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Helping our Climate-Vulnerable Neighbours

Brampton_lighthouse.jpgThe wide spreading flooding across the country these past weeks is a reminder of our increasing vulnerability to climate impacts. Faith & the Common Good is continuing to work to encourage faith communities to 1) examine their own preparedness for climate-induced extreme weather events, and 2) reflect on how to best support climate vulnerable neighbours in their social and ecological justice work.

We are also a founding member of CLARION, a cross-sectoral, voluntary collaboration working to promote community-based emergency preparedness and climate adaptation hubs at the neighbourhood level across Canada. Some updates from this work include:

  • The City of Brampton recently approved their Emergency Management Office’s Project Lighthouse. Project Lighthouse aims to support and train diverse places of worship across the city to act as points of rendezvous for vulnerable people needing guidance and support during extreme weather emergencies. It is an amazing first step to enhance neighbourhood-level climate resilience by the City of Brampton. We hope this work can be replicated across the region and the country.
  • CLARION was well represented by a terrific team from Toronto at the 2017 National Adaptation Forum in Minneapolis. They were there to bring the very best of resilience practice to Toronto with a particular focus on the health and well-being of Toronto’s vulnerable populations. We know with certainty that the disadvantaged among us will suffer disproportionately from climate related impacts of extreme weather and from illness caused by polluted air and water, or vector borne diseases such as Lyme or West Nile.

If you are looking for help in galvanizing your own faith group to raise awareness around and prepare for our shared climate vulnerability, download our Extreme Weather Toolkit for Faith Communities. It was designed for Toronto area faith groups. but could be easily adapted to your own community’s needs.

A Philosophical Framework: The Climate Adaptation Pledge

I pledge to create a durable future for my community and the environment, at home and at work, by thinking about the future in all I do.

I commit to:
  • Use best available science and knowledge: Considering present, past, and future conditions in my actions.
  • Decide with, not for: Invite, recruit and promote the broadest diversity of partners and stakeholders in conversations and decisions in my community.
  • Build climate equity: Work to ensure the equitable sharing of the benefits of resilience-building and the equitable bearing of the costs of climate change.
  • Safeguard integrity: Ensure transparency, accountability & follow-through.
  • Minimize harm: Evaluate how actions might affect other people, living things, places, goals and endeavor to minimize adverse impacts while maximizing common benefits.
  • Be honest about the challenges: Give voice to the fact that resilience requires adaptation to create it and mitigation to maintain it.
  • Foster an inspired community: Use the knowledge that a long-term plan and vision that engages and inspires the community comes from tapping into hope and creativity.
  • Adapt holistically: Your community is affected by & affects the world around you.
From the 2017 National Adaptation Forum. How might faith communities tailor this pledge to guide their own climate action work?

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