Yeast to Raise the Ambition

Yellow cornflowers with a church in the background

KAIROS Regina invites you on a journey of faith, one that challenges our comfortable lives and changes the very buildings we worship in. On October 15, KAIROS Regina will host a one-day hybrid conference called, “Creation Care in our Places of Prayer: Energy Retrofits and other Faith-based Climate Action.” In the leadup to that session, they will offer six articles to prepare our hearts and minds for the deep transformation that is needed. This fourth article is by Laura Stewart (climate activist), who serves on the Climate Justice Working Group for KAIROS Regina.

Our previous blog posts called on faith communities to be fearless and ambitious in tackling emissions, and shared some successes lighting the way. This week, we look to the little things, remembering how Jesus encouraged people to discover their power through stories of seeds and yeast.

I confess I’m wary of starting small. Too often, it seems to me, we’ve been offered small steps like recycling or changing lightbulbs to give us hope that we’re on the way to success. But without a vision for the rest of our journey toward drawdown, our energy savings may simply be gobbled up by growth.

And I worry about adding to the confusion between actions to fight climate change, versus actions to survive it. We caulk our leaky windows to burn less fuel and slow climate change, so ecosystems have more time to adapt. But knowing the change is already too fast, we plant pollinator gardens to help bees and butterflies survive. Planting the gardens won’t get the windows caulked.

Or will it?

Peace symbol laid in a garden with bricks

This summer, on Victoria Avenue in downtown Regina, I noticed native plants blooming amongst the proliferation of flowers that fill the narrow yard space of Knox-Metropolitan United Church. I remembered a much smaller flower garden featuring a peace symbol shaped from bricks, and wondered how all this had grown.

“A Peace Garden is just an idea,” says Bob Ivanochko, a member of both Knox-Met and Regina Peace Quest, in a video about the project. Florence Stratton told me the garden grew from collaborations. From Bob’s initial proposal, sparked while Peace Quest Regina used meeting space at the church, to salvaging the peace symbol bricks from a century-old school, to inviting Phil Johnson to join the committee and redesign the garden with a focus on ecology. Today the garden has become a collaboration with the natural world, providing an oasis from which bees and butterflies spread out to pollinate flowers beyond this narrow yard. It is also a place of meeting and relationship-building between the gardeners and passersby who stop to share their gratitude.

The garden’s early purpose was to show that “peace is possible if we work at it.” Through its evolution, the project shows me that if we just get started our work may lead to much more than we imagined.

Of course, we should still beware of partial measures. When taking small steps, we can do them consciously. For example, we can do a deep retrofit in stages, keeping the other stages in mind. Watch for more about this in our sixth blog post. But first, next week, we’ll discuss ways to gather support for your project. One of those ways is to start small.

As I wrote about my wariness and worries, I remembered my favourite bible verse: “Consider the lilies…” So, I say to myself: Plant some small thing. Plant an idea. And do not worry.

Filed in: Ecological Justice, Regional News, Spirited Reflections

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