Small parish, big action on climate change
By Mags Storey | Tuesday, September 29, 2009
MILFORD, ONSt. Philip's Anglican Church may only have 35 parishionersmost of whom are senior citizensbut the small congregation is taking big steps to change the world.
They have launched a downloadable climate action kit encouraging churches to push Canada's leaders to take a strong stand to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the next United Nations conference in December.
"The clock is ticking," says Josef Cihlar, of the social action committee. "The upcoming meeting in Copenhagen is really critical to redefining the Kyoto Protocol and developing a binding international climate treaty.
"The previous targets set have not been met in many cases. The way things are going now we are on track for irreversibleor what some call 'runaway'climate change. This might be our last chance internationally to make a difference before it's too late.
"I worked for 30 years as a scientist for Natural Resources Canada, first on Earth observation using satellite sensors, then managing the climate change program. After becoming aware of the climate change situation from a scientific perspective, I now look at it as a global citizen.
"This is a way for those who are not scientists, not politicians and not consultantsbut who have to live with the consequencesto have their say."
Past fundraising and awareness events by St. Philip's outreach committee include a public presentation on Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, and a Stephen Lewis evening, raising money for AIDS. The group is also holding an event in October to raise funds for female teachers for girls' schools in Afghanistan.
"My son is in his second tour of active service there," Cihlar says, "so we're using this as an opportunity to support him and his comrades and try to do some good.
"We believe as Christians, and as human beings, it is our responsibility to help others and be good stewards of creation. We are all aware of what a beautiful area we live in and how fortunate and blessed we have been, and we would like to give back in return."