ED Newsletter- May 2023
Invest in Our Planet
Due to technical difficulties, we were unable to send you April’s ED Newsletter. This month we are back with a new and improved template and a lot of great news to share.
Last month, Earth Week celebrations took place globally, centred around the theme of Invest in Our Planet. At the same time, Canada released the 2023 Budget, and although it includes significant investments in renewable energy and electrification, the support allocated to climate solutions is still a fraction of dollars for subsidizing the gas and oil industry. You can read reactions to the budget from experts at Environmental Defence and The Energy Mix.
What does investing in our planet look like to you? Across our network and with our collaborators and partners, we invest our creativity, time, energy, and dollars toward co-creating sustainable, resilient, thriving communities for all. From sustainable gardening practices to reducing our carbon footprint, renewable energy projects, policy, climate justice advocacy, responsible investing, and more, our May updates and upcoming events reflect our commitment.
I encourage you to join us in asking, “What does the Earth ask of us?” (with thanks to Robin Wall Kimmerer) and work together for a better world. We welcome your investment in us to support our mission and the impact we make.
In peace and solidarity…
Michelle Singh, Executive Director
Remembering Dr. John Dorner
Dr. John Dorner
We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. John Dorner, former Ottawa coordinator of FCGs Greening Sacred Spaces Program and member of the Mouvement Laudato Si' Movement - Canada (MLSM Canada) Advisory Circle. John will be remembered for his leadership in faith-based environmentalism, his kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness as a friend, colleague, and mentor. His funeral will be held on May 13 at the Canadian Martyrs Catholic Church in Ottawa.
Our partners, the Ecology Action Centre have launched In Our Power, a series of stories about ordinary people and diverse communities in Atlantic Canada working to create a just transition to a green economy. Enjoy two recent stories about Faithful Footprints program participants, Windsor United Church in Windsor, NS, and How Centennial United in Robert's Arm, NL Reduced Its Carbon Footprint and their work to decarbonize their buildings.
Credit: Ecology Action Centre
United Church of Canada’s Second Sustainability Report
As part of its Faithful Footprints team, we are honoured to have written The United Church of Canada’s second Sustainability Report Deepening Climate Integrity. The report highlights the Church’s commitment to investing in climate, ecological, and social justice, and showcases the incredible work communities of faith are doing across the country. It is a testament to the Church’s dedication, resilience, and creativity in finding solutions to our world's intersecting crises. Stay up to date with the climate action leadership of United Church faith communities through the Faithful Footprints newsletter here. Read other Faithful Footprints inspiring and educational blogs here.
Greening Sacred Spaces — Ottawa
Ottawa Faith Community Capacity Building Program
GSS Ottawa's first Faith Community Capacity Building Program (OFCCBP) project took off in March. Congratulations to Ascension Anglican Church for installing their new water heater.
Photo credit: Monica Seidel.
Trinity United Church, Ottawa, had a significant upgrade this month with its three new heat pumps, made possible by the Ottawa Faith Community Capacity Building microgrant, the United Church Faithful Footprints program, and a generous donation.
Kanata United Church installed two new electric vehicle chargers. In addition to generous grants from The United Church of Canada Foundation and the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program delivered by Hydro Ottawa, Kanata UC received a loan through Sustainable Capacity Foundation and GSS Ottawa’s Faithfully Green Fund to make this possible. Learn more about the program.
Green Youth Leadership Program
From educating children about fracking (Nazareen Evangelical Church) to hosting a games night using recycled materials for Earth Day (St. Joseph Catholic Church) and improving recycling and compost (Sri Sathya Sai Baba Centre), Green Youth Leaders have been hard at work on their projects! Read more here.
Photo Credit: GSS Ottawa
OPPORTUNITIES TO ENGAGE
May 25: The Letter: An Interfaith Conversation on Care for Our Common Home – Mary Ward Centre, Toronto, ON
The Letter: A Message for Our Earth is a recent film that tells the story of a small group of frontline leaders from around the world who journey to Rome to dialogue with Pope Francis. Our collaborative conversation on Care for Our Common Home will feature portions of the film.
