Canadian Mennonite
Volume 12, No. 12
June 9, 2008


High octane living

Tim Miller Dyck


Tim Miller Dyck

I commend to you this issue’s feature on climate change and creation care, where we bring you voices ranging from two Grade 9 Mennonite girls, to one of our church workers in this area, to a Mennonite scientist who was one of the authors of the world’s most authoritative study on climate change published last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Research scientist Henry Janzen describes the science so clearly and understandably, and then goes on to beautifully, and poetically, connect this with our faith. I’m grateful to him for this gift to the wider church.

“Global warming is merely a symptom of deeper ills—a symptom of greed, of injustice, of violence to each other and to our Maker. It is a symptom of our selfishly squandering the gifts of God,” he writes.

The apostle James writes, “Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:1-3).

James describes the same struggle we have as Canadian Mennonites, tempted as we are at every turn to yield to our cravings, to get more, to covet, and spend, spend, spend on our pleasures.

I think Paul Fieguth’s extended series on this subject has shed light on the connections between our actions and the lives of others. There is a direct link between our consumption and the massive use of fossil fuels to subsidize our lifestyles, and the resulting changes in our global climate. Twenty-five percent of corn production in the U.S. now goes into fuel production, contributing to corn prices doubling in the last two years.

“It used to be fuel for people. Now it’s fuel for cars,” said Simon Johnson, chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.

We Mennonites, who have such a rich theology of not using weapons to harm others, need to see that we now use our money and power as weapons to make sure that the 20 percent of us richest people in the world continue to use 80 percent of the world’s resources.

Will Braun’s hard-hitting May 12 column on this subject shows the work that lies ahead. At the same time, I am hearing stories across the country of how Mennonites are making changes. While visiting Saskatchewan this spring, I heard about Camp Shekinah’s plans to start generating some electricity using solar power. Canadian Mennonite University and our church’s seminary, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, have switched to using cutting-edge environmentally sustainable building designs. Last issue, you read about Rockway Mennonite Church’s carbon offset program, the first I am aware of at a congregational level, and the new Mennonite Economic Development Associates’ Green Investment Fund that is being used to offset carbon for travel to the global Mennonite World Conference next year in Paraguay. The right solution is to lower our emissions, not offset them, but it’s still movement in the right direction.


Congratulations: I’d like to congratulate a number of CM staff people and writers that won awards for their work at last’s month’s annual Canadian Church Press Convention:

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