With Earth Day approaching Friday, April 22, the heads of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) are echoing an appeal, made at an international church conference last fall, for urgent action against climate change.
“As we observe Earth Day…we commend to you the Storforsen Appeal,” write Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson and National Anglican Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald in a jointly issued letter.
“The appeal calls on all of us ‘to take brave action and make bold decisions on promoting climate justice.’ It asks us to rededicate ourselves ‘to stand in solidarity and support the peoples in the North, who are now already survivors and leaders in responding to climate change,’ ” the bishops continue.
“We pray for the humility and discipline to use the earth’s resources wisely and responsibly; to take action with care for those who will come after us; and to continue to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth,” the letter concludes.
The Storforsen Appeal was issued jointly by participants in a The Future of the Arctic: the Impact of Climate Change, a conference of church and Indigenous leaders held in northern Sweden last October 5-8.
MacDonald and Johnson, as well as Henriette Thompson, the Anglican Church of Canada’s former director of public witness for social and ecological justice, were among those who attended the conference, organized by the Church of Sweden and the Canadian Council of Churches.
According to the appeal, “climate justice for the Arctic is a spiritual issue, and the power to change comes from spiritual sources.” The appeal refers to concerns many young people in the Arctic have for their future as rising temperatures threaten traditional ways of life. It argues that “the spiritual resources and traditional knowledge of the Indigenous peoples of the Arctic can serve to overcome the climate challenge we are all facing today,” and it cites, as an important guide to political action, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.