- Kehkashan Basu, United Nations Human Rights Champion; Founder & President of Green Hope Foundation
- Noah MacDonald, Canon Lawyer with the Archdiocese of Toronto
- Emilio Rodriguez, Policy Analyst at Citizens for Public Justice
- Yusra Shafi, COP27 Youth Delegate
- Roop Singh Sidhu, President of EcoSikh Canada
June 2-4: Care for Our Common Home Retreat – Jericho House, Wainfleet, ON
Jericho House is hosting Response to the Cry of the Poor Retreat. This is an opportunity for kindred spirits from multiple faith and non-faith traditions to explore how to befriend the ecological crises and its challenges. For more information and to register, please contact either Br. Bill Carrothers or Sr. Jacquie Keefe, at [email protected].
July 9-15: Encounter World’s Religions Discovery Week – Toronto, ON
August 14-18: Parliament of the World’s Religions – Chicago, IL
Better Buildings Ottawa Benchmarking and Auditing Program
The City of Ottawa's Better Buildings Program helps faith communities benchmark their energy and water consumption. The program is seeking new participants. Apply today.
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. It has three levels to deepen your commitment: Light Green, Medium Green, and Deep Green. Whether you are just getting started or 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 of worship. It is an opportunity to showcase what you have accomplished together.
GSS Ottawa is Hiring
Greening Sacred Spaces Ottawa is hiring a youth intern for a 6-month contract beginning this summer. The ideal candidate is Ottawa-based and excited about community-based environmental engagement and action, with experience in or willingness to learn about communications, green buildings, and outdoor greening.
The free EnviroMuslims Bootcamp supports organizations led by or serving the Canadian Muslim community that want to incorporate sustainability into their programming. In addition to peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, participants will receive $1,500 to help cover 50% of the cost related to actions to be more environmentally friendly.
Prince Edward Island – Heat Pumps Initiative
As part of the Government of PEI’s Net Zero Initiative, incorporated PEI places of worship that use their facilities to host community events or provide rentals in winter months are eligible for funding assistance to cover 100% of heat pump installation costs up to a maximum of $20,000. This assistance is provided jointly by the Department of Environment, Energy, and Climate Action. Applications are now open for the 2023/24 period.
Deadline: June 14, 2023 The Ontario Trillium Foundation has grants for capital projects, such as equipment, building a new space, or completing renovations, retrofits, or repairs. Faith communities “may be eligible if they provide direct programs and services to the broader community at large which are not religious activities and do not include a requirement to participate in any dimensions of faith.”
Hydro Ottawa is distributing funding for Electric Vehicle charging stations – up to 50% of costs or $5000/charger.
IN THE NEWS
Our Board member, Memona Hossain, has written two articles concerning Islam and climate change. These pieces are geared both for the Muslim community, as well as the wider faith community to reflect and look at practical ways of engaging.
- A Ramadan Reflection on Islam & Climate change includes practical ideas for community-based action
- Ramadan: A time to respond to the Earth's state of emergency
Memona also took part in two podcasts
- Ramadan, God-consciousness & Green Initiatives with Sr. Sevim Kalyoncu
- Prophetic Inspiration for Sustainability & Eid Celebrations with Sr. Kori Majeed
The Ottawa Diocese Anglican Newspaper included GSS Ottawa and FCG in their Crosstalk section, regarding Ascension Anglican’s recent greening projects.
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church talked about its “carbon fast” with CBC’s Ottawa Morning and discussed their pollinator garden project, made possible in part by GSS Ottawa.
The Catholic Register has a piece that includes comments from MLSM Canada's Agnes Richard, concerning how churches should respond to the latest news in the IPCC 6th Synthesis Report.
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.
Keep exploring our website!
Launched last year, the Catholic Eco-Investment Accelerator Toolkit helps faith communities in Canada discern how best to divest their organizations from investments in the fossil fuel industry. From the Greening Canadian Mosques Toolkit to our gardening resources, 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.
Invest in Spirited Climate Action: Great Canadian Giving Challenge
Starting June 1st and throughout the month, Faith & the Common Good will be participating in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge and we need your support!
What is the Great Canadian Giving Challenge?
The Great Canadian Giving Challenge is CanadaHelps month-long contest to help charities fundraise during the slow summer months when donations tend to decline. Every dollar donated to FCG is an entry for a chance to win $20,000. The more we raise, the greater our chances of winning.
Invest in Us!
Support faith-based climate action for a more resilient and sustainable Canada. Donate TodayExplore Project here
ED Newsletter- January 2023
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ED Newsletter September 2022
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ED Newsletter July 2022
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ED Newsletter April 2022
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ED Newsletter February 2022
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ED Newsletter Winter 2021
Another year draws to a close and at FCG we are reflecting on what matters in life, what we hold dearly, what we value the most. For us, it’s relationships: to one another, to the animals, plants, water, the soil, the air, to Creator, to ourselves.
