Be a Change-Maker!

Unitarians care about what is happening in the world today. Our purpose encourages us to study the social questions of the day, to reflect on the views of others, and promote actions that will build a better society.

We actively educate ourselves to be full participants in Truth and Reconciliation (see our Reconciliation pages)

Here we share our priority areas of concern, what we are learning and what we can do together: Basic Income for Canadians, Environment & Climate Change, and Race Relations. 

Get involved and Be a Change-Maker.

Share your ideas with us: ufr.secretary@sasktel.net

Basic Income

Basic Income Canada Network (BICN)

In January 2020, the BICN produced a white paper outlining three optional designs for a universal income in Canada. All three options are based on BICN’s principles and goals:

  • to reduce inequality, including inequality between women and men;
  • prevent poverty;
  • provide everyone with greater income security, including middle-income earners; and
  • ensure the wealthiest individuals and corporations contribute their fair share.

You can read the full BICN report Basic Income: Some Policy Options for Canada or a one page excerpt outlining the three options and their estimated costs:

Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA)

A February 2021 report by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA) gives us a first ever look at the economic impacts of a national Basic Income in Canada. This report examines the benefits to families receiving payments under two potential basic income programs and the possible economic impacts of the programs, as well as how these impacts are shaped by the way in which a program is funded.

Read the Infographic Summary OR the Highlights

OR the full report by CANCEA: Potential Economic Impacts and Reach of Basic Income Programs in Canada” 

1-Page Infographic Summary (by UBI Works)  Last Updated: February 16, 2021

Report Highlights (by UBI Works)

 

What can WE do?

  1. Zoom in!—take advantage of the many learning opportunities available on the Internet. Watch for new Zoom events here.
  2. Read all about it!  Several reports became available in 2020 and 2021: (see above links)
  3. Talk to your friends—spread the good news that we CAN afford this public policy and reduce human suffering.
  4. Join other Unitarians: Read the position statement of the Canadian Unitarian Council
  5. Sign a petition — How do you feel about lifting people out of poverty?
  6. Respond to a quick questionnaire to show support for  Guaranteed Livable Basic Income and get more MOVEMENT IN PARLIAMENT

Environment and Climate Change

Unitarians value the interconnectedness of all aspects of the planet.

The seventh Unitarian-Universalist Principle states: We respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. 

In her documentary, My Passion for Trees, Dame Judi Dench shows us how trees are interdependent with various aspects of the environment. This is a stunning video giving evidence of our interconnected world in a truly beautiful way. Enjoy!

Listen to the children: It is a climate emergency!

We are polluting the earth and the thing is that the earth is life so we are killing ourselves but just for the money and the comfortable life. It doesn’t seem like people care about it because people live happily. When other people and animals are dying, they turn away. And if we condensed all of world history into one day, we would have been here for three seconds. In those three seconds, we would have killed thousands of species of animals and plants. We have also killed about 50% of all trees and it seems like people don’t believe in karma. As people turn a blind eye and say it’s not real, scientists are shoving it in their faces. People can deny and deny but it doesn’t make a difference. They deny and deny until they find one person that just tells them what they want to hear. And for what? The answer is unbelievably stupid. It’s for money… a piece of paper worth an amount written on it. And that’s the thing that baffles me the most. At the core it’s just money.

by Annelise Ottenbreit-Born (written at age 12)

“There is a climate crisis gaining strength in Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan Environmental Society documented some of the evidence in 2018.” Every year we see more evidence of stark changes. It is time to act!

Renewable Energy is gaining ground!

During 2020, new energy sources were renewable more often than ever before. Hydro-power is still the front runner but wind and solar are increasing rapidly as new energy sources. Produced by IRENA, this 1-minute video gives us hope for the future of renewable energy world-wide. IRENA is the International Renewable Energy Agency, the lead intergovernmental agency supporting countries for the energy transformation.

What are we doing to make sure renewables are in the forefront of new energy sources in Canada? In Saskatchewan?

On climate change, immigration, and humanitarianism

This article explains the impact of climate change on people around the world … and how we can help. It is exciting that Unitarians have a personal connection as the article is an interview with Stephen Cornish, the brother of our friend Mooky Cornish.

Stephen Cornish is Director, MSF International (Doctors without Borders). He forecasts that climate change is taking us toward situations with multiple crises happening simultaneously around the world. We need to act now as individuals, as organisations with responsibilities, and together as a society. Working together, we can reach a tipping point for positive change.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis (released August 2021 by the intergovernmental working group) found that swift and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are critical to limit global warming. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.” Today, Canada’s economy is heavily dependent on oil and gas. Canada is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer and tenth-largest oil consumer. Along with British Columbia and Alberta, Saskatchewan is a major producer of coal, using it primarily to create electricity. By 2030, solar and wind capacity should quadruple, and renewable energy investments should triple to maintain a net-zero trajectory by midcentury,” Guterres said. 

