The World is Our Host

by Gerry Lynch last modified 30 Mar, 2015 01:38 PM

Bishop Nicholas joins 17 bishops from all continents to set a new Anglican agenda on the “unprecedented climate crisis”.

Bishop Nicholas has is one of 17 Anglican bishops from all continents who have produced a Declaration calling for urgent prayer and action to tackle what they call an “unprecedented climate crisis”. Their declaration The World Is Our Host: A Call to Urgent Action for Climate Justice, released on Monday in Holy Week, sets a new agenda on climate change.

Bishop Nicholas was the Church of England’s representative on the group that produced the Declaration. Speaking after its launch, he said, “We accept the scientific evidence that human activity is more than 95% likely to be the main cause of global warming. This century began with fourteen of the fifteen hottest years ever. 

“That our Declaration is issued in Holy Week and addressed to the Church on Good Friday is a mark of the seriousness with which we view the crisis of climate change. 

“Climate change is the greatest moral issue facing the world, especially considering the poor are the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change.”

The group met in South Africa in February to build on months of conversations carried out via the internet. The group involved bishops both from cultures and nations that are major contributors to climate change, and those producing low levels of CO2 but disproportionately affected. 

Abp Thabo Makgoba web.jpgThe Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of Southern Africa, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, who brought the group together, said, “We heard of extreme weather and changes to seasons; rising sea levels; acidification of seawater; depleted fishing grounds; and displaced people who are climate refugees. 

“The problem is spiritual as well as economic, scientific and political. We have been complicit in a theology of domination. While God committed the care of creation to us, we have been care-less – but not hopeless. 

“In the words of St Theresa of Avila, we are God’s hands and feet on earth – now is the time for us, rooted in prayer, to step up and take action on the climate crisis.” 

The Declaration commits the bishops to specific first actions including: energy conservation measures in church buildings; more renewable energy; nurturing biodiversity on church land; supporting sustainability in water, food, agriculture and land use; reviewing churches’ investment practices including a call for divestment; and closer ecumenical and interfaith co-operation. 

The bishops commended the Fast for the Climate initiative, where they join many others in fasting and praying for the climate on the first of every month. 

The bishops argue for ambitious and binding climate change agreements at national and international levels, and assistance for climate refugees. 

Women, who make up the majority of the world’s poorest are hit harder by climate change. The Rt Revd Ellinah Wamukoya, Bishop of Swaziland and Africa’s first Anglican woman Bishop said, “Women are more often dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods, so the contribution of women is essential in decisions around climate change. Our communities must be equal, as in the Eucharist.”

Read the full text of the Good Friday Declaration on http://acen.anglicancommunion.org/.

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