CREATION OF THE INTERFAITH CLIMATE ACTION COMMITTEE
We are pleased to announce the creation on February 8 of the Interfaith Climate Action Committee (ICAC) of Religions for Peace - Quebec, which David Millar (Society of Friends, Quakers) and I, Pascale Frémond, will coordinate.
The ICAC's mission is to coordinate the concrete actions of the various faith communities in Quebec who would like to work together for earthcare and ecojustice in our province, basically an information network. We hope to work mainly by email and Slack, with as little travel as possible. For face-to-face meetings we can use https://whereby.com/fcu, a teleconference app that requires no downloads, just click and talk.
A few weeks into the Covid-19 pandemic, the media and the public are seeing startling changes: massive social distancing under threat of disease and death had huge positive effects on the environment: with industry halted in the rich countries and needless travel halted, the skies and waters cleared, pollution dropped and animals are reappearing in places usually invaded by humans. Now no one can deny human responsibility for the climate chaos. The virus forced us to consider profound changes that were not thought possible before, despite years of pleading by environmentalists: developing local agriculture and industry, teleworking where possible, international videoconferencing instead of air travel... Now no one can deny that in times of emergency and danger to our lives, we can do without non-essentials and return to a simpler and more meaningful life, relearning to have time for our loved ones, and putting the common good first. What the virus has forced us to do, shows how we can deal with the long emergency of climate change – slower, its risks less apparent but in the near future far greater – the danger, we now realize, of the disappearance of civilization as we know it. The question facing our faith communities in Quebec is: how can we transform these temporary benefits into permanent ones?
You will find our drafts of guides for Quebec youth groups, in both French and English, at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7ttroce69ytsb57/AAB-pu9Zd-R7e0Uk11-iJXEEa?dl=0 – just click to view or download. Feel free to use these resources. They include specific materials from various faith groups. Do you have suggestions for improvements?
As a first step, we ask you, when receiving this letter, to consider a person from your faith community, particularly concerned about climate emergency, who could be your representative in the ICAC network. If such a person exists in your faith community, we would be grateful if you could put us in touch with him/her by email, so that we can establish a working relationship with him/her.
The second step will be an initial meeting of the various recommended resource persons, with the aim of getting to know each other and sharing experiences. Each person will be asked for their suggestions for possible climate action, after which the group as a whole will choose priorities and a schedule for action (with appropriate time to prepare). Such group meetings will be kept to a strict minimum, with people volunteering to take specific responsibilities, follow up and report to all via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As its name indicates, the ICAC is intended as a network for coordinated action. While there will be a place for short prayers, personal opinions and spiritual reflection, we expect to focus on specific actions we can take together that will have a real impact in Quebec.
We have already contacted the "La Planète s'invite au Parlement" movement, coordinator of the Montreal Climate Marches. We will work closely with LPSP and other civil society organizations wishing to take significant climate action. This will avoid needless duplication of committee time and materials.
We hope for a favourable reply from your faith community, with a contact name.
Pascale Frémond and David Millar
President and Quaker member of the Board of Religions for Peace – Quebec
Coordinators of the Interfaith Committee for Climate Action