United Church minister and congregation fast for Harper government greenhouse-gas action

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      Rev. Bruce Sanguin is calling it a “Gandhian gesture”.

      Beginning next week, the Vancouver-based United Church of Canada minister and his congregation will help coordinate a local rotating fast for climate-change action. They are pushing for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his minority Conservative government to seek aggressive reduction targets for greenhouse-gas emissions while at the Copenhagen climate talks, which start on Monday (December 7).

      Sanguin told the Georgia Straight he got involved because humans are functioning “as though we’re the exceptional species that has a right to colonize the planet”.

      “In the process, we’re burning down the natural capital in a frenzy of overproduction and overconsumption,” Sanguin, who preaches at the Canadian Memorial United Church, said by phone. “And it’s because we don’t right now know who we are, because we don’t experience ourselves as deeply embedded in a larger planetary system.”

      On Monday, the Fast for Courage at Copenhagen will begin at the church, which is located at 1825 West 16th Avenue. It will keep rolling until December 18, according to the event’s Facebook page. According to a flyer, organizers invite people to participate in the fast for one day or a week, meditate, “be mindful of your planetary footprint”, and write to their MPs.

      Sanguin said he got the idea to start a Vancouver event when Calgary-based former United Church of Canada moderator Rev. Bill Phipps announced he was planning to fast during the first seven days of the Copenhagen talks. Another colleague, Rev. Russell Daye in Halifax, said he would do something in Nova Scotia’s capital. Other groups endorsing the event are Be the Change Earth Alliance, Faith & the Common Good, and Voters Taking Action on Climate Change.

      Sanguin called what Harper has done so far “fairly pathetic”.

      “I’m hoping, and we’re hoping, that this can make a little bit of a difference,” Sanguin said. “I’ll tell you, for me, personally, it’s just an alternative to growing disenchantment and cynicism in what I regard as a kind of lack of leadership around this particular issue.”

      Mayor Gregor Robertson will attend the Copenhagen talks along with his fellow mayors from Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. Robertson spoke to the Straight from his office on November 26, the day Harper announced his intention to attend the talks.

      “I was surprised he hadn’t made that commitment long ago, in that he waited for [U.S. president Barack] Obama’s lead to opt in, but it reflects the overall lack of leadership on climate that Canada has demonstrated in recent years, which is deplorable,” Robertson said.

      Obama has pledged the U.S. will cut emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Harper and Environment Minister Jim Prentice are targeting a cut in Canada of 20 percent below 2006 levels by 2020.

      Robertson said Canada, and Vancouver, must look at a 25-percent emissions cut below 1990 levels by 2020 to avoid condemning future generations to environmental catastrophe.



      Kevin Washbrook

      Dec 3, 2009 at 5:51pm

      Well done Bruce and CMUC! I really think Vancouver is witnessing the start of a "climate rights movement." One clarification: the fast launches at CMUC this coming Sunday, December 6th; Monday December 7th features the first vigil at Joyce Murray's constituency office 2111 W38th Ave Noon to 2pm. Visit the facebook group at http://bit.ly/4mZ29F or contact me at kevin.washbrook@vtacc.org. Cheers Kevin

      David Wilson

      Dec 4, 2009 at 3:25pm

      God bless them!


      Dec 5, 2009 at 2:30pm

      This must be one of those churches that the Government pays off! Greenies are in denial and so being are such slime balls that believe their own lies, aside from the fact that cooked Data and criminal activity has taken place! Besides, because I know your going to say it is illegal to Hack - however it is not illegal to leak news, it may be sneaky - but it is not illegal, the emails were leaked!
      $10 Billion Dollars per Year For a Fraud!
      Canadians are interested in results of what is going on about Climategate in Canada! As it has to do with our lives,lifestyle whether or not we are going to be living in a Democracy or under a Dictatorship?
      Jim prentice has stated & PM Harper advocates this as well otherwise Prentice wouldn't be uttering it"Canada will be paying it's fair share of Carbon Emmissions! To the tune of $10 Billion per year!" Really, we are already $70 Billion in debt thanks to Michael Ignatieff & the Liberals who up'ed the anti to the Canadian debt load on stimulus!
      This begs the question where Jim Prentice plans to dig the $10 Billion per year out of? Did somebody say more Tax?
      What is so disheartening about that is the fact that now it's been found that the whole Climate Emission scam has been proven to be Fraudulent as credible Scientests around the world who were previously locked out of putting their work and findings forth by Jones of East Anglia University and the CRU,were pushed out of the picture with thier observations and experiment results on Climate Change found that not only is the earth not heating up in reality it has been cooling since the 1960's!
      How much more fraudulent can this Scientific Data be? The United Nations and the Globalists are using this false Data at Copenhagen, to transfer our wealth to third world countries? Yet Environment Minister Jim Prentice and Prime Minister Stephen Harper feel so generous with Canadian Tax payer dollars that they are willing to toss in $10 Billion per year on the "hot air" that Ban Kai Moon and Pompus PM Gordon Brown and the rest of the Criminal Rogues that are involved in this bogus Carbon Emission Treaty! As the Bible says,"A Fool and his money are soon parted"! To request that PM Harper doesn't sign the Copenhagen Treaty, causing Canadians to lose their Sovereignty and Freedom email the PM at: pm@pm.gc.ca,Protest Copenhagen Treaty http://www.gopetition.com/online/32485.html


      Dec 5, 2009 at 7:10pm

      Like who really gives a crap? Blah, blah, blah. Who cares?

      god is not GREAT

      Dec 6, 2009 at 9:39am

      OK good cause. But that is one creepy helmet.

      The Majority

      Dec 7, 2009 at 2:31pm

      Hey Btok,

      Stop watching Glenn Beck and do some real research. No one agrees with you. Climate Gate is a bunch of BS. Look outside you fool. The climate is changing all around you and you're trying to stop good people from saving your world. Go back into your hole!

      Sandra B.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 2:52pm

      The reverend and his flock should, when done their fast, set a positive example and adopt a vegan/plant based diet. GHG emitted by the livestock industry are higher in total than the entire transportation sector combined, according to a recent FAO report. How can anyone expect politicians to change their destructive ways if we are unable to change ourselves? Now THAT's something Gandhi would approve of.