 

Canada’s Water

We have more freshwater lakes than every other country on Earth combined according to a study by McGill university. And yet, Canada does not have a national water strategy, although some progress is evident in this 2020 discussion paper from Environment & Climate Change Canada. 

Water is the lifeblood of Canada’s largest economic sectors – not to mention, we need water to survive. A national plan to protect water is essential….rivers and lakes do not respect boundaries. With the growing climate crisis in the form of extreme fires, droughts, and floods, water is more important than ever. A national water strategy is urgent.

Here are seven reasons why a national water strategy should be top priority for the federal government.

What can WE do?

  1. Choose 3 things & start today—or if you are not quite ready, start with one.
  2. Learn from others—United Kingdom has done some cool things to help us learn and change our behaviours. Have a look! And the USA has some clear suggestions too!
  3. Take a global perspective—Sometimes environmental issues seem so complex we wonder how to grapple with them. Looking at the big picture can help, so here are a couple of ways to see what is happening internationally:
    • Canada’s Government works with the United Nations and many other countries to find ways to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. To become familiar with those Goals, and Goal 13 on climate change, check out:
    • Monitor the Climate Action Network, a global network of over 1,500 civil society organisations in over 130 countries driving collective and sustainable action to fight the climate crisis. It also aims to achieve social and racial justice. CAN coordinates civil society at the UN’s international climate talks. For example,the Climate Action Network’s website will report preparations for and results of the 26th Conference on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP26) is scheduled to take place in Glasgow, Scotland, during November 2021.
  4. Tell your MP that we need Urgent, Bold Climate Action
  5. Consider whether you are adequately supporting the transition to solar and wind energy e.g., in investment portfolios.

Race Relations

Racism is a persistent problem in Canada. It is both overt and subtle, and is ingrained within the systems and practices of institutions like the justice system, health system and other public services, like schools, workplaces, and government — this isn’t new.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, hate crimes against Asian Canadians have risen 97 percent in Vancouver alone, and more than 800 racist incidents have been reported across Canada. Within the Canadian justice system, Indigenous Peoples are the most disproportionately overrepresented population and in Toronto, Black Torontonians are 20 times more likely to be shot by police than white residents. In classrooms across Canada, more than half of students who identify as visible minorities have reported being the victim of racist taunts.

It is time to recognize and reject racism and work together toward positive race relations.

Environmental Racism 

Environmental racism is a type of systematic discrimination that links race and socio-economic status with increased environmental risk. Ecological justice cannot be separated from race in Canada. Exposure to hazardous waste and environmental pollution, and prejudiced zoning decisions directly impact quality of life and the health of marginalized communities in this country. 

For example, environmental racism is present in:

  • the toxic landfills placed near the Black Nova Scotian communities of Shelburne and Lincolnville
  • the mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows First Nation
  • the impacts of fossil fuel extraction across Canada
  • the health and livelihoods threatened by the Mount Polley Mine disaster
  • the boil-water advisories that persist in First Nations communities 

The lack of clean drinking water in First Nations communities is a violation of the human right to water and sanitation. The Canadian government has worked with Indigenous communities to resolve dozens of boil-water advisories. However, as of August 2021, there remain 51 long-term drinking-water advisories in 37 First Nations communities. 

Equitable access to clean drinking water for all requires not only long-term recommitment and financial resources, but also self-government to achieve solutions that are culturally appropriate as well as scientifically correct. Working together, we can resolve the problems and achieve clean water in all communities.

 

What can WE do?

  1. RECOGNIZE RACISM. Indigenous, Asian, and Black racism is so common in our Canadian society that we often do not even notice it. And let’s not forget that as Unitarians we respect the spiritual practices of all people whether Muslim, Jewish, Indigenous, or others.
  1. SPEAK UP—reject racism. When you hear a racist comment, take a breath to stay calm … and then ASK what experience the person had in their life that gave them the idea they have just expressed. Share that your experience is different. Start a dialogue.
  2. CHOOSE TO ACT DIFFERENTLY—whether at home or at work, a different approach might yield different results.
  3. DONATE—Take action against hate! 
    1. The Unitarian Fellowship of Regina Inc. is working to reduce racism in our community. Right now, our primary tools are:
      • our website links you to sources of truth for reconciliation
      • our newsletter aims to inspire hope and action for a better future
      • our Sunday services aim to support you through life’s struggles and build capacity to grow and change with the support of new friends.
      • Your Donations will help us continue working together with others to build a better tomorrow.
    2. The Anti-Racism Fund supports charities fighting racism in Canada. Plus, for a limited time, every dollar donated to the Anti-Racism Fund will be matched by P&G Canada up to $400,000.* Your gift will support a wide range of charities in Canada leading anti-racism advocacy efforts, research, education, and more. Your donation will be pooled with gifts from others to help achieve wide-reaching effects and will make a real impact. Plus, you will receive an official charitable tax receipt to qualify for tax credits! Donate today to take a stand against racism.