Churches must press governments on climate, Green Party MP says

"Now is the time to get very active, very fast in order to save lives" says Green Party leader Elizabeth May about threats to creation. (Image -

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

[Toronto – Canadian Catholic News] – As the world’s scientists once again draw attention to the dire state of a warming planet, it’s time for churches to up their game on climate change, said Member of Parliament and Green Party leader Elizabeth May.

Discussing the sixth United Nations synthesis report on climate change, May is looking for a miracle right now.

“As a Christian myself, I do believe in the power of prayer,” May said. “And I happen to believe the chances of our survival require belief in miracles.”

Without the participation and prodding of faith communities, May is sceptical of governments’ willingness and ability to solve the climate crisis.

“Governments have been spectacularly unsuccessful in responding to the warnings of science,” she said. “We absolutely require churches as well as all parts of society to hold them to account.”

Action on climate change isn’t just a matter of Christians playing their part in a global crisis, said Hilda Koster, Elliott Allen Institute for Theology and Ecology director and St. Michael’s-Regis College theology professor. Action or inaction on climate change is a matter of “Status Confessionis,” she said.

“(It’s) an issue that touches upon the very core of the Christian faith,” Koster wrote in an email to The Catholic Register.

“Theologically, climate change is about our relationship with God as Creator and sustainer of this wondrous planet. Deciding to continue to take part in the destruction of the conditions for the flourishing of life is a decision against God’s creation and, hence, against God.”

In Canada, the Church does have opportunities to act, said Mouvement Laudato Si’ Movement Canada co-ordinator Agnes Richard. With the help of her organization’s Catholic Eco-Investment Accelerator Toolkit, any diocese, Catholic school board or institution can begin to line up its investments with the clear teaching of the Roman magisterium on the environment, she said.
Richard would also like to see parish finance and building committees step up.

“There are so many ways the Church can improve our response to the climate crisis,” she wrote in an email. “We can be more proactive in ensuring our buildings… are as energy efficient as we can possibly make them.”

Dwelling on the negative is no way for a Christian to respond to the IPCC report, said May, who studied theology at Ottawa’s Saint Paul University.

“Right now is not the time to start grieving. Now is the time to get very active, very fast in order to save lives. We can save millions of lives throughout the world if we act now,” she said. “I have a moral obligation to hang onto hope. But it’s hard work. I hang onto Ephesians 3:20. That’s what I hang onto — that God’s power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. If we confine ourselves to what’s possible in the current circumstances, we’re doomed. We must be working with real muscularity to hope.”