The summer of 2023 has flown by, and for many, it was marked by extensive wildfires whose intensity and frequency have been linked to climate change. We need some hope and renewed commitments as we see the impacts of climate change, and in this article you’ll find some people who can help us with those commitments.
The Climate Motivators we told you about back in June have completed their summer work- but not their commitments to climate justice, or their call to further action in the church. Below is a short summary of their work. We’ve removed their contact information for privacy reasons, but you can contact them through justice staff Julie Graham, firstname.lastname@example.org Consider inviting them to visit your community of faith or event! Have a look at their particular areas of interest, and let them come and motivate you and your community of faith, as our church continues to make commitments about
Elijah Kanhai (Eli) is a committed fifteen-year-old who brought his passions for community involvement, education and climate change together. He worked through his community of faith the United Church in Meadowood in the Prairie to Pine Region. To begin, Eli surveyed about 120 United Church members in the surrounding Winnipeg to learn what level of climate awareness and education people had.
This led to him creating a workshop around climate change that let folks learn together, be connected to the earth and feel empowered for political advocacy and individual change. He held the workshop twice, once for the communities of faith surveyed and once as an interfaith event. He hopes to continue holding this workshop for different communities, and has recorded portions to be used for climate change education by the United Church of Canada. On top of this, he has gotten his voice heard politically through meeting with local politicians and city leadership to encourage more work on climate change initiatives.
Tord Mitchell is a high school student who participated in the Youth Forum program for General Council 43 and returned to this new program as a Climate Motivator. He is passionate about bringing good news and opportunities for climate activism to folks in his community in Brandon, working through Knox United Church in the Prairie to Pine region. Tord knows it can be difficult to take action when all we hear is the bad news, so he created posters to share across his community about activism opportunities like tree planting, city cleanups and how to get their voices heard politically. Tord will continue to create posters and share them in his community, and hopes to bring the project to his school.
Anna Ramsey has really enjoyed the political advocacy aspect of the Climate Motivator Program. Anna is passionate about tree planting and its importance to a healthy environment; particularly in the One Million Trees Goal with Trees Winnipeg. She has sent emails to the four political party leaders running in Manitoba’s upcoming provincial election in hopes that the recent loss of trees due to the wildfires will be an election topic.
She has met informally with the NDP leader already. Anna hopes to arrange further meetings with the provincial party leaders in the coming weeks and is planning to continue her advocacy work on tree planting until the election in October. Further, she will be leading the upcoming Brandon Climate Strike in September and will be working with For the Love of Creation to incorporate a multifaith climate strike prayer gathering before the strike.
In August all the Climate Motivators met at Camp Pringle in BC. They were thrilled to be able to host a MP panel for the youth, including MP Heather McPherson (NDP), MP Jenica Atwin (Liberal), MP Mike Morrice (GPC) join them. The aim of the panel was for the youth to feel confident communicating with their elected members of government. This panel seemed to enable a feeling of comfortability from the youth. Many stated that they felt much more likely to reach out when they feel passionate about a topic now that they’ve participated in the panel. Additionally, seeing three of the major parties interact and cooperate in support of a common topic, climate justice, was motivating for the youth.
Letter Writing Campaign/Cranes: While at Camp Pringle in BC the Motivators all wrote letters to their MPs as well as Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault. The letters included the policy position asks from For the Love of Creation and a hand-folded origami crane.
Guest speakers also included these church leaders: Past Moderator Mardi Tindal, Seth Klein, Rev Mitchell Anderson, Lori Neale, HyeRan Kim-Cragg, Adele Halliday, Moderator Carmen Lansdowne, Michael Blair, Amy Crawford, and Faithful Footprints.