As the climate summit reaches new momentum with COP 16 in Cancun, a coalition of United States religious organizations, the National Religious Coalition on Creation Care, (nrccc.net) will present a collection of religion body resolutions and statements on Climate Change to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and President Barack Obama stating that climate change is a moral and ethical issue, and urges the UN to act now to pass a global treaty to reduce CO2 emissions for the sake of humanity.
As the climate summit reaches new momentum in Cancun, a coalition of United States religious organizations, the National Religious Coalition on Creation Care, (nrccc.net) has presented a collection of religion body resolutions and statements on Climate Change to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and President Barack Obama stating that climate change is a moral and ethical issue, and urges the UN to act now to pass a global treaty to reduce CO2 emissions for the sake of humanity.
Major U.S. religious organizations over the past several years have issued numerous statements about the threats posed by changes caused by humans to the world’s climate. Roman Catholics, Jews, Mainline Protestants and most Evangelicals are united in seeing spiritual implications to the problems represented by human actions.
“In a world where matters of faith so often and so tragically to divide us, there is no issue that aligns us more deeply than our shared dependence upon and sacred responsibility to this tiny planet, enfolded within its fragile atmosphere, spinning in the vastness of time and space,” states Rabbi Warren Stone from UN Summit in Copenhagen.
Speaking on behalf of the Roman Catholic bishops, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, from Washington, DC, declared, “Climate change is a profoundly moral and spiritual problem.” Catholic bishops are very concerned and they will be promoting a new Climate Covenant. They will take the message on the seriousness of climate change to every Catholic parish in America.
Cardinal McCarrick’s statement reflects the position of Pope Benedict XVI: “Attention to climate change is a matter of grave importance for the entire human family,” said Pope Benedict XVI before a gathering in Saint Peter’s Square.
Rabbi Warren Stone, representing the National Religious Coalition on Creation Care (www.nrccc.net) and representing the CCAR, URJ and 22 national Jewish organizations at the Copenhagen UN, declared, “Our religious traditions compel us to act boldly for justice. This is something we all share in common and it is a shared source of strength and inspiration upon which we must draw. There is no one fixed or easy answer. Now is the time to act.”
The Rev. Michael Livingston, president of the National Council of Churches, observed “We agree on the need to protect God’s creation. It has become clear that global warming will have devastating impact on those in poverty around the world.”
The Rev. Owen Owens, past chair of the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice stated: “This is one of the most serious issues society faces. Every major religious organization has a statement on climate change and calls for strong action to hold off this threat to the future welfare of our planet. ”
Dr. Thomas English, Creation Care Educator of the Presbyterian Church (USA), from San Diego, California, states: “Global warming will result in mass extinctions of plants and animals by the end of the century. These extinctions will profoundly disrupt the food web for people over the entire Earth. People will attempt to ease their suffering by migration to other countries. Global migration will increase international tensions.”
Three years ago, 86 top U.S. evangelical Christian leaders launched the Evangelical Climate Initiative, which calls upon all Christians to push for legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, says that global warning is also a social justice issue. He added, “Climate changes, in terms of famine, in terms of the inability to grow crops, in terms of the flooding of islands, most affects the poor, but the front edge of disaster is most going to affect those who have the least.”
Mrs. Connie Hanson, an evangelical Presbyterian and president of Christians Caring for Creation, in Pasadena, California said: “Climate change is already disrupting the lives of many people and it is threatening many of God’s precious creatures, often the most vulnerable of the Lord’s children.”
The Rev. Richard Cizik, former vice president for the National Association of Evangelicals, said: “this is not a matter of political persuasion so much as moral leadership.”
Eastern Orthodox Christians are also concerned about climate change. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has convened a series of international symposia to study environmental challenges declared that climate change is “a profoundly moral and spiritual problem.” “We urge every person to realize their responsibility and to do whatever they can to avert the increase of the earth’s temperature.”
The Rev. John Chryssavgis, of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese stated: There is no longer room for negotiating with nature. We must assume courageous initiatives toward the treatment of the earth’s resources and assume leadership in supporting the burden of the poor.”
Rabbi Warren Stone, who serves as co-chair for the NRCC urged: “We are called by our religious traditions to serve as a bold voice for justice. Climate change will have a dramatic impact on hundreds of millions of the poorest people on our planet, especially those who live in coastal areas.
“In Judaism there is a profound and powerful mandate for caring for the Earth. In a world where matters of faith so often and so tragically to divide us, there is no issue that aligns us more deeply than our shared dependence upon and sacred responsibility to this tiny planet, enfolded within its fragile atmosphere, spinning in the vastness of time and space,” states Rabbi Stone.
“It is our moral responsibility to the world community,” continued Rabbi Stone, “to take decisive action now! A treaty and legislation, though helpful, will not be enough. We need to change our way of life toward sustainability. Religious communities understand the importance of spiritual values as guiding our choices. We need to shift the way we live toward more sustainability. Our common future demands nothing less. Now is the time for a cultural shift in our way of living.”