By Joanna Reesor-McDowell
Special to Canadian Mennonite
The adult Sunday school class at Warden
Woods Mennonite Church devoted a
year to studying issues related to climate
change, a process that culminated in a
passionate letter to Prime Minister Stephen
Harper, calling on him to go beyond
the Kyoto Protocol to address “one of the
greatest moral challenges of our time.”
Dale Hildebrand, co-teacher of the class,
says that after studying the theological basis
for caring for creation, the group agreed
that these issues are an “integral part of
faith” and they asked themselves, “What
is God calling us to do?”
Before looking at what action is needed
from Canada’s political leaders, church
members did their own homework by
turning a critical eye on their own lifestyles.
Some of the changes that individuals and
families committed to include:
• Reducing car and air travel.
• Improving energy efficiency in homes.
• Purchasing energy from more environmentally
friendly power sources.
• Eating more locally produced foods.
• Reducing consumerism in general.
In its letter to the Prime Minister, the
group shared that while living a simpler
lifestyle “may mean some sacrifices, there
is also a joy to be found in leaving behind
the frenetic pace of life that often accompanies
the high-speed, high-consumption
lifestyle that has come to characterize many
In the letter, the congregation also linked
concern about the environment with justice
issues and caring for the poor in our
world. It made the case that environmental
changes appear to have the greatest immediate
impact on vulnerable groups such
as Aboriginal Peoples and those in sub-
Saharan Africa.
Hildebrand reports that there was a “standard
response” from the Prime Minister’s
Office. l