Creation Care Update | December 20, 2016
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The Climate Witness Project Rolls On!

The Climate Witness Project launched in 2015 in response to Synod 2012’s call to action on climate change and in preparation for and in support of the Paris COP 21 meetings. A little more than a year later, the project continues to gain momentum. Nearly 300 partners from 36 congregations in the United States and Canada are involved in the Climate Witness Project and have endorsed the CRC’s call to action, received communications, and intend to take action on climate change.

Check out some of the exciting things happening in our Climate Witness Project (CWP) congregations:

  • In New Mexico, six congregations are now upgrading to LED bulbs to reduce their carbon footprints, and, as a result, are saving money for other pressing mission activities.
  • In Michigan the number of congregations involved in the project has increased from four to 13, with ongoing conversations actively taking place with a dozen more churches. The screening of the National Geographic documentary Before the Flood, cosponsored by CWP teams from West Michigan congregations, attracted some 400 viewers! The experience was eye-opening to many, generating even more interest in the Climate Witness Project and addressing climate change in general.
  • Hope CRC in Oak Forest, Ill., received Energy Star certification, and Church of the Servant CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich., is expected to follow suit in January.

Churches are finding their individual focus within the framework provided by the project through energy stewardship, education/worship, and advocacy. Climate change is the defining issue of our generation as it threatens our kids, our grandkids, and the world’s most vulnerable populations. Uncertainty generated by the recent U.S. presidential election is spurring greater commitment among church members. CWP partners want to protect and restore creation by making sure the United States and Canada are committed to the Paris Agreement and to working toward the goals the world set in Paris last year.

Congregations Reduce Energy Budgets

Lighting is typically the largest single item in a congregation’s electricity budget. The good news is that technological advances continue to provide ever-greater efficiencies. For example, did you know that you can now replace old fashioned T8 Fluorescent tubes with LED tubes, cutting the annual operating cost in half from $84 to $37, per fixture? Dr. Henry Brouwer, emeritus professor of chemistry from Redeemer College and a Climate Witness Project regional organizer from the Hamilton, Ont., area, has authored a guide for congregations who want to reduce their utility bills while shrinking their carbon footprints. The guide will be sent to all CRC congregations in the U.S. and Canada in January. We'll also be posting it on the CWP website, so watch for it! It provides over a dozen ideas for congregations that want to spend less money on utility bills and more on their missions.

Pipelines in Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the expansion of a pipeline linking the oil sands in Alberta to a tanker port in British Columbia. The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project will increase the capacity of the pipeline to 890,000 barrels a day from 300,000 and will expand the tanker port. There have been several protests against the project, particularly in Vancouver from environmentalists and Indigenous groups. In contrast, Trudeau rejected a proposal for the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline that was planned to link oil sands to the northern coast of British Columbia, citing indigenous and environmental concerns. Our friends at CPJ released a statement on this recent pipeline news.

Flickr user jasonwoodhead23

COP 22

COP 22 took place Nov. 7-18 in Marrakech, Morocco. The meetings focused on ensuring countries sign legislation that would make the Paris Agreement's objectives possible. Over 40 countries vulnerable to climate change have agreed to use only renewable energy by 2050. In addition, the Marrakech Vision was adopted by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, which states, “We aim to survive and thrive in a world where, as soon as possible and at the latest by 2030 to 2050, the dangers of climate change are kept to an absolute minimum.”

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