We are now just days away from making an important decision as Canadians: who will we vote for to see our values reflected in government? For people of faith, those values include a sacred responsibility to love our neighbors and care for Creation.
The climate crisis presents a grave danger to Creation, with the greatest impact felt by vulnerable neighbors who are least able to adapt. Despite our differences in theology, dress, and culture, people of diverse faith and spiritual traditions share a moral understanding that we cannot remain idle when the web of life which sustains us is declining as never before in human history.
The hopeful news? People of myriad faith and spiritual backgrounds are responding to this moral call by coming together to make a difference. At the global level, we are witnessing practical collaborations, like the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative, which brings the commitment, influence and moral authority of religions to protect the world’s rainforests, in allyship with the Indigenous peoples who have long served as their guardians. At the local level, communities of faith at Temples, Synagogues, Mosques, Gurdwaras, and Churches are leading the way in breaking free from the paralysis of apathy and entitlement by installing renewable energy in their places of worship, using their purses to support green economy choices, hosting local conversations on climate, and caring for vulnerable neighbors in extreme weather emergencies.
Now more than ever we need people of faith and conscience to add their spirited voices to Canada’s political discourse on climate. The result of this year’s federal election will determine the path we take together during these pivotal moments when we can still prevent more climate devastation. Now is the time to let our political leaders know that climate destabilization is an urgent moral issue that demands a response.
Our great blessings here in Canada bestow upon us a great responsibility to act. Being spiritual does not give us an exemption from being “political”. Indeed, to be silent in the face of the climate crisis is also a political choice. People of faith and conscience have a responsibility to help create a national path forward by collectively witnessing both the destruction in which we are complicit and the fulfillment that comes from working together to protect our planet and communities.
That national path begins at the ballot box. Chatelaine and Citizens for Public Justice, among others, have produced climate policy guides to help voters choose action over apathy by making an informed choice on Election Day.
Your vote is your opportunity to tell our leaders that we must do more to put our compassion into action.
So on October 21, consider your options carefully with your children and grandchildren in mind. Then head to the polling station to make your voice heard. Our one precious planet needs us to embrace the courage of our faiths and come together to care for and protect our common home.
Lucy Cummings is Executive Director of Faith & the Common Good, a national, interfaith charitable network dedicated to supporting collective action in creating more sustainable communities.