Intro to Just Transition Week
This week, Climate Action Month turns to the theme of Just Transition where we will explore what needs to happen to get the Canadian economy to net zero emissions by 2050. A net zero economy is achieved when we can significantly reduce carbon emissions and any remaining emissions are completely offset by actions that remove carbon from the atmosphere, such as planting trees.
This year, the road towards net-zero has been marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has laid bare the interconnectedness of the global economic and ecological crises. A just transition must now occur within the broader context of a green and just post-pandemic recovery.
Just transition is both a process and a vision for how to shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy, in which the needs of those most impacted by the transition are addressed. The process not only involves supporting workers and communities who rely on the income from the fossil fuel industry, it also involves redressing past harms, shifting economic and political power, and upholding Indigenous rights and sovereignty. A just transition is ultimately about transforming our relationship with the Earth and with each other.
This week, we will unpack policies around just transition and pandemic recovery in Canada, look at the challenges of renewable energy, and we’ll share tools for deeper learning.
Before we dive in, we want to take an opportunity today to pause for reflection. This will be our practice every Sunday this month. The road ahead can sometimes feel insurmountable and we may experience feelings of despair, anger, and burnout. Reflection can help us address these feelings and center our actions with love and hope. Today’s resources for reflection focus on the word ‘lament.’
Today’s resource is a reflection from the Rev. Marian Lucas-Jefferies from the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and PEI on her ministry to connect with others during the lockdown this year and address grief through learning and collective action.
Spiritually Connected Through Creation
This past spring, Suzanne and I, co-coordinators of the Diocesan Environment Network (DEN), met with the Board of the Anglican Church Women to discuss how we could support them in living out the church’s 5th Mark of Mission, “To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth”, then rushed down the hall to meet with the bishop to update him on our activities and our “plans” for the next few months.
Those meetings took place March 12. Days later, everyone’s “plans” changed. Humans, as they say, were on a time out and the earth was given a brief period to catch her breath. In the midst of change, especially of the magnitude the pandemic brought, two questions have been raised: 1) when will life return to “normal” and 2) what do we want “normal” to look like.
This “time out” was an opportunity for needed change, a time to begin planning for a “better normal” and a Just Recovery.
And so, in the midst of a lock-down, the ministry of the DEN didn’t slow down. Instead, like everyone else, we had to change “the plan” and adapt to very new circumstances. Thanks to a push from a passionate Christian climate activist, Nancy Blair, from St. Paul’s Church in Halifax, our contribution to a achieving a “better normal” was going to move ahead without skipping a beat.
Nancy is also a psychologist who approaches the issue of climate change from a climate grief or eco despair perspective. To overcome despair, we must take action. We had been well into planning a workshop on the subject when the lock-down was declared. So, like everyone else, the DEN subcommittee moved to “Plan B” and went online.
“Physically distanced – Spirituality connected through Creation” was up and running before Easter.
Heavily influenced by the premise that you have to fall in love with the planet to be able to care for it (“Living Ecological Justice”, by Citizens for Public Justice), the focus changed from eco grief to a broader range of topics intended to motivate, educate and connect people in common cause, caring for the planet.
Hoping to build a stronger bond between us, strengthen the environmental movement and our ability to move into a post pandemic world where we will be kinder to each other and tread more gently on the planet, we have been intentional about profiling our secular brother and sister environmental organizations, drawing from their knowledge as partners and exploring ways we can provide support.
Instead of a more structured workshop or webinar format, “Physically distanced – Spiritually connected through Creation” is more relaxed, more informal, and flexible, depending on the topic. There is no registration, no commitment to attend and everyone is welcome to drop in.
Our gatherings begin with a brief spiritual reflection to ground ourselves spiritually. Our “guest” is invited to help educate us about various topics, from gardening to deforestation to environmental racism, with a significant amount of time allotted to conversation, decision on action and a summary.
After a summer hiatus, we gather on Thursday evenings once again for what will now be known as “Spiritually Connected through Creation” beginning September 10.
These gatherings and the DEN are not restricted to people in the diocese, Anglicans, Christians, or people in the Maritimes. Everyone is welcome. Feel free to join us.
This first Sunday of Climate Action Month, our action is to lament and acknowledge the feelings of grief or despair we may be experiencing because of the pandemic, the climate crisis and more. Below are some resources to support this process.
- Consider using these litanies in a worship service or community gathering:
- Listen to Joanna Macy at the Tatamagouche Centre speak about befriending our despair.