Advocacy of religious leaders: Save our common home
Lutherans join world religious leaders in Vatican to sign appeal to governments ahead of COP26 climate summit
(LWI) – “We have inherited a garden: we must not leave a desert to our children.” This stern warning was at the heart of a joint call from leaders of all faith communities around the world who gathered at the Vatican on October 4, ahead of the COP climate summit due to open in Glasgow at the end of the year. month. The call highlights the consensus among scientists that urgent action is needed to limit the increase in Earth’s temperature to 1.5 degrees, in order to avoid a climate catastrophe.
The General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Reverend Martin Junge and Presiding Bishop Dr Frederick Shoo of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) were among 40 religious leaders from around the world who have joined the Pope François to sign the appeal to governments. and policymakers, urging them to take more ambitious action and cooperate more effectively to reduce global warming.
The meeting, titled “Faith and Science: Towards COP26”, was the culmination of months of online meetings between religious leaders and top climate scientists. The event was organized by the Vatican, in partnership with the British and Italian Embassies to the Holy See, with the aim of mobilizing religious communities around the world. It included a symbolic tree-planting ceremony, with each religious leader adding a handful of soil to an olive tree, to be planted in the Vatican Gardens.
Reduce emissions, protect vulnerable people
Speaking on behalf of the World Fellowship of Lutheran Churches, Junge said the joint appeal sends a clear message that “people of goodwill from all sectors of society can unite, act, work together now “. A few weeks before COP26, he said, “we are together in our call to the community of states: to ensure that emissions are drastically reduced, to protect and support vulnerable people”.
Building on his long-standing commitment to creation, Junge said the LWF is committed to endowing member churches “with the spiritual and theological resources to inspire action to combat climate change and to support communities. communities affected by climate-related disasters ”. In addition, he said, the LWF is committed to “deepening existing ecumenical and interfaith cooperation” and “amplifying and promoting the voices of young people, and supporting religious leaders in their advocacy for justice. climate ”.
Bishop Shoo of Tanzania, invited because of his pioneering work in the fight against climate change, noted that he has been nicknamed “the bishop of trees” because of his efforts to mobilize local communities to plant trees on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. He recalled Martin Luther’s words: “Even if I knew I would die tomorrow, I would plant a tree today,” adding that all children who attend confirmation classes are now required to plant trees and to learn about the climate crisis. He concluded with an appeal to the heads of government: “Let us save our common home, before it is too late.
Moral obligation to take care of creation
The joint appeal was signed by Christian leaders of Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Protestant and Reformed traditions, as well as representatives of the Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain religious communities. Other religious leaders, who were unable to attend the meeting, sent video messages, while the rally also heard from a young Italian woman, Federica Gasbarro, representing the delegates of a Youth for Climate meeting that s ‘was held in Milan the previous week.
The declaration was handed over by Pope Francis to British politician Alok Sharma, president of the COP26 summit, and to Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio. The UK and Italy are co-hosting the summit in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12. LWF will be represented at the meeting by a delegation of young climate activists from different regions, alongside its experts on climate justice, youth and global advocacy.
The call highlights the interdependence of people and the planet, highlighting the need for “deeper solidarity in the face of the global pandemic” and the growing climate crisis. He notes that the poorest people, especially women and children in the most vulnerable countries, are most affected by the crisis and calls for a change in the current discourse on economic development. “We are not unlimited masters of our planet and its resources,” the statement said. “We are the guardians of the natural environment with the vocation to take care of it for future generations and the moral obligation to cooperate in the healing of the planet.
FLM / P. Hitchen