For Peter Bush, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, those lines from the children’s hymn Jesus bids us shine sum up why he is committed to tracking his travel carbon emissions and making corresponding contributions to the Climate Fund of Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
“Looking at catastrophic major disasters like Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey, and thinking about what kind of a difference we can actually make, feels completely overwhelming,” he says.
“However, we’re not called to change everything on our own. Our job as Christians is to respond appropriately in the parts of the world where we live.”
Bush notes that participating in the Climate Fund is one solid, concrete action Canadians concerned about the effects of climate change can take to help make a difference.
The Climate Fund allows participants to acknowledge their personal contribution to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change—things like travel, heating and electrical use—by tracking their carbon usage and making a donation toward helping vulnerable people around the world adapt to the effects of climate change.
“We’re living at a time when human beings are leaving a mark on the earth, and on creation,” says Bush. “I think that’s a problem. We’re called to be stewards of creation.”
“Particularly as North Americans, we’re so quick to jump to travel by car or plane,” he adds.
For Bush, tracking his carbon is also a way of remembering people around the world whose lives are affected by a changing climate in ways that aren’t as visible to us here in North America.
“It’s easy to be focused on the immediate needs, on major things like Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey,” he says. “We don’t reflect deeply on the longer-term, though.”
It’s also a way for him to support the work of Presbyterian World Service & Development; the proceeds from this year’s donations to the Climate Fund will go to a project operated by PWS&D through the Foodgrains Bank to help 250 farm families in Guatemala adapt their farming practices to erratic weather conditions and increase their productivity through tree planting, local gardening, and soil productivity management.
Bush recalls visiting a community in Taiwan eight years after a major hurricane, and noting that roads were still washed out, and signs still instructed people to stay away from certain areas due to safety concerns.
“Reducing my impact does impact the rest of the world because we’re so inter-related,” he says.
Bush is hoping he will be joined by other Presbyterians from across Canada.
“I’d like to invite others to come along for the ride,” he says. “I’m hoping there are 100 Presbyterians who will join me.”
“It would be great to not just raise money, but to also form habits and disciplines that shape how we live.”
¬–Amanda Thorsteinsson, Communications Coordinator