Looking up at a towering tree.
MCC photo/Colin Vandenberg

Caring for God's creation and supporting communities harmed by climate change is a core area of focus in MCC's work today.


Playing time: 
Join Threads for a conversation about responding to climate change from MCC and Mennonite Church Manitoba perspectives.

Listen in as our host Kyle Rudge discusses the importance of caring for God's creation with Marta Bunnett Wiebe, MCC Manitoba's Peace and Advocacy Coordinator, and Sandy Plett, member of Mennonite Church Manitoba's Climate Action Working Group.

Threads, formerly known as Word and Deed, was established in April 2007. It is a 15-minute radio program by KR Words featuring the work of MCC in Manitoba and around the world. Threads broadcasts on CFAM AM 950, CHSM AM 1250 and CHRB AM 1220 at 8:45 am on the first Sunday of the month. 

Audio Transcription:

Kyle Rudge (00:02):

It begins with a single thread woven through other thread and then another and another, until we have a single piece of fabric that fabric is stretched, cut, and stitched together with another, just like it.


This process is repeated over and over and over until we have a beautiful tapestry that all began with a single thread. Welcome to MCC Threads, where we look closely at how our stories in Manitoba weave together with the stories of MCC and its partners around the world.

Marta Bunnett Wiebe (00:51):

Climate is significant to MCC because we care about people and we care about God's creation and we care about engaging churches and individuals and communities on these topics.

Kyle Rudge (01:05):

There's a question I ask myself a lot these days. I'm not sure if it's the circumstance of now or perhaps it's this time in my life, but I find myself asking a lot, Okay now what? There are so many things that I do care about, so many things that I want to see change in, but actual tangible steps can feel elusive and sometimes even daunting. This leads me to looking for people who can help provide some direction.

Marta Bunnett Wiebe (01:35):

Hi, my name is Marta Bunnett Wiebe and I am the Peace and Advocacy Coordinator for MCC Manitoba. And I'm located here in Winnipeg.

Sandy Plett (01:44):

I'm Sandy Plett, and I currently live in Tinker Creek, Manitoba, which is just south of Morden, near the Manitoba escarpment in case you're curious, and I'm the co-facilitator of the Mennonite Church Manitoba Climate Action Working Group, which we can just call the CAWG.

Kyle Rudge (02:02):

CAWG, C-A-W-G, it admittedly took me a minute on that acronym, so I figured I pointed out for everyone.

Sandy Plett (02:10):

I think I would describe us right now as a fledgling group. We're about nine people who are concerned about climate, who are also connected to Mennonite Church Manitoba. And we've been gathering for just under a year, which is why I say fledgling. And we're trying to figure out how we can support the people of Mennonite Church Manitoba in responding to the climate crisis and, you know, becoming more than just a bunch of disparate voices, but becoming a body in response to a crisis that affects us all.

Kyle Rudge (02:44):

I'm someone who is concerned about climate and well, climate change. My personal worry and fear is the legacy I am leaving my two children. I want the world to be in a better state for them growing up into adulthood than it was for me. And climate is one of those things that certainly has my attention.

Sandy Plett (03:02):

When I ask groups, what drew drew you to this conversation? There are a couple of themes that emerge. One of the ones that bring often brings tears is that people will say I'm so concerned about my grandchildren. I'm so concerned about the future of my kids, because I know how I grew up and what the world was like, and it is not the same. And so, so concern for the future of children is a huge sh it's a huge shared thing. And, and I think we're, we're scared to name it because it implicates us in some way, but we have to name it. So that's one concern that draws people to the climate conversation. Another one I would say is people feeling the pressure of lifestyle changes, you know. I've, I've heard, I've heard someone say I've always expected that when I retired, I would be a, what is it?

