What has been occupying my thoughts this week is Earth Day, April 22. Although I think it is admirable to sit in the dark for one hour on the last Saturday in March every year, and I appreciate the symbolism, (it’s actually fun to invite friends over for wine and conversation by candlelight) I have to confess it feels a little . . . well, inadequate.
I wondered if there would be more inspiration on the Earth Day website Earth Day 2022 Action Toolkit - Earth Day and sure enough this year’s theme, “Invest in Our Planet,” was motivating. I believe that as middle-class and upper middle-class Canadians, how we invest our money can be instruments of transformation. There are more green investments available than ever before. When I was a member, of the then, BC Conference (now Pacific Mountain Region), we made the decision to divest our considerable reserves from any companies connected to the Fossil Fuel Industry. And surprisingly (maybe just for me) we continued to make a good return on our investments. It is not just our personal investments we need to monitor, but also our Mutual Funds, our Pension Funds and the companies we do business with. Changing hearts is the first step to climate change. How we spend our financial resources is the second step.
I also wonder what actions we can take to alleviate the suffering brought on by Global Warming? The CBC was reporting one morning on how, as devastating as fires, floods and other environmental disasters are, there really are very few lives lost. It is the heat that causes loss of human life. In last summer’s heat wave, there were 808 heat related deaths just in BC alone.
Heat hits those who are marginalized the hardest – street people, elderly, those with chronic health conditions—really the sick, poor and aged who cannot afford air conditioning. We need to be aware of those in our circle of influence who might be experiencing heat stress and try to make sure they have enough fluids, fans, and are moved to a cooler location if possible. Wouldn’t it be cool (yes, pun intended) if churches with A/C had afternoon programming for seniors during the heat of the day so they could come to a cool building, have a cold drink, build community and engage in meaningful activities? It has always been tough for seniors on fixed income to enjoy many of those things we take for granted, but it will be even more difficult in the days to come as we face a time of inflation.
So, this Earth Day, while enjoying a beverage in the dark, we might consider ways we can slow down Global Warming and help those who are already feeling its effects. Consider cutting down on our own fossil fuel consumption, review our investments including pensions, planting a tree, helping someone who is struggling.
As I write this, forest fires have already begun in California and it promises to be another hot summer on the Pacific West Coast and across the North American Prairies. What we do really does matter! Each action we take is a piece of the whole and together we will transform the world.