Our faiths and spiritualities play a critical role in healing all our relationships. For 21 years, we have been establishing connections with and harnessing the power of diverse religious and spiritual groups with the goal of building more resilient and sustainable communities for the good of all Creation.
In the coming year, as we look ahead to the next 21 years, we aim to strengthen and grow our network further, so that even more will join us, and together renew our moral duty to restore the sacred balance and steward Earth and care for “All my relations” (North American Indigenous teaching).
FCG is unique in Canada, as the only environmental network of religions and spiritualities putting our diverse faith teachings into action for climate justice, through our offerings of projects, webinars, free resources, advocacy and more.
In this year-end season, I hope you will consider giving a gift of any size to FCG, to support our work in the years ahead. As we nurture one another’s passion for the common good, heal from wrongs and create a brighter future, we will use your gift to expand on FCG’s 21 years of inspiring, equipping, and mobilizing people like you, through supporting project work, updating resources and developing new ones, and increasing our impact across all platforms.
I am tremendously grateful for the depth, breadth and width of the FCG network; especially the extraordinary team I get to work with on a daily basis. Women and men who are knowledgeable, creative and deeply committed to working together for the common good.
We are wishing you all peace, blessings and health during this holiday season.
Michelle Singh, Executive Director
Click here to give!
Some 2021 Highlights
Faith Food Forests (Divest Waterloo).
Faith Food Forests was an incredible initiative that engaged five diverse faith communities and an Indigenous lodge in planting food forests on their properties. Read more.
Food Forest planting at Ram Dham Hindu Mandir, Kitchener, ON.
Energy Benchmarking (EB) Program (GSS Ottawa).
The GSS Ottawa Team. L to R: Charlie, Hannah, Aminah and Manon.
We experimented with our new Virtual Green Audit. Bethel United in Marion Bridge, NS, and Bethel United in Rideau Ferry, ON were participants. Both of these congregations were small, rural buildings with difficulty in getting skilled support to help them with their sustainability and energy efficiency goals. The Virtual Green Audits offered them expert advice in a pandemic safe manner to accompany them through their church, with practical, applicable advice and recommendations. More Virtual Green Audits are planned for the beginning of the new year, as more people hear about it and see the value it offers.
As collaborators with GreenFaith International we worked on a number of initiatives to demand climate justice and action. Sacred People, Sacred Earth (March 11) and Faiths for Climate Justice (October 17 & 18) were opportunities to join people of diverse religions and faiths throughout the world and send a message to world leaders at #COP26: destroying the planet is against our religions!
FCG Saskatchewan Chapter, Communities inspired for Environmental Action
Vancouver GreenFaith Circle. Global day of Climate Action, October 2021
FCG Network Learning Opportunity: Join us for Indigenous Canada 2022
FCG is committed to learning how to be a better ally to Indigenous communities. As part of our reconciliACTION, we are inviting you to join us for Indigenous Canada, an online course starting in January 2022 that is offered by the University of Alberta. Please contact Network Coordinator Elyse at [email protected] if you would like to walk together with us on this journey.
World Interfaith Harmony Week, February 1-7, 2022.
FCG will be participating in the World Interfaith Harmony Week, happening February 1-7, 2022. We invite you to join us during this week at a virtual event on the importance of interfaith dialogue on climate change. We aim to create a space for values-based conversations on climate change that motivates diverse faith and spiritual groups to take action and help build more resilient communities. Stay tuned for more detail on this event in the new year.
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ED Newsletter Fall 2021
September is here again. There is an upcoming federal election, a pandemic that is well into its second year, and all around us, fires continue to rage. The IPCC's recent report tells us that we are living the effects of climate breakdown. We all have a role to play in creating a liveable climate future.
At FCG, we are not wasting a moment of the precious time we have left to take action. As people of faith and goodwill, acting on behalf of creation is a moral imperative. In this newsletter, we offer our national community the opportunity to join us in taking action.
As well, please take note that we have rescheduled our Annual General Meeting (AGM) to Thursday, October 14th. We invite you to mark your calendars for this special AGM as it is also a celebration of 20 years of FCG.
Thank you for your continuing support of FCGs work. Please feel free to contact me should you have any comments, suggestions or questions.
