The Ripple Effect

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By on January 19, 2022

On October 30, when Synod passed Climate Justice Niagara’s motion, a journey began to reduce our diocesan carbon footprint. We thank Synod delegates for acknowledging that the time is right to act. You will be hearing more from your clergy and corporation on what steps will be taken in each of your parishes. Our committee is here to help everyone achieve the best outcome.

Motion 7 – Parish Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plans:

‘that Synod mandate Climate Justice Niagara to assist and resource parishes to complete a walk-through Energy Audit of their church buildings by the end of 2022; 

and that wardens and clergy use the audit to create a five-year parish plan to reach a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of at least ten percent (10%) by 2024;

and that all parishes be encouraged to publicize their efforts as a Christian witness to the community at large and means of demonstrating our deep and abiding commitment addressing the climate crisis.’

First, a walk-through energy audit means checking every room for ways to reduce carbon emissions. This will involve looking at things such as the HVAC system, insulation, kitchen appliances, office equipment and lighting.  Also needed will be someone to monitor the unit amounts of hydro, gas and water used each month to establish a baseline of energy use. Each parish will then create their own unique 5-year plan of action.

You may be asking questions such as: What is an energy audit? Why do we need to do this?  What difference will our actions make?

Second, why do we need to this? As stewards of creation, the actions that we take will be noticed in the communities we serve, and our leadership is likely to inspire others to act. I am a great believer in the ripple effect. One stone, however lightly dropped in water, creates ripples. So even a small nudge can make a difference. How we act and what we say may be the gentle push that causes others to make changes in their lives. The outside community members who use our parish buildings will see how as Christians we try to conserve energy so we will act as good witnesses.

Third, will it make a difference? Buildings are responsible for nearly 20 percent of greenhouse sas (GHG) emissions in Canada. One parish’s action may seem a small pebble, but the combined efforts of 85 parishes will be considerable in making waves. If we all learn new energy saving tactics and follow these ideas at home this will help cut overall GHG emissions that our government has recently agreed to do at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference. Education is going to be key, so everyone understands the important role they play.

We appreciate that as parishes re-open there will be many issues you have to deal with; but the three terrible weather experiences in BC last year—a heat dome that killed hundreds of people; fires that destroyed so many homes; and the devastating flooding that affected so many lives—show that acting for the good of our planet is even more urgent.

St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians and said: “As for you, my friends, do not grow weary in doing good (2 Thess 3:13). I hope that acting for the environment does not make you weary, but any positive action that causes a ripple effect to save our planet will a good move.

For more information, contact Sue Carson, chair of Climate Justice Niagara, at [email protected]

  • Sue Carson is the chair of Climate Justice Niagara and a member of St. James, Dundas.

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