what you seeing or hearing along the way. Please share your thoughts.


 Left to right: Chris Tindal, me, and George Monbiot at the University of Toronto, Nov. 28. Photo by Douglas Tindal.