The people who fly south for the winter, <laugh> shoot, what's that called? <Laugh> like I would travel or they say, when I retire, I thought I would travel a lot. But now I see that that's not the best choice anymore. And I'm, you know, people are their expectations of their own future is shifting and that's disconcerting, it's disorienting. It feels like, well, what have I worked for? And so it's another area. Just the uncertainty that comes from, you know, climate change is affecting all of our expectations about what the future will hold even from year to year, like with a drought suddenly people's livelihoods are in question, with floods people's homes and safety is in question. It's just a, I think a raised level of uncertainty about what we always thought would be the same. I think that's a, a huge shared concern.

Kyle Rudge (04:57):

Sandy and Marta have their own experiences and concerns as well.

Sandy Plett (05:01):

Personally, I guess I have I've always had a deep connection to nature. I've always been very, very careful. I was the kid who cleaned up litter when my friends threw it on the ground in junior high. And I think, you know, over the years, I've, I've realized that as a Christian we have a responsibility to be a voice for good. And so I guess it's my, you know, my impulse to do good things, plus my deep concern about the earth and also about the people of the earth and the biodiversity. I just feel like I'm on this earth at this time. I have kids growing up at this time and we need to do something, I guess I've also described it as like when my kids are my age I want them to know that I did something about it. I raised my voice and I lifted my hands and I worked for the future of the planet. And, um I want them also to know that the church did something about it. And I have a chance to be part of that because I am part of the church and I'm super passionate that the church needs to be at the front of this work.

Marta Bunnett Wiebe (06:22):

I think one of the, the earliest ties to climate for me is growing up on a small farm in New Brunswick on the east coast. And just being very aware and having our whole lives shaped around the weather and the land and our relationship to it. The ways in which as a farm kid, you do, or don't do things depending on when the hay needs to be cut or when the animals need to be brought in. And all of those types of things. A really early memory for me is calling environment Canada on the phone to get the automated forecast. That was the earliest memory of using the phone. And even as little kids, we would call up and see what the temperature was supposed to be and whether there was gonna be rain. And so that awareness of, of my surroundings have, has been with me for a long time. And then also on the farm noticing the way that weather has changed, even in my lifetime and the ways in which I have seen more drought and more times the flood.

Kyle Rudge (07:42):

Conversations are hard and sometimes conversations like climate change can be one of those topics that creates a lot of discord around the dinner table.

Marta Bunnett Wiebe (07:52):

I think there are lots of ways into climate conversations and a lot of them don't necessarily have to start even with the word climate. Sandy noted, we are a group of people who, who care about a lot of things, and there are lots of ways to start into work that some might call climate action by identifying the things that we're already passionate about. Maybe you're passionate about sports or about water management. That's been a big thing in the last couple of years. Maybe you are really concerned about what your children and grandchildren's livelihoods will look like in 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now maybe you have a real heart for refugees and new immigrants to Canada, or maybe you're concerned about clean air. We've had forest fires recently, and that's something that has impacted some people very severely here in Manitoba.

And so I think there are lots of ways into conversation that maybe don't name climate outright, and that's not to disregard our significant differences that those differences are there. And we can't always, and shouldn't always just try to cover those up quickly, but also realizing that there are true shared convictions and passions and interests, and those are ways that we can start to move together and take action as well as continued conversation to continue to try to understand each other better all while taking steps that that we can agree on that we can, we can see that we all want something good for children and grandchildren, for instance.

Kyle Rudge (09:50):

A better world for our children and our grandchildren. That makes sense to me, but how does that fit into the bigger picture of MCC and climate?

Marta Bunnett Wiebe (10:00):

Climate change has been on the horizon of MCC for many years. We hear stories from our partners around the world about the impacts of climate in those communities where our partners are working. As a member of Mennonite Church Manitoba, and as an MCC person, there are some personal links that draw these two together. Climate is significant to MCC because we care about people and we care about God's creation, and we care about engaging churches and individuals and communities on these topics.

Kyle Rudge (10:39):

MCC's vision includes peace as a strong central component. Climate also has a huge impact on how peace work is done around the world.

