One by one: church leaders speak out on climate change

NEWS | Tess Holgate
Wednesday 15 July 2015

Religious leaders around the world keep coming out in support of efforts to reduce or combat climate change.

“I think a lot of religious leaders are becoming aware of the dire situation we’re in environmentally,” says Thea Ormerod, Chair of the multi-faith organisation Australian Religious Responses to Climate Change. “I think they’re trying to alert Christians, to put it on the radar. [They’re] trying to wake people up a bit, this a call for here and now, [a call] to make some real sacrifices.”icerbergs

Last month Pope Francis released his encyclical on climate change. On Monday, Archbishop of the Church of England Justin Welby pledged to fast and pray for action on climate change and the success of the United Nations Paris talks about the reduction of carbon emissions in late November. He urged 70 million Anglicans worldwide to do the same.

Closer to home, Dr Philip Freier, the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne and Primate of the Anglican Church in Australia and Dr Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Archbishop of Anglican Church of South Africa and the Primate of Southern Africa wrote a piece for Fairfax media over the weekend that celebrated both the Pope’s encyclical and the Church of England pledge.

They urged “the faithful to remind their leaders of the moral imperative to act now in order to put the world on track towards slowing the devastating impacts of climate change.”

Ormerod says, “this is [the kind of response] we were hoping for. It’s well and truly a good start.

“It would be great if they became more and more specific. We should stop digging up coal, burning it and investing in coal mining. Stop subsidies for coal seam gas mining.

“It’s immoral to be accelerating coal mining and coal seam gas mining instead of winding it back when we know what we know about the implications of burning fossil fuels.

“We’re