Faith in Action
Embracing Equity in the Non-Profit Sector
The shifting funding landscape post-pandemic has me reflecting on what it takes to successfully deliver programming in the nonprofit sector. Faith & the Common Good has a unique niche – harnessing the power of diverse faith and spiritual groups through education, capacity building, and collective action to build more resilient and sustainable communities – programming that is primarily delivered by women. FCG’s staff is mostly women-identifying, and of these women, most are women of colour working contract to contract.
This year, the campaign theme for International Women's Day (IWD) was Embrace Equity. From the IWD website, ‘Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.’
Weeks before IWD, along with thousands of other non-profits and charities, we celebrated Ontario’s Nonprofit Sector Appreciation Week (February 13 to 19) – begun in 2019 to recognize the critical role staff and volunteers play in these organizations, and raising awareness about this sector’s contributions and challenges.
In Canada, 77% of nonprofit workers are women (47% immigrants and 35% Indigenous and racialized people), according to Imagine Canada, and 50% of all jobs held by immigrant women are in the nonprofit sector. Their report concerning the nonprofit sector's workforce demonstrates the racial and gendered wage disparities. “Our workers tend to be older and better educated than the economy-wide averages, but face lower salaries and difficult employment conditions. To improve conditions for the nonprofit sector’s diverse workforce, we need immediate action from funders, governments, and nonprofit leaders,” the report said.
"We need more women environment ministers, business leaders and presidents and prime ministers. They can push countries to address the climate crisis, develop green jobs and build a more just and sustainable world," said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
And for this to occur, inclusion has to mean equity. So we are back to equity. How will you support equity, be it in the environmental sector or elsewhere? I invite you to reflect on these issues as you read our newsletter, created and distributed by women, about work done for the greater part, by women.
In peace and solidarity…
Michelle Singh, Executive Director
Moving forward, we will be publishing this newsletter monthly. The format will remain the same, but will be shorter in length.
On February 2, FCG’s Executive Director and two of the programs under our umbrella participated in Faith Perspectives on Ecological Justice and Conservation. Canadian faith-based ecological and climate justice professionals introduced their work and explored how to expand their efforts and connect with others to prioritize and act on environmental concerns, across their communities. You can listen to a recording here.
The Faithful Footprints program is part of The United Church of Canada’s plan to reduce emissions by 80% by 2030, starting with a focus on its buildings. With support from their community, women are taking on leadership roles to secure project funding and coordinate a wide range of energy-efficient and carbon reduction building renovation projects.
Retrofit Lead, Minister, Rev. Alison Etter of Knox United Church in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, takes us along and shows us the impressive retrofit projects that the church was able to accomplish with the support of the program. Watch now.
Stay up to date with climate action leadership of United Church faith communities through the Faithful Footprints program here.
Read other Faithful Footprints inspiring and educational blogs here.
Faithful Footprints Monthly Blogs are published the 2nd Wednesday of every month.
Greening Sacred Spaces — Ottawa
Faithfully Green Fund – EV Charger at Rideau Park United Church
Last October, our Ottawa chapter, GSS Ottawa launched the Faithfully Green Fund (FGF). Since then, FGF has begun having an impact in the Ottawa community. Thanks to the fund’s investors, Rideau Park United Church in the Alta Vista area is now home to two level-2 Flo chargers for electric vehicles. Another pair of these chargers will soon be installed at Kanata United Church. Besides being available to anyone in the community in need of a quick charge, these chargers are simple to install and will create a new revenue stream for the faith institution.
Canada Efficiency Scorecard 2022 Report
Our partners at the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax hosted a webinar with the Efficiency Canada team that went over the recently released Canadian Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The Canadian Energy Efficiency Scorecard tracks provinces and territories on 54 metrics across energy efficiency programs, buildings, transportation and industry, and provides an overall score. The annual report measures provincial and territorial progress on energy efficiency programming and outlines the policy recommendations required to support and catalyze better energy efficiency performance — vital to meeting Canada’s climate targets. Watch the video here. Read the report here.