In peace and commitment…
Michelle Singh, Executive Director
Annual General Meeting
Please mark your calendars for FCG's Annual General Meeting, scheduled for Thursday, October, 14th, 5:00pm to 7:00pm EST.
New Staff, New Roles
Our staff is growing! It is with great pleasure that we introduce Calgary-based, Elyse Brazel, our new Network Coordinator. Elyse has an extensive background working with diverse faith communities and will bring a new level of engagement within our network.
As well, we are delighted to announce that, after 12 years with the FCG network in various capacities, Beatrice Ekoko, is our new Communications Manager. Beatrice will lead our communications strategies including supporting all program managers/coordinators while also raising FCGs profile by writing stories about our impact for targeted national publications. Beatrice is based in Hamilton, Ontario.
Finally, we welcome Chahneet Sidhu to the FCG network. With a generous grant from Colleges and Institutes Canada Career-Launcher Clean Tech program, Chahneet will be with us until July 2022 (at least). She will be working on our Climate Narratives and Greening Canadian Mosques programs, updating The Green Rule poster and the GSS Certification program as well as a number of other initiatives over the next few months. Chahneet is based in Winnipeg.
New FCG Chapter
We are thrilled to announce our latest Ontario chapter! In partnership with Climate Action London, Greening Sacred Spaces London launches Tuesday, September 21, with a special event called Fall Equinox - Greening Sacred Spaces. Guest speaker, Tracey Whiteye, Oshkaabewis Kwe, a woman helper or messenger in Objibewe, Tracey is a holistic practitioner, researcher and educator.
As well as launching GSS London, the event aims to connect all Londoners and future generations to the land that belongs to the Creator. It hopes to support and advance the City of London’s Climate Emergency Action Plan.
Learn more about the event by clicking on this link.
Annual Report 2020
If you missed our 2020 Annual Report, we are sharing it here, once again. The 2020 report is special. 2020 marked a significant milestone for FCG. Last year, we celebrated 20 years of assisting and inspiring religious congregations and spiritual groups of all backgrounds across Canada to take collective action in creating more sustainable communities.
In addition to our usual Annual Report, this edition includes a timeline of our achievements, together with our growing network of faith groups and community partners. Read on.
We are proud partners with GreenFaith International Network for Faith 4 Climate Justice, a global day of multi-religious action for climate justice, taking place on October 17-18 with the goal of influencing COP26 and decision makers. Please register to get involved.
As part of the day of action, FCG plans to host our own national action and we invite you to participate. Please contact our network coordinator, Elyse Brazel for more information.
For the Love of Creation (FLC) Symposium
We are participating in For the Love of Creation’s Fall 2021 Advocacy Webinar Series, taking place over three Thursdays in September (7:00pm EDT). Join us for one or more of the following sessions:
September 9th: Climate Financing
September 16th: Indigenous Rights
September 23rd: Climate Ambition and Transition
Parliament of the World’s Religions
FCG is an active partner with the Parliament of the World’s Religions (PWR), an organization that, since 1893 has promoted interreligious dialogues among leaders of diverse religious traditions, “fostering understanding, cooperation and social harmony.”
This PWR takes place online, from October 16-18. Learn more and register by visiting PWR 2021 Virtual.
We have compiled a handy selection of resources, with the focus being a just, climate resilient society, to help you prepare for the 2021 federal election.
CAN-Rac’s 2021 Federal Election Policy Priorities
Suzuki, Atwood, Ondaatje, Lewis Call for Emergency Leaders Debate on Climate
What makes a strong climate plan?
National Observer: Main Parties' Climate Plans
Canada's 100 Debates on the Environment
CPJ’s Creating a Just Canada 2021 Election Bulletin
Get Involved: Join Our Network
Get involved with Faith & the Common Good by:
- Creating your own account on this website, which gives you access to downloadable resources
- Creating an account on this website for your faith community, which gives you access to downloadable resources and pins your faith community to our map (if we have your permission)
- Signing up for our national and/or local newsletters (our national newsletter is sent quarterly; our local newsletters vary and include invitations to local events)
- Joining the conversation on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube)
- Applying for Greening Sacred Spaces certification
- Joining or starting a Greening Sacred Spaces chapter in your community
- Making a donation to support our work
ED Newsletter Spring 2021
It has now been over a full year of life with physical distancing and lockdowns. At FCG we are ever more aware of the deep-seated disparities and inequities across sectors that COVID has highlighted and our team has strengthened our commitment to work even harder towards a just recovery from this global pandemic. Our network, partners, and collaborators continue to forge ahead and deliver programs, webinars, and events that align with our vision for resilient and sustainable communities. Community is key, and faith groups have shown again and again the critical work that they do daily to encourage both local and broader resiliency efforts.
