The Kyoto Protocol - part of a global effort to combat climate change - was brought into force in Canada in February, coinciding with the release of the Archbishop of Canterbury's report `Sharing our Planet'.

Both initiatives ask us to care about creation, to respond to our ailing planet by actively reducing our ecological footprint. As Christians, that call is a matter of profound importance because, as suggested by the Archbishop, we understand the act of creation to be God "expressing [God's] intelligence through every existing thing".

The Diocesan Environmental Task Force welcomes the Archbishop's report and the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol, which commits Canada to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 6 per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012, offers a focus for Anglicans to take action locally by reducing our energy consumption and cutting our GHG emissions.

To date, twenty parishes in the Diocese of New Westminster have undergone energy audits, and more parishes are on a waiting list. Recommendations from the energy audit reports will help guide parishes in reducing energy consumption and cutting harmful emissions.

The challenge for the task force is to facilitate more energy audits. The cost of each energy audit has so far been shared between the parish ($250) and the task force funds ($250) which have come from a grant through Environment Canada's Eco-Action program. To maintain the $250 price tag for parishes in the face of rising costs, funding from other sources is being sought.

To that end, the Diocese of New Westminster has become an `energy innovator' through Natural Resources Canada. We are in the process of collecting energy use data from all the parishes - many thanks to the 36 parishes which have responded so far.

We will be working with Natural Resources Canada, BC Hydro and Terasen Gas to study Diocesan energy use as a whole as well as strategies to decrease consumption and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

This is exciting and rewarding work! I want all Anglicans to become involved in their parish communities, and let the task force know about your actions.

For more information on energy audits or the work of the Environmental Task Force more generally, please do not hesitate to contact us through David Dranchuk (ddranchuk@vancouver.anglican. ca or 604-684-6306 x 221).