July 2, 2020
Environmental Racism – When #Blacklives Don’t Matter
Eleven Archbishops** and sixty bishops have signed a Statement by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network on Environmental Racism – When #Blacklives don’t matter. **Including our Primate of Canada Linda Nicholls
Black lives are disproportionately affected by police brutality; COVID-19 sweeps through crowded vulnerable communities unable to socially distance; toxic dump sites are placed next to poor communities of Black people; indigenous people are forced off their land.
The world is slow to respond to climate change, hanging on to an increasingly precarious and unjust economic system. It is predominantly Black lives that are being impacted by drought, flooding, storms and sea level rise. The delayed global response to climate injustice gives the impression that #blacklivesdontmatter. Without urgent action Black lives will continue to be the most impacted, being dispossessed from their lands and becoming climate refugees.
The Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN) calls attention to environmental racism. We issue this urgent statement today, June 19 2020, a day known as Juneteenth in the United States, marking and remembering the official end of slavery in that country in 1865.
We call attention in particular to the impact of environmental racism on indigenous peoples decimated by the effects of colonization. Tribes of people were enslaved, and annihilated by harsh conditions and by diseases for which they had no immunity in the first decades of colonization. Unjust economic structures and extractive industries subject indigenous peoples and traditional Black communities to forced, violent removal from lands with which they have been integrally connected for centuries.
ACEN also witnesses the growing and alarming rise in the number of people becoming refugees due to climate change. It is estimated that there are 40 million climate refugees in the world today, and by 2050 that number could reach one billion. Communities are being forced from their traditional lands. Even in the midst of the wealthiest countries Black people bear the brunt of environmental racism. Dumpsites for toxic chemicals are situated near poorer Black communities. These communities become food deserts- lacking both access to nutritious food and safe water.
June 19, 2020 Statement
As the Anglican Communion Environmental Network we commit to:
Listening to voices of indigenous people.
Recognising and challenging white privilege in society and the Church.
Recognising the colonial past of the Anglican Communion, its ongoing Euro-centric values and the dominance of English.
Identifying the need for further study and active listening around issues of racism.
Recognising and challenging theological ideologies and social norms that perpetuate racism
Acting in solidarity with vulnerable populations experiencing eco-injustice by actions such as: advocacy for policy change at national and regional levels; nonviolent protest; boycotts.
Acting as a mediator between indigenous people and farmers or extractive industries, understanding the legal frameworks involved.
(Sunday Prayers Service of Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva (English), Terry MacArthur and team)
God of love and peace,
God of justice and fire,
when the orders are carried out with bullets and bullies,
hear those who shout, “I can’t breathe.”
When a loving embrace twists into violence of rape, hear those who cry “I can’t breathe”
In the midst of corporate control and the conspiracy of lies, we are choking in poverty and plead, I can’t breathe.”
As a virus raids a slum and insidiously tracks a migrant camp,
have mercy on those caught who cough and struggle, “I can’t breathe.”
As the cars return and the airlines receive huge government subsidies,
listen to the earth gasping, “I can’t breathe.”
The waters rise, God of sea and sky, but dominions do not rest from their wrecking power.
Heed the world as it cries, “I can’t breathe.”
When we continue to inhale and exhale
as if the suffocation did not matter,
as if our breathing were somehow separate from the struggles of others for air,
align our lives with our prayer.
Forgive us all that does not honour your love,
all that does not live gratefully from the gift of your grace,
all that restricts the communion that your Spirit extends far and wide.
Alongside all those who can’t breathe,
We seek the fresh wind over the chaos of our lives,
setting us free, setting all your people free
to breathe, through Jesus Christ. #Amen
This article consists of excerpts from a release by the Anglican Church of Canada Update of June 29, 2020. Should you want the complete story with a list of signatories, please click on the following link.
Submitted by Bill Fraser
The articles published in the Dispatch represent the opinions of the author, and should not be assumed to express the authorized teachings of the parish, the diocese, or the Anglican Church of Canada.
St. Martin's Dispatch
June 3, 2020
THE COSMOS AND LITTLE ME
I watched a part of a Nova program on PBS lately and mention was made of a star which is 1.5 billion light years away. This set me to thinking, in a small kind of way. The fact that this star is 1.5 billion light years away means that the light we are seeing now left the star 1.5 billion years ago and is just getting to us now. What is happening to or at the star now? We will know this in 1.5 billion years from now, should any of us be around to observe it.
Light moves awfully fast, at 300,000 kilometers a second. To get some idea of how fast this is, the earth’s circumference is 40,000 kilometers. Walking at a reasonable pace we cover about 5 kilometers an hour, so we would need 8,000 hours, or almost eleven months, of non-stop walking to go once around the earth, but light does it in 0.133 seconds.
So, if a light year is the distance over which light travels in one year, how far is that? This can be calculated:
300,000 km per second x 60 seconds per minute x 60 minutes per hour x 24 hours per day x 365 days per year = 9,460,000,000,000 kilometers. It takes your breath away.
If a star is 1.5 billion light years away, the distance of the star from the earth, at the time the light left the star, was 9,460,000,000,000 x 1.5 billion = 14,200,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilometers
Then, if you began walking towards the star today, at 5 kilometers per hour, it would take you .... No! No! No! The answer is even more crazy than the 1.5 billion light years.
The earth is a small planet of a smallish star in a galaxy which is estimated to have 100 to 400 billion stars, and some galaxies have 1,000 times more stars than the Milky Way, our galaxy. To make things even worse, someone has figured out that there is far more matter in the universe which we are unable to see (dark matter), than the matter in the stars, which we are able to see.
If this is not enough to make us feel insignificant, the earth weighs about
80,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times what an average human weighs and the sun weighs 330,000 times more than the earth, and we already know that the number of other “suns” is, well, just astronomical.
It almost hurts to think about these things. And the information here is an awfully tiny portion of the staggering, amazing information being gathered in all sorts of corners, if corners do exist, in the universe.
A Psalmist of long ago wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Ps. 19:1)
But a Psalmist also wrote, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps. 8:4)
Finally, in the Book of Job after many chapters of discussion between Job and his “comforters”, in which Job is puzzled about being tormented in spite of his virtuous life, God speaks out of the whirlwind and does so for several long chapters. God does not explain to Job why he has been tormented but presents a litany of examples of the mysteries of God’s creation, which Job is clueless about. Job is made to understand if he does not understand God’s creation, why should Job expect to understand God’s ways? Now that we realize that creation is far more complex than had been realized when the book was written, God could go much farther in the catalog of mysteries and wonders which we might understand at some level but which ought to provoke awe and confusion.
Submitted by Leon Baltas