A delegation from Pembina Fellowship Church Climate Group made a presentation to Morden City Council on May 29th. They are hoping to rekindle the MSTW Community Led Emissions Reduction (CLER) Program that ran from 2008-2012. CLER is an action plan that gave guidance and strategic steps to address climate change in the region under the direction of Kelly Stock the CLER Climate Change Coordinator at that time. For an in-depth look at the work done over 10 years ago click here.

Spokesperson for the climate group Sandy Plett explained why they approached Morden and the R.M. of Stanley and why Winkler is next. 

"Within the last couple of months, our group has been thinking, 'How can we get involved with what's happening in the region with regard to the changing climate?' And specifically, we were thinking, 'How is the community adapting to what changes have come?' and 'What changes are coming?' and also, 'How are we as a community working towards mitigation?' Which is essentially, 'How are we working to reduce the change?' Reducing emissions is one of the big ways we do mitigation work." 

Morden Deputy Mayor Gordon Maddock was pleased with the concerns raised and questions asked. 

"I take that as a very positive delegation that came in, and a lot of good things they want to do. I know myself; I was looking at some of the things that possibly we could do to conserve energy, find more water, different things like that, but with wastewater and water coming into play, our hands were tied, financially. We're ready to work with these people, and hopefully they tie into our staff, and some of the things that we've done."  

Parks and Urban Forestry Director Shawn Dias was on hand at the meeting and connected with Plett and Earl Dyck who also advocated for a more intentional focus on environmental issues in the region. 

Sandy Plett and Earl Dyck presenting to Morden City Council May 29thSandy Plett and Earl Dyck presenting to Morden City Council May 29th

Plett said it was great to make this connection.  

"When he said we need a champion, I just love that. He said, 'We need people in the community to stand up and say, 'This matters to us,'' and when I heard him say that, I thought, 'Yeah, we actually do. We need lots of champions.' We need people to stand up and say, 'It matters to me where stormwater goes,' 'It matters to me how we deal with the lake,' 'It matters to me what we do about pollution,' 'It matters to me how new developments are planned.'" 

Maddock committed to working with the group and encouraged them to stay connected to the City of Morden staff. 

"And then bring City of Winkler and the R.M. of Stanley into play, and then down the road, maybe when things loosen up, because we're all in this battle with wastewater, the three communities, we can start implementing some green initiatives."   

Plett and Dyck had a respectful conversation with council following the presentation, asking questions of one another. At one point in the presentation, Plett's emotions shone through as she talked about her kids' future in Morden being a big concern of hers, and a big reason she was advocating with such passion. 

She had another reason as well.  

"My kids being one, another, my faith. I believe God loves the earth, and we are called to love the Earth too. And that means taking care of it, because really, the created world around us is what takes care of us. It's an illusion if we think we can just send our troubles downstream. We need to take responsibility for what we're doing to the planet, because the planet is what makes it possible for us to live." 

Maddock said this is an important issue, and council has looked at several ways of taking care of the environment.

"I think it's important. We gotta start taking care of our communities. You can tell, even in our small little area here, the weather is changing. We went through a horrific drought. We can't have that again. So, we've worked on some things with Pembina Valley Water Co-op, and our city engineer is working on retention of more water up by Lake Minnewasta. So, these are things are very important, and it's a group like this that comes in and helps us. That's really gonna help seal the deal here."  

Earl DyckEarl Dyck

The group was thrilled and surprised to hear from council, the new cemetery will have a green burial site. Plett said it's important to make people aware of the efforts and decisions made for a greener community. 

Plett shared the next steps would be to make a presentation to Winkler, with the hopes of a regional reconnection, like it had been before via CLER. 

"The only way forward in all of this is to talk with other people in respectful ways, acknowledging their expertise, and being Invitational, inviting people to think together about the issues we're facing, and try not to be defensive, but just to say, 'How can we do this together?' And finding what we have in common, which is love for our place, love for the lake, love for the trees, love for the air and the water, and love for our families, love for our community. I think that at the center of all of it, there's a strong opportunity to be motivated by love." 

To connect with the Pembina Fellowship Church Climate Group email: eco@pembinafellowship.ca