Adopted from a keynote address at the Grand River Interfaith Breakfast held in Kitchener, ON on April 25, 2015
By: Dr. Hind Al-Abadleh Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Wilfrid Laurier University
I had the honour and privilege to stand before 350+ attendees from the Waterloo Region and deliver the keynote on a topic that I’m passionate about at the Grand River Interfaith Breakfast, just three days after the world celebrated Earth Day. I provide below an edited version of my talk.
I started by acknowledging that “we are on the Haldimand Tract, traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabe, and Haudenosaunee peoples.” The indigenous people of this land have so much to teach us on how to care for it as it was their ancestors who were connected to this land, understood its seasons and rhythms, and welcomed settlers into their ever-expanding circle.
I have structured my brief talk with one goal in mind that I wanted to leave the audience with, which is that humans need to rethink and restore their relationship with and dependency on nature, and that people of all faiths are uniquely qualified to lead in this area.
Mark your calendars to join us on March 7th, 2018 for The Chemical Valley Project, an innovative documentary-theatre performance telling story of a small Indigenous community smothered by Canada’s petrochemical industry in our own backyard. It will spark conversations on Canadian environmental policy, treaty rights and Indigenous relations, as well as the current nature of Canadian identity and values.
“Mitakuye Oyasin. All my relations.” Lakota Nation.
We need to return to the original relationships. That’s the repeated message heard at a recent Waterloo forum hosted by Faith & the Common Good, Divest Waterloo, the Green Awakening Network and a number of other groups concerning climate justice and what Indigenous allyship would mean.
I’ve heard many environmentalists talk about how we are now living in a Post-Paris world, referring to the COP21 climate conference which was was billed as “the meeting to save the planet”. But of course the event that really shifted climate conversations in Canada wasn’t December’s Paris conference, it was October’s federal election.
The conversation around climate in Canada has shifted, but we’ve yet to see if the response will match the urgency that the science lays out. Which has left Fossil Free Faith asking,What is the role of Fossil Fuel Divestment in this post-election Canada?And, what else can we be doing?