Marta Bunnett Wiebe (10:47):

When there are changes in climate, when there are climate disasters or just unforeseen circumstances or unpredictability that can really shape an impact, conflict or settings of unrest. And so for me, as someone thinking and working and excited about peace climate is significant in that way. And peace is also important to be able to do climate work. If there is unrest or there are tensions within communities, it is really hard to work to adapt or to mitigate the impacts of climate. Working on peacebuilding in communities is a significant step towards being able to act on climate. I think practically the MCM CAWG and Mennonite Central Committee Manitoba have lots of things that we can offer each other and avenues to engage with churches and individuals to take action together and to share in advocacy as well.

Kyle Rudge (11:54):

This is where that question I spoke about earlier comes in. We're on the same page, we want to make this world a better cleaner place, now what? What action is there to be taken that the Climate Action Working Group puts forward?

Sandy Plett (12:11):

I'm always concerned, is this all talk and no action, but what I think I'm figuring out is that conversation comes before action. And so I think a lot about our constituency. I feel like we're at a bunch of stages like humans, some of us are so, so there are people who are like at the front lines already working at climate work advocacy, they're supporting land defenders, they're, you know, blocking traffic, they're writing letters, they're doing big climate action. And there are many of us who are at the beginning of the journey. And so I think part of the task of our job is to encourage and invite all people into climate action, because honestly it's, the climate crisis is, is already affecting all of us. And so the action that I'm most excited about is the, the action of moving I I like to think about conversation as moving through a doorway where you might be concerned about climate, but you feel like you're kind of alone and you're reading about it and learning about it. And, and maybe you're just trying to close your ears so you don't have to think about it. But once people have had a conversation specifically around climate, specifically around their emotions, their experiences of climate change, their concerns, their worries, their fears, I've been watching people move from this isolated sense of, I'm so scared I don't know what to do, to, okay hey we're actually in this together.

Marta Bunnett Wiebe (13:46):

The faithful climate conversation is a set of guides to have conversation offered by for the love of creation, which is an ecumenical group working on climate, the faithful climate conversation. It is an opportunity. It primarily it's it's a guide for facilitators in which facilitators have some understanding of how to lead a conversation, anybody, and everybody can pick it up. Facilitation guides don't require a lots of expertise in, in climate or really in leading conversation. They're very thorough. And so it's an opportunity to call together a small group of people, maybe four to eight people and walks you through an introduction and some basic understanding of climate, and then really invites people to share their experiences share how they're feeling about climate and to share that together has really significant impact when we can hear from each other that we have similarities.

Sandy Plett (15:05):

We're all concerned. We all have these worries. I feel like the act, the first action that, that I'm really focusing on is helping people move from that isolated sense, to the sense of communally together with their church family or a group of people that they know looking to face the climate crisis together, to learn, and then to take action more concretely in different areas. So my, my current passion is doing these conversations with church groups called Faithful Climate Conversations, and then inviting them into an action discernment process that helps them to figure out what is their action. So I love inviting groups too, and I'm gonna do this, do this today with another group is say,


What are your gifts? What are your skills? What motivates you as a group? And how can you channel that into action that works towards climate justice or a just transition, or, or helps your community to deal with the climate crisis in a new way.

Kyle Rudge (16:08):

If you're looking for more information regarding the Climate Action Working Group or more of how climate, peace and justice coincide, there are a lot of resources available at mccmb.ca. As a wonderful climate conscious demonstration of alternative methods of transportation, I'd like to extend a huge congratulations to everyone who participated in Cycle Clear Lake yesterday. I'm sure I'll have some results of participants and funds raised in the next month's Threads. Thank you to Sandy and Marta for taking your time to share your hearts with us regarding climate conversations, peace and justice. I'm Kyle Rudge, and this is MCC Threads.

Transcribed by https://www.temi.com

Learn more about MCC's approach to climate change