IMPLEMENTING the Resolution on Climate Change adopted by the 2021 Synod of the Diocese of Ontario


Table of contents:

      1. Clause 2: Climate change, our Baptismal Covenant and the fifth Mark of Mission
      2. Clause 3&4: Reducing a) Personal and b) Parish carbon footprints
      3. Clause 1&6: Climate emergency

A “Resolution on Climate Change” was prepared for the 2021 Synod of the Diocese of Ontario by the Diocesan Green Group, presented by Rev. Dr. Ian Ritchie and approved by the delegates.

The implementation of three of the clauses requires actions by the congregations of individual churches in the Diocese. The material in below was prepared by the Green Group to assist and support the congregations in responding to the three clauses.

Clause 2: Diocese and parishes continue making the Baptismal Covenant and the fifth Mark of Mission a priority in our stewardship

Baptismal Promise and the Fifth Mark of Mission: Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth. – What does this mean?

Creation reflects God's glory: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

Integrity of Creation refers to the completeness of God’s creation as a harmonic and synergistic whole (Psalm 104, Psalm 148, Acts 17:24).

        • The initial step for a soul to come to knowledge of God is contemplation of nature. Irenaeus (120-202)
        • “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20).
        • I saw three properties in the world: the first is that God made it. The second is that God loveth it. The third is that God keepeth it. But what beheld I therein? Verily the Maker, the Keeper, the Lover. Julian of Norwich (1342-1423).
        • By the greatness and the beauty of the creatures, proportionately the Maker of them is seen. Athanasias (297-373).
        • The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God. John of Damascus (675-749).

Sustain and Renew We are mandated by God to be caregivers of the earth, and we honor God by taking care of what he has created.

        • “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15).
        • We give you thanks, most gracious God, for the beauty of the earth and sky and sea; for the richness of mountains, plains and rivers; for the songs of birds and the loveliness of flowers. We praise you for these good gifts and pray that we may safeguard them for our posterity. Grant that we may continue to grow in our grateful enjoyment of your abundant creation, to the honour and glory of your name, now and forever. The Book of Common Prayer (1549).
        • If I am to be in right relationship with God, I should treat the things He has made in the same way He treats them (Francis Schaeffer,1912-1984). 
        • The same God who commanded us to love one another also commands us to work and take care of the garden. Here, humans find that God has delegated them authority and responsibility to protect and preserve what we do not own, what belongs to God. God did not abdicate ownership. Rather, God appointed a steward, a caretaker. Justice demands that the steward faithfully execute the assigned responsibility. George D McKinney, Jr (1931-).

Technology and science have given those people who have the knowledge, and especially the economic resources to use them, an impressive dominance over the whole of humanity and the entire world. Never has humanity had such power over itself, yet nothing ensures that it will be used wisely, particularly when we consider how it is currently being used (Laudato Si). However, our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience. It is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit. The economy accepts every advance in technology with a view to profit, without concern for its potentially negative impact on human beings`or the environment. 

We must change our view on the environment and our role in it, on our relationship with all living creatures, and on the role and use of technology in our lives.

Challenge: How can we become better stewards of Creation? 

The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it (TED talk by a Christian and climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe:

10 Simple ways to be a “steward of the Earth”:

Sources for more information:

A Biblical Case For Climate Care (a Green Group webinar by Rev. Dr. William Morrow):

Living in reconciliation with Creation (inspiring sermon by Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat):

Christians and Climate Change (a talk by a Christian and climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe)

Laudato Si: an encyclical letter by Pope Francis:

Stewardship of Creation (Bible-based analysis of human responsibility to care for the Earth):

The Green Bible:


Clause 3: Urges every Anglican in our diocese to reduce their personal carbon footprint

Clause 4: Parishes to reduce their carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 over 2018 levels and to report annually to Synod Council on progress being made

"Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate (high confidence).

Climate-related risks for natural and human systems are higher for global warming of 1.5°C than at present, but lower than at 2°C (high confidence)…

Climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5°C and increase further with 2°C…

Populations at disproportionately higher risk of adverse consequences with global warming of 1.5°C and beyond include disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, some indigenous peoples, and local communities dependent on agricultural or coastal livelihoods (high confidence)…

Any increase in global warming is projected to affect human health, with primarily negative consequences (high confidence)…”

(Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2019) 

The Earth is kept warm because of the presence of atmosphere. It contains some gases that trap the infrared radiation (arrow 3 in the Diagram A below) that is released by the surface (arrow 2). They are called GreenHouse Gases (GHGs) because they act just like a greenhouse, trapping the released heat. Over time, the increased energy in the atmosphere heats up both land (relatively fast) and oceans (more slowly) until an energy equilibrium is reached in each. It also causes more extreme behaviour of the atmosphere including high winds, unusually high rainfalls, very cold air masses etc.

The main GHG of concern is carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossils fuels (oil, coal, propane). Increases in methane production (by cattle, pipelines and leaks from oil wells, melting permafrost, etc.) are also a significant contributor. Diagram B illustrates other existing sources. High and continuing emissions increase the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere where they stay for a very long time (300-1000 years in case of carbon dioxide).

Challenge: Eliminate or minimize the amount of GHGs produced through our church and at-home activities

The main activities producing carbon emissions in our lives are heating and transportation. At the present, Canadians are among the highest per-capita polluters in the world and so the challenge is significant. Technology and personal resolve to make a difference, along with changes in lifestyle habits, are the main avenues for action. Technologically, using electricity where possible is the most effective pursuit. This is especially desirable in Ontario where electrical energy is ‘clean’ (not producing greenhouse gases) thanks to actions of previous provincial governments. 

