Communities Inspired for Environmental Action Central Saskatchewan is affiliated to Faith & the Common Good, a national, interfaith charitable network dedicated to assisting and inspiring religious congregations and spiritual groups of all backgrounds to take collective action in creating more sustainable communities. As the co-chair of Communities Inspired for Environmental Action, I am writing this brief letter to highlight the importance and tangible benefits for social equity and quality of life that accompany following through with the commitments outlined in the Low Emissions Community (LEC) Plan released by the City of Saskatoon in August 2019. That plan sets out a framework that seeks to transform the city that most of the people involved in Communities Inspired for Environmental Action call their home into a low emissions and sustainable community.
There are many initiatives and facts presented in the plan that are of interest to people involved in our group. Of note are the tangible targets for greenhouse gas reduction that the City of Saskatoon’s Council set in 2017 based on 2014 baselines of reducing emissions from corporations by 40% and from community emission by 15% by the year 2023. With reference to the same baseline year, the council set a target of an 80% drop in overall emission by the year 2050 (see p. 3 of the LEC).
In celebration of the SEASON OF CREATION, September 1 - October 4
“In the present condition of global society, where injustices abound and growing numbers of people are deprived of basic human rights and considered expendable, the principle of the common good immediately becomes a summons to solidarity and a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters.” LS 178
New Report Addresses Loss of Community Infrastructure Due to Permanent Closure of Faith Buildings in Ontario
The National Trust for Canada indicates that a third of Canada’s 27,000 faith buildings - more than 9,000 buildings - could close permanently within the next ten years. A new report released today, “No Space for Community,” measures faith-building usage and how closures could impact the wide range of not-for-profit services, organizations, and community groups that rely on those buildings.
Daycares, women and seniors programs, arts and culture organizations, community groups, twelve-step groups, food banks, blood donor clinics, community meetings, and others, would have nowhere to go in the absence of those buildings and the free or affordable space they provide.
The two-year study, conducted by Faith & the Common Good in partnership with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Nonprofit Network, the City of Toronto, Cardus, and the National Trust for Canada, gathered new data through surveys of existing non-profit and community groups that make use of faith-building space.
“Wherever you are, whatever you do, you can act daily for the climate.”
Saskatchewan Environmental Groups Collaborate on Webinar Series.
“The webinar format allows us to invite speakers from outside Saskatoon, such as speakers from Saskatchewan's Ministry of Environment and PACE Canada,” says Carroll Chubb, CIEA Committee Member, and main organizer. “PACE financing is a way to finance building alterations to buildings that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Warm sunshine dazzles the earth around me warming both my body and my soul as I look up into a bright blue open sky. Overhead a flock of geese so heavy that a shadow is cast over the yard and upon closing my eyes I hear the powerful thrust of flapping wings. In the distance, a coyote yelps as cattle join into the chorus while songbirds sing a delightful accompaniment. Snow is melting, buds are forming, water is flowing the aroma of fresh earth fills the air and tonight the skies will be filled with a tapestry of endless stars, this is springtime in Saskatchewan and what a magnificent concert it is to take in. It is so easy to fall in love with creation yet true love always desires responsibility.
“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who will come after us, to children who are growing up?" Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ #160
Celebrating the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’ with dialogue and solidarity around the future of our common home
In the five years since Pope Francis signed his groundbreaking encyclical Laudato Si’ calling on everyone to care for our common home, the ecological crisis has intensified and the current coronavirus pandemic is laying bare the deep injustices and inequalities still present in our world. Laudato Si’ continues to be a compelling source of hope, guidance and inspiration for creative initiatives including the formation of the Global Catholic Climate Movement which has grown to over 900 member organizations seeking to bring Laudato Si’ to life and respond to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
Faith buildings account for about 42% of a typical faith community’s carbon footprint, according to a Canadian National Inventory Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.* With over 27,000 faith communities in Canada, the faith sector can do a lot to lower emissions, starting from their places of worship. Doing so also encourages congregants to follow suit at home. Energy conservation and efficiency is an obvious way to immediately reduce emissions and make a real impact.
As a start, it is useful to track energy usage, because you can’t change what you don’t measure. Over the last three years, FCG has been supporting faith communities to do just that, through our Energy Benchmarking program for faith groups. Now that the program is drawing to an end, this wrap-up blog offers insights to help your faith group tackle next steps in retrofitting. We will end with tips from one participant of the program.
We share insights from our Building Audit Manager, Stephen Collette. Stephen is a sustainable building consultant, and a heritage professional specializing in faith community buildings. He blogs at http://www.yourhealthyhouse.ca
Hamilton Monthly Meeting Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Hamilton, Ontario, 7 Butty Place, Hamilton. Meeting for Worship every Sunday at 10:30 am.
Mission and Background
The way is available to all. It may be particularly attractive to those strongly concerned with peace and social justice and to those with a meditative or mindfulness practice who seek a supportive community.
Quakers meet in silent worship to strengthen this connection and bear witness to its power in our lives. From the stillness that puts us in touch with the Divine comes our corporate testimony of simplicity, honesty, and non-violence. Work towards the just and equitable treatment of all human beings and close attention to the health and sustainability of our communities and the environment that supports them are examples of these testimonies.
Historically these testimonies have led many Quakers to the forefront of movements for social justice: prison reform, the abolition of slavery, pacifism, and indigenous rights, among others.
On March 30th, more than 80 religious leaders from across Canada sent out a common message of hope, gratitude and solidarity to all Canadians in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The message calls us to “witness hope to each other and so become beacons of light during these uncertain times” and expresses gratitude to all health care and other front-line workers as well as to religious and political leaders. The religious leaders emphasize “This is a time for human solidarity” and that greater attention needs to be given to the most vulnerable including the homeless, the incarcerated, Indigenous Peoples, refugees and our global neighbours with fewer resources to face this crisis.