With disappointing Government emissions reduction targets emerging from the COP26 UN Climate Conference last week, faith communities around the world are calling on their Governments to lead large-scale reductions to national carbon emissions as the only way to slow the advancing climate disaster.
As part of their commitment to care for Creation and to care for their global neighbours, the Diocese of Wellington is calling on Anglicans around the motu to speak up on how they want their country to move towards a reduced emissions economy over the next 15 years.
Up until 23 November, the New Zealand Government is calling for submissions on their Emissions Reduction Plan which will lead on practical ways for Aotearoa New Zealand to cut down on large-scale carbon emissions through reforms in sectors such as the transport, energy and construction industries.
The Government’s Climate Commission has already identified ‘big picture’ zones where Aotearoa could significantly cut carbon emissions. These include:
- A shift to electric vehicles and banning imports of fossil fuel light vehicles
- Supporting massive increase in walking (25%), cycling (90%) and public transport (120%)
- Achieving 99% renewable energy
- Banning new installations of gas and coal heating
- Diverting organic waste from landfill
- Reducing sheep and cattle numbers by 15%*
- Planting 25,000 hectares of native forest each year between 2031-2035
Wellington’s Bishop Justin Duckworth and Bishop Eleanor Sanderson have called on every church in their diocese to set aside time during this week or after church on Sunday 21 November, to help congregations make their voices heard on the Emissions Reduction Plan.
With 200 submissions already in, the Diocese of Wellington is encouraging as many other Anglican churches around the motu who can to join them in the action.
Also important, says Diocese of Wellington’s Advocacy Enabler Kate Day, is the need to remind Government that changes must happen in a way that protects people whose livelihoods depend on the status quo.
She says submitters may want to make it clear that both retraining for people working in carbon-heavy industries and investment in viable alternative industries should be part of the way ahead.
“Change will only come when we all raise our voices for the big changes to cut our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions – and we want everyone to benefit from that better future together.” says Kate.
“Individual and regional actions are great, but only together can we make a big noise to let the Government know we mean business and we want changes that are good for both the planet and for people.”
Wellington’s climate action team are recommending that churches who want to have their say should bring in extra laptops to church or other events at church this week, as well as providing printable paper submission forms (see links below) that will make it easy for children, young people and adults in their communities to email their scanned paper submissions to Kate Day or complete online submissions before the 23 November deadline.
“The best way to help Anglicans to take part in this very important action is to make it part of a normal weekly service or parish activity.” says Kate Day.
“That gives people the best chance to share their ideas on the spot – rather than taking something away and forgetting to follow through.”
Submissions on paper, including children’s artworks and ideas, can be scanned or photographed and sent as digital files to Kate Day at: firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in the Anglican collection of submissions.
All submissions, including from children, need to include the submitter’s full name and list their region of New Zealand in order to be counted.
To find paper forms to download in PDF and print, you can go to the Diocese of Wellington’s Climate Mission page. There you will also find more information on how to make a more comprehensive submission if you wish.
Another resource that can help churches explain the connection between faith and the environment to children, is a helpful ten-week Sunday school course on Care for Creation from Strandz’ Tikanga Pākehā ministry team which has individual lessons to draw on for Sunday school or youth groups.
* Emissions Reduction Plan submitters are not being asked to directly address policies to reduce agricultural emissions. Those are being looked at in a separate climate action partnership process, ’He waka eke noa’ that gathers in key stakeholders in the primary sector.