From Vancouver to Madrid: a timeline of my journey to COP25

Monica Tang will be blogging about her time at the UN COP25 climate summit in Madrid.

Monica Tang will be participating in the Christian Climate Observers Program at the UN COP25 climate summit in Madrid, Spain, December 1 – 14. 

Following is a November 21 entry from her blog which explains why she is participating.

My own climate journey of following global climate change efforts began over 10 years ago. It is a dream come true to finally participate in a UN Climate conference in person.

2005: It was an undergraduate global politics class in fall 2005, and one specific session on global environmental issues where I learned about the Kyoto Protocol and the efforts to combat carbon pollution and global warming.

Up until that point I mostly thought about local creation care issues as disparate from one another – such as plastic pollution and restoring salmon runs in the Burrard Inlet near where I grew up, following endangered species listings or thinking about improving public transportation and campus planning to address air pollution.

I tackled creation care issues one at a time, and I focused on individual actions – such as participating in shoreline cleanups, volunteering at the salmon hatchery and driving less.

As I learned more about the causes and impacts of climate change, I realized how far-reaching and wide-ranging it was. Climate change would impact my beloved Burrard Inlet, my university campus, the city I call home and my country of Canada, not to mention my family and friends around in the world.

2009: I was studying for a Master’s degree in Ottawa and participated in my first climate civic march with 350.org. The focus of the campaign was photo documenting climate impacts in our country. Our local chapter marched in downtown Ottawa and took a group picture near Rideau Canal with our skates and winter gear. We were drawing attention to the impacts of climate-change induced warmer winters on a beloved Ottawan festival called Winterlude.

As campaign pictures from around the world came into our news feeds, I saw with a heaviness in my heart that the stakes in small island developing countries were much higher than warmer winters and melting ice rinks and ice sculptures. That winter, on the eve of the signing of the UN Copenhagen Accord, I recall praying and interceding that all countries would commit to legally binding carbon emissions reduction targets.

2011: During my Transatlantic fellowship in Berlin, Germany, I enrolled in a class called Klimarollenspiel – Global Climate Negotiations simulations. My seminar classmates and I each role-played a country and spent the semester researching our country’s environmental and economic profile and climate change positions, while preparing for a three-day “mock UN” conference.

Our professor worked for the German Ministry of the Environment and was interested in our deliberations, and was eager to test out his hypotheses by injecting proposals into our deliberations to see how we would respond. That class gave me a taste for the complexities of international cooperation on climate change.

2013 to present day: Over the past six years, I’ve been mobilizing with other Christians in Canada to raise awareness about creation care and climate change. Our west-coast-based ecumenical climate action group, Earthkeepers: Christians for Climate Justice focuses on education, prayer, and civic action.

We’ve occasionally joined efforts with national advocacy campaigns led by Christians, such as Citizens for Public Justice’s “Give It Up for the Earth” Lent campaigns to encourage simplifying lifestyles and decreasing our carbon footprints. However, we remain focused on local issues to highlight the importance of local climate action.

Over the years, I haven’t lost track of the importance of global efforts, which is why I am honoured to be participating in the Christian Climate Observers Program. Climate change is a complex global problem that requires everyone and I believe it is beyond time for Christians to step into this space, to pray, act and to lead. During the conference, I will be updating periodically on the blog. I have been researching and identifying side-events of interests, and will likely attend sessions on adaptation and nature-based solutions, in keeping with the spirit of my creation-care-advocacy origins.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “The time is always right to do what is right.” It’s never too late to start learning about climate change, nor to pray, nor to take action.

One of my hopes for participating in UN COP25 is that it will help me become more effective in broadly communicating that message.

Monica Tang (Tenth Church) and Samuel Chiu (A Rocha International) are the two Vancouver CCOP delegates; others connected with the World Council of Church and Catholic Development and Peace from eastern Canada will also be participating.

To follow Monica’s blog go here.

She sent out these requests for prayer and guides to action in a recent email:

Prayer 

1. Please continue to pray for divine appointments, so that our CCOP delegation will have opportunities to meet with the Canadian, American, Argentinian and Chilean delegations. Please pray for opportunities to communicate the Christian faith-based perspective on why national ambitious targets and plans matters to our respective countries’ delegations.

2. Please pray for a meeting being planned between the US Climate Action Network and a high-level US congressional delegation in the first week (likely Dec. 2 – 4), and for our American CCOP colleagues who are participating in this meeting.  This is an important opportunity for American Christians to communicate the importance of the USA staying inside the Paris Agreement and that Christians support climate action.

Recommended Reading and Activities 

1. Please subscribe to our Christian Climate Observers Program group newsletter here: https://climatecaretakers.us4.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=804df820a2b6bb42a96e4b2ea&id=3aaccfcec4

2. Check out Climate Action Tracker’s assessment and map-out of each country’s targets against the goals of the Paris Agreement here: https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/

3. Find out what your carbon footprint is and check out Climate Stewards’ offset program, which supports tree-planting and water filters in Africa, and clean-cookstoves in Asia and Mexico: https://www.climatestewards.org/offset/

Here are three local events which could be of particular interest to people involved in environmental issues:

* Dec 7: Care of Creation Workshop at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Vancouver

* Dec 7: A Rocha: Christmas Open House, Brooksdale Environmental Centre, Surrey

* Dec 14: Memorial Service for Miranda Harris, Regent College, Vancouver

December 6 post from the WEA site:

In the midst of the COP25 in Madrid, the Spanish Evangelical Alliance, the World Evangelical Alliance and the Lausanne Creation Care network have organized the forum “Climate change, COP25 and challenges for our churches.”

They have invited “the evangelical churches of Spain, its members and youth groups” to a meeting on Saturday, December 7 which aims “to provide a theological basis regarding creation care, and give a biblical perspective on the climate crisis and the COP25 in Madrid: why is it important for us as believers, and what do we have to do as a church?”

Go here for the full article.

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