What Can Christians Do to Protect the Environment?

1. Set up a study group on ecology in your church. As a beginning, share this pastoral letter with interested people and develop a process of reflection leading to action. Or, as another option, reflect on the watershed in which you live, and read the pastoral letter of the Canadian/American bishops, The Columbia River Watershed: Caring for Creation and the Common Good. See http://www.columbiariver.org/index1.html.

2. Engage in actions designed to minimize your ecological footprint. Some groups have begun to practice the 5Rs: reverence, reduce, repair, reuse and recycle, at home, in the garden, while shopping, as well as at church. For a wide range of practical ideas, refer to the guide prepared by the Ecology and Theology Working Group of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, October 2002, Renewing our Relationship with the Earth: A Guide to What you and your Church can do. In particular, Appendix A lists “The Twenty Most Important Things to Do.” Would your parish/diocese engage in a similar project or consider acting on some of these 20 options? See http://www.ottawa.anglican.ca/docs/renewing.pdf.

3. Participate actively in the advocacy campaigns of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, and contribute financially to projects for social and ecological justice. In particular, ensure that your family, parish and school join the campaign to sign the CCODP “Water Declaration.” See www.devp.org.

4. Oppose the bulk export of water from Canada. Join the campaign of the Franciscans of Quebec. For more information: SIAF, 5732 boul. Pie IX, Montréal, Qc H1X 2B9; telephone and fax (514) 722-5700; Office email fisiaf@colba.netm; Sister Danielle Julien: danifmic@colba.net. As well, visit the Blue Planet Project Website: www.blueplanetproject.net

5. Participate in the ecological justice activities of environmental groups. The interfaith organization Faith and the Common Good is encouraging Canadians to take The Nature Challenge proposed by Dr. David Suzuki. Participants commit themselves to do at least three of ten suggested actions during the coming year. Actions cover areas of transportation, food and our homes. See www.davidsuzuki.org.

6. Assess the energy use of your church. Obtain a copy of the Energy Workbook for Religious Buildings and consider energy audits and retrofits for your worship space. See www.kairoscanada.org.

7. Engage your political representatives on the issues of social and ecological justice. Make sure whatever action you take, be it related to local environmental protection, the limiting of climate change, or international cooperation on ecological issues, that your political representatives know about your concern and how you expect them to respond.