In case of transportation, the most effective means is public transportation. Regretfully, introduction of cars for personal transport a century ago has led to gradual deterioration of public transportation, and rebuilding the system will entail much effort. Although reintroduction of public transportation is still the ultimate solution, this will take time and government support, the latter depending on people voting for proactive governments that take on this challenge. In the meantime and in situations where public transportation is not a practical solution, the use of fully electric (preferably) or hybrid (electric/gas) cars is presently the best available technology. CARPOOLING, REDUCE SPEED LIMIT, ELECTRIC BICYCLES,..

Regarding the heating of buildings in winter, electricity is again the most effective way to eliminate greenhouse gases. It can be converted into heat directly (through  electrical heaters, infrared heaters, electrical furnaces), or to operate heat pumps that extract energy from the air outside and transport it indoors. The effectiveness of heat pumps in cold climates has been an issue for many years because the key factor is the ability to extract heat from cold air. However, the performance has been improving in recent years, and current models can extract heat from air as cold as -35C (minus 31F). – Next to changing the heating method, minimizing loss of heat through improved insulation and controlled ventilation are the most effective ways of indoor energy management.

As illustrated in this video by 'Just Have a Think', When it comes to climate change, the majority of us think we're personally doing our bit, but that we're being let down by everyone else, including our own neighbours. That's just one of the findings of a new survey conducted across nine western nations in November. So, what else does the survey tell us, and what conclusions can we draw?

Suggestions for action

        • Write to the local news media and tell the story about the Anglican church’s resolution and how your church will respond.
        • Tell friends and people you know about our Anglican commitment to reduce by 50%; and tell about our personal actions to date and our plans going forward to meet this commitment.
        • Find out the amount of fossil fuels used in your home and travel, and record this before taking the next step: then develop a multi-year plan to reduce these by 50%. 
        • What are other churches doing about global heating:

Suggestions for more information:

How an Alberta church became a net zero solar powered church and more: 

A guide for reducing energy consumption:

How to reduce my carbon footprint:

10 ways to reduce your carbon footprint:

The 35 easiest ways to reduce your Carbon Footprint:

What we can do:

15 essential reads for the climate crisis and solutions:

Dispelling myths about electric cars:

Clause 1: Recognizes, on behalf of the parishes of the Diocese of Ontario, that there is a growing global climate emergency.

Clause 6: Collaborate with other partners to strengthen our voice on the climate emergency

Alarmed by the increasingly frequent environmental disasters (floods, forest fires, landslides,..) and by the growing evidence of climate heating, many organizations (religious and civic; international, national, local), numerous countries and individuals have declared ‘climate emergency’. 

Declaration of climate emergency serves to accelerate action on reducing carbon emissions. It helps to publicize, inform and persuade governments, decision makers and individuals about the dangers that lack of action has led to worsening climate conditions; and that continuing inaction will have devastating effects on our lives and the lives of our children.  

The first climate emergency declaration was  made in December 2016. By the end of 2021, at least 23 national governments, 28 countries of the European Union, and 1,900 local governments have made climate emergency declarations. Populations covered by jurisdictions that have declared a climate emergency cover over 1 billion citizens (Wikipedia).

Declaration of climate emergency is only one, and largely symbolic, step in actions that will result in low greenhouse gas emissions and in reduce dangers of climate change. Its impact will have an effect only after programs and actions implemented by governments, companies and individuals reduce their

carbon emissions. Nevertheless, it is a powerful tool in that respect and a positive step in developing comprehensive response to this threat.

Challenge: Achieve a state where everyone in the diocese (and beyond where possible) advocates action on climate emergency. 

Suggestions for action 

        • Make a habit of engaging people in conversation about climate issues and prepare by writing some elevator speeches on various topics, such as solar panels, heat pumps, a veggie meal you enjoyed. Read a climate care book, recommend it to others and pass it on
        • Write to your political representatives about the urgency of action on climate heating

Federal and Provincial leaders

Prime Minister of Canada:
Justin Trudeau  

Minister of Environment and Climate Change:
Steven Guilbeault

Premier of Ontario:
Doug Ford doug

Ontario Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks:
David Piccini 

Members of the Parliament of Canada representing Diocese of Ontario ridings

Hastings – Lennox and Addington:
Shelby Kramp-Neuman

Leeds-Grenville -Thousand Islands:
Michael Barrett

Prescott- Russell:
Francis Drouin

Kingston and the Islands:
Mark Gerretsen

Bay of Quinte:
Ryan Williams

Scott Reid

Members of the Provincial Parliament representing the Diocese of Ontario ridings

Kingston and the Islands:
Ian Arthur

Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes:
Steve Clark 

Randy Hillier

Hastings-Lennox and Addington:
Daryl Cramp

Amanda Simard

Bay of Quinte:
Todd Smith

        • Respond to online petitions.

Suggestions for more information: 

Facts about the climate emergency: United Nations Environment Program 

We are living in a climate emergency… 

Canada declares climate emergency 

Kingston: So, your municipal council has declared a climate emergency. Now what? 

World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency:

Resolution on Climate Change
Synod 2021 - Diocese of Ontario

This Synod of the Diocese of Ontario:

      1. Recognizes, on behalf of the parishes of the Diocese of Ontario, that there is a global climate emergency.
      2. Encourages the diocese and its parishes to continue making the Baptismal Covenant and the fifth Mark of Mission a priority in our stewardship.
      3. Urges every Anglican in the diocese to reduce their personal carbon footprint.
      4. Requests parishes to continue the development and implementation of action plans including reducing their carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 over 2018 levels and to report annually to Synod Council on progress being made.
      5. Directs Synod Council to recognize the climate emergency as a strategic priority in program development and budgeting.
      6. Seeks to collaborate with other partners to strengthen our voice on the climate emergency.
      7. Requests the Green Group to organize education opportunities about the climate emergency throughout the Diocese.