With the warmer weather approaching, we are all looking forward to spending more time outside in our yards, parks, and other green spaces. Faith communities often have outdoor properties that can be sacred green spaces for everyone in the community to enjoy and benefit from – whether it be starting a vegetable garden, planting native species garden to support pollinators, or creating a space for reflection, meditation or prayer. Our many free resources can help you get started.
I hope you will find inspiration and support in the stories below. Thank you for your continuing support of FCGs work. Please feel free to contact me should you have any comments, suggestions or questions.
Wishing you a safe & healthy spring...
Michelle Singh, Executive Director
As of publication date, over 200 United Church of Canada (UCC) congregations and camps have completed an Expression of Interest application for the Faithful Footprints program. All of which contributes to the UCC’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions 80% by 2050 across all UCC properties. Visit Faithful Footprints to learn more about the program. Get inspired by watching videos and reading Let Your Light Shine: LEDs, solar panels and greening faith buildings.
Greening Canadian Mosques
We are working with the EnviroMuslims team to deliver the Greening Canadian Mosques (GCM) program, a toolkit of resources, case studies and action plans to help Canadian mosques take climate action. On Sunday, April 11 our teams hosted an Advisory Roundtable event with Imams from local mosques and sustainability champions from the Muslim community. We look forward to sharing the toolkit soon! Read more about the Greening Canadian Mosques program.
GCCM Canada Webinars: Catholic Eco-Investment Accelerator
Our Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) Canada program is offering a series of four free virtual webinars on eco-investing. Featuring a powerful and impactful speaker line-up of Canadian and international voices, topics range from shareholder engagement to Indigenous and impact investing. Webinars will run from April 21 to May 12. Watch the first webinar, Laying the Groundwork and register for the balance of the series.
Divest Waterloo Faith Food Forest
With a generous grant from the Region of Waterloo and in partnership with our chapter, Divest Waterloo, FCG recently launched a Faith Food Forest project in the Waterloo region that will support the creation of eight food forests in partnership with faith communities. Watch the launch webinar featuring Dr. Andrew Judge, an Anishinaabe scholar and teacher, and Nicola Thomas, a Food Forest consultant and founder of Grand River Food Forestry.
Sacred People, Sacred Earth
On March 11, FCG took part in the biggest-ever grassroots, global, multi-faith, COVID-friendly day of climate action. Sacred People, Sacred Earth mobilized 420 actions in 49 countries, with support from over 250 religious leaders and 125 co-sponsoring organizations representing more than 100 million people! Following the day of action, the GreenFaith International Network created a collection of stories about grassroots actions around the world focused on the 10 Demands. You can download the GreenFaith International multi-faith resource The Time to Act is Now.
Join For the Love of Creation's Faith-in-Action Campaign
For the Love of Creation's faith-in-action campaign mobilizes people across Canada to reduce their household greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and demonstrate support for increased federal climate action by writing letters to key federal Cabinet Ministers on a range of climate justice issues: climate ambition, a just transition, Indigenous rights, and support for the Global South. The campaign runs until October 4, 2021.
Launch of Everyday Advocates
GreenPAC recently launched Every Day Advocates (EDA), a new initiative building a network of Canadians from all regions of the country, across the political spectrum, and supporting them so they can hold our elected officials accountable for the environment. This is a community-led, national movement to drive environmental accountability. This spring, advocates will organize 100+ virtual town halls with MPs. EDA also offers training and tools to support advocacy for the environmental issues that matter. GreenPAC would welcome your organization's involvement. For more information, please contact Eseohe Ojo or visit Every Day Advocates.
Join Our Network
Do you believe that our diverse faith and spiritual communities can be a force for good?
Are you passionate about protecting our environment for future generations?
Do you thrive working in multi-cultural, multi-faith, grass-roots environments?
Do you have a sense of humor about life?
If you answered a strong “Yes!” to all these questions, join our network!
Board Members (2 positions available): FCG is currently seeking two new Board members to join our Board of Directors. Ideal candidates include a Treasurer who appreciates the organic nature of a network with multiple funding streams.
Download the PDF for more information
Network Coordinator: You are an exceptional project manager, detail oriented and flexible.
Download the PDF for more informationExplore Project here