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Decolonization and Climate Change, a JEM gathering

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Event information

Date & Time
22 May 2019, 16 h 45 min - 23 May 2019, 15 h 30 min

Mary Ward Centre

70 St. Mary Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 1J3


At the JEM meeting last year were explored the themes of awe and wonder in our relationship with Earth with Dr. Heather Eaton.

JEM want to begin uncovering the connection between the process of decolonisation and climate change. The recent IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report and the subsequent COP 24 [Conference of the Parties] meeting in Poland again urge us to find ways to challenge our skewed relationship with planet earth, our common home.

Decolonisation is a transforming process in which we seek to:

  • Privilege Indigenous voices so as to learn and be transformed by them
  • Recover the wisdom within Indigenous cultures, especially the ways of being in relationship with the land and its many species
  • Challenge our dominant worldview of settler-society

The high levels [per capita] of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada can be understood as a long-term impact of the settler-worldview with its focus on exploitation for profit. Can the transforming and unsettling process of decolonisation draw us, as individuals and as a society, into a new worldview, new relationships with the land, water and each other.

On May 22 and 23, Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum), Jennifer Henry and other prominent speakers and activists will help us to reflect on the connection between the process of decolonization and climate change.

Can the transforming and unsettling process of decolonisation draw us, as individuals and as a society, into a new world view, new relationships with the land, water and each other?


Wednesday,  May 22 – Dinner and Free Public Lecture

4:45-5:00 pm – Arrival & Registrations (invitation to leaders/treasurers or their designated representatives)

5:00-6:30 pm – Reception and Dinner (invitation to leaders/treasurers or their designated representatives)

7:30 – 9:00pm – Public lecture (invitation to everyone)

Thursday, May 23 – JEM gathering for representatives from religious congregations

9:00 – 9:30 am – Registration

9:30 – 3:30pm – JEM Programming for representatives of religious congregations including an address from Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum), Jennifer Henry, third speaker (TBA) and a call to action with Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ), SHARE and Blue Communities.

Breaks and lunch are included and will be taken during the day.


Religious communities, staff and collaborators. However, the public event on the evening of May 22, 2019 is open to anyone who wish to attend.


There are three different ticket prices:

  • May 22, dinner attendance $30 (invitation extended only to leadership/treasurers). The public event that will follow is FREE and can be attended by anyone. RSVP required for the public event.
  • May 23, attendance $30. Open ONLY to religous communities, staff and collaborators.

Information and registration

Accommodation available at Loretto College (site of the Mary Ward Centre). Please, call 416-925-2833 and ask for Alice Gomes.

Registration deadline: May 13

To register and learn more, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/y4emnqf9

For more information contact:
Varka Kalaydzhieva
416-467-8070, ext.2676

Event poster

About the speakers

Sylvia McAdam

Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum) is from the Treaty 6 lands in what is now called “Canada.”  She is a direct descendant of Treaty peoples and Original peoples of these lands. Sylvia is from the nēhīyaw Nation. She has her Juris Doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Justice from the University of Regina.  Sylvia is co-founder of a global grassroots Indigenous-led movement called “Idle No More.” Idle No More has changed the political and social landscape of Canada as well as reached the global community to defend and protect all lands, waters, and animals.

Sylvia is also co-founder of the “One House Many Nations” Campaign, which designs off-the-grid sustainable tiny-homes to address and raise awareness about the epidemic unacceptable proportions of homelessness in such a wealthy state as “Canada” especially amongst Indigenous/Original peoples.

Through the work of protecting land and water, Idle No More has been selected for several awards, namely: the Carole Gellar Human Rights Award, Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers 2013, Social Justice Award, and 2014 Global Citizen Award. ​Most recently, it was awarded the Margolese National Design for Living Prize.

Jennifer Henry

Jennifer Henry currently serves as the Executive Director of KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, a role she took on in 2012. She has worked in ecumenical social justice for 25 years, beginning in 1993 when she joined the Ecumenical Coalition for Economic Justice (ECEJ) as a popular education coordinator.

Her time with ECEJ included coordinating a cross-country economic literacy program called “Building a Moral Economy,” and contributing leadership to the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative. Within KAIROS, she has served in many roles from network and campaigns coordinator to the manager of teams focused on education and animation, organizational development, and human rights (Indigenous rights, gender and migrant justice). As manager of the global partnerships program, she played a significant role in coordinating KAIROS’ grassroots response to the CIDA defunding.

Jennifer had the honour of being an ecumenical witness at six of the seven national events of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  She has given leadership to the Board of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, and currently serves on the Primate’s Commission on the Doctrine of Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice, and the Board of the Centre and Library of the Bible and Social Justice.  She remains an activist and educator at heart.

Raised in on Treaty 1 territory in Winnipeg, Jennifer has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Manitoba, and a Masters of Social Work and a Masters in Theological Studies from the University of Toronto. Her Master’s thesis was entitled Contrite Hearts in Solidarity Action: Elements in a Settler Ally Biblical Theology  She worships at the Church of the Holy Trinity, an Anglican Church in downtown Toronto, under the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant.

About JEM

Joint Ecological Ministry (JEM) is a collaboration of religious communities and partners using their resources to promote caring for Creation and living within planetary limits.