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|Assemby 2011 News|
Calgary green report
Mennonite Church Canada/Mennonite Creation Care Network Joint Release
Waterloo, ONT. — In 2007, Mennonite Church Canada delegates passed a resolution to work for more sustainable gatherings. Mennonite Creation Care Network has worked with assembly planners in subsequent years to provide guidelines for greening and to assess events (www.mennocreationcare.org/assets/confgreenguidelines.pdf). The 2010 Mennonite Church Canada Assembly at Ambrose College in Calgary brought successes and illustrated challenges.
Facilities: Ambrose College has dual flush toilets and uses 100% recycled toilet paper.
Food: Meals always present one of the greatest challenges at large gatherings because we must rely on the ability of local facilities to meet our requests. Vegetarian options were available at Assembly 2010 upon request, but non-meat protein options were not included in general meals. Seasonal, local and organic food was not offered, and the coffee and tea were not fair trade.
In a seminar about the tar sands, Don Peters of Mennonite Central Committee Canada noted that large scale energy developments pushing the boundaries of environmental safety are ultimately driven by our society’s demand for fuel. As disciples of Christ it is our responsibility to be conscious of the energy we use and to work to reduce it. Mennonite Creation Care Network has attempted to assist in these efforts. Delegates in Calgary affirmed the value of having yearly gatherings but they also reconfirmed our commitment to greening our assemblies, resolving to “commit ourselves to continued efforts that care for the earth which sustains us, in faithfulness to our calling as stewards of God’s good earth.”
Mennonite Creation Care Network encourages reflection on ways in which we can reduce our footprint, noting food and travel as the two areas of greatest concern. Planners for Assembly 2011 anticipated ways to improve food services and other aspects of the gathering in Waterloo. Travel choices rest with individuals.
The map survey provided a striking visual of the geographic concentrations (e.g. Vancouver/Fraser Valley, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and southern Ontario) from which we travel to reach assembly locations. Efforts are already being made by some to carpool. When we gather in the future, can we increase the number of carpoolers? Will some people come by bicycle? Can we arrange to travel collectively by train?
How can you contribute to greening our future assemblies?