Opportunities to Engage
Give it up for the Earth! (Lent, February 22-April 8)
Give It Up For the Earth!, a collaboration of Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) and For the Love of Creation (FLC). This annual campaign runs from February 22–April 8 (Easter), and invites participants to take these actions:
- Educate yourself. Access CPJs resources
- Sign the Open Letter to Stephen Guilbeault, M.P. Minister of Environment & Climate Change
- Attend the Preserving Biodiversity Webinar, March 23 (see details below).
Green Ramadan (Ramadan March 22-April 20)
Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community. Khaleafa offers a Green Ramadan Guide that offers suggestions for simple changes that can make a big impact from food to transportation to energy.
Preserving Biodiversity: Creation Care from Faith to Action
March 23, 6:00-7:30 pm EDT
Join Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) and For the Love of Creation (FLC) for a conversation on Biodiversity and Creation Care in Canada. Expert and diverse panelists will talk about our planetary boundaries, the latest updates from COP15, and Indigenous perspectives on biodiversity. The gathering will conclude with a theological reflection on creation. Register here
Earth Week Events – April 16 – 23
Share your retrofit story: Host a public tour of your building
Have you completed a retrofit at your place of worship? Consider hosting a tour for your congregation and the broader community to celebrate and showcase your faith community’s energy and decarbonization projects!
Together for the Love of Creation
FCG is an Endorsing Organization of For the Love of Creation, we invite our network to join with diverse faith communities across the country to participate in Earth Week (April 16-23) or Earth Day (Saturday, April 22). Engage in a climate justice activity…praying, learning, acting. Your activity could be visibly joining a community-wide event or creating something new.
The FLC 2023 team has put together a plan to invite and track Earth Week initiatives in faith communities across the country.
Visit the map to view or add activities. Check out the webpage (English and French) and map. What will you and your community do this Earth Week? Share it on the map!
Greening Sacred Spaces Certification Program
Developed in 2011, the Greening Sacred Spaces Certification program motivates, recognizes, and celebrates those faith communities that demonstrate commitment to caring for the environment through action. There are 3 levels to aim for and complete: Light Green, Medium Green and Deep Green. Each certification level has a corresponding checklist of possible actions in 8 categories such as Community, Energy, and Water.
Whether you are just getting started or are ready for the next level of greening, the GSS Certification program is an excellent way to engage your faith community in stewardship right at your place or worship. It is an opportunity to showcase what you have accomplished together.
Read a recent story about one faith community that is midway through the program.
Help us help you! Take our FCG Feedback Survey
We want to hear from you! We appreciate your input and want to know what you think of FCG, and how we can bring more value to the work YOU are doing. Please take our quick survey to share your thoughts.
Funding Opportunity for Mosques
Our partner, EnvironMuslims, is seeking 35 mosques across the country who are interested in greening their mosques. Eligible mosques will be provided $1000 to use towards their environmental projects. To learn more, please contact [email protected]
In the News
Faith-Based Climate Action: Islam and Environmentalism
Our partners EnviroMuslims have a great piece in Greenpeace Canada Greenpeace International on Islam, climate and environmentalism. Saba Khan writes: "Caring for and protecting the natural environment is our duty, and one that should not be taken lightly. In Islam, the term “Khaleafa” refers to being caretakers of the Earth."
Faith communities across the country are stepping up and taking action to address the climate crisis. Read all about it on our blogs and get inspired.
Check out our latest blog series ‘Thinking Nature Positive Blog Posts’ by Mouvement Laudato Si' Movement (MLSM) Canada. Last December 2022, MLSM Canada’s Agnes Richard and Karen Van Loon were in Montréal during the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15. They reflect on their experiences at COP15 and parallel events in a 6-part blog series.
Inspiration at your fingertips
Have you explored our website lately? From toolkits such as the Catholic Eco-Investement Accelerator Toolkit and the Greening Canadian Mosques Toolkit to our gardening resources and inspiring case studies and helpful building audits, we have the tools you need to take climate action in your community. Visit our Faith & the Common Good website for more information.