Call to Anglicans in Canada for Vision and Action on the Climate Crisis
We, the undersigned, as Canadian Anglicans, call on our primate, bishops, clergy and laity to address climate change as stewards of God’s good creation, required to act justly towards our fellow creatures and to Earth itself.
We are deeply concerned at:
- Increasingly urgent warnings on the need for substantial, swift greenhouse gas emission reductions, warnings issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warnings since 1990 and widely ignored;
- Canada’s being the world’s worst per capita emitter, with increasing emissions flouting its Kyoto Protocol commitment to a 6% reduction from 1990 levels;
- The federal government’s failure to establish targets or a plan of emissions reductions as the scientific consensus indicates, of 25-40% from 1990 levels by 2020, and 80% by 2050, in order to avoid an average global temperature increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius, after which runaway crises can be expected;
- The inadequacy of provincial targets and reduction plans--despite responsible policies in some provinces--given that the harmful effects of global heating are coming faster than anticipated, making deeper, faster reductions necessary;
- Promotion by Canadian tax subsidies of tar sands extraction, the major cause for rising emissions and of massive pollution and water depletion, water itself being a critical environmental issue;
- Failure to recognize that fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource fast being depleted;
- The lack of requirement in our Constitution and other statutes for responsible use and conservation of these valuable one-time riches for future generations;
- Failure to include military operations, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, in reduction planning;
- The substantial and other greenhouse gas emissions from Canadian agricultural practices and other industries;
- Failure to take adequate advantage of well developed knowledge and technology for alternative fuels and for more efficient planning of cities and transportation systems, industrial European countries being more advanced in curbing emissions and committing to serious further reductions;
- Climate-change induced harm to developing countries and the far north in Canada, and the devastation of First Nations’ lands by the tar sands extraction;
We call on Anglicans to work for solutions to the climate crisis. In our liturgy, we confess that “we have sinned against God by what we have done and by what we have left undone,” yet, with blind eye and hardened heart, we do not “love our neighbours as ourselves.” Climate change is the slavery issue of our day: we in the developed world are the oppressors in a system that victimizes the Earth, our neighbours in the global South, and future generations. We fail to act as partners in the Covenant with God to care for this planet, and to live out the transformative love of our resurrection hope.
It’s time for new vision and commitment to a new kind of life, to renewed care of the land on which we live as tenants, to deeper respect for all creatures within the Covenant, for the mountains and hills that sing, the trees and rivers that clap their hands.
We call on the Anglican Church to join with environmental organizations and other faith communities in urging the Government of Canada to make the effective, timely commitment needed. We call on church leaders to take these concerns to all levels of government.
We call on all levels of the church to set an example by making cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in our own operations. We urge routine incorporation of the care of creation and the responsibility for environmental justice in prayers, readings, and sermons.
Who is my neighbour? The command to “love one another” embraces people far away and future generations. The command to stewardship embraces the whole Earth, our island home, and all life dependent on it.
Phyllis Creighton, MA, adjunct faculty, Divinity, Trinity College; Honorary Canon
Joy Kogawa, CM, OBC, LLD (hon), DLitt (hon), DD (hon), author
Diane Marshall, MEd, RMFT, Director, Institute of Family Living, Toronto
Lynn McDonald, PhD, LID (hon), professor emerita, University of Guelph
Or download the form (PDF), print it out, sign it indicating parish and diocese, and mail it to
Cabbagetown Postal Outlet,
PO Box 82811, 467 Parliament St,
Toronto ON M5A 3Y2
We will report both printed and electronic support of the Manifesto to the Primate and Bishops. Pass the Manifesto on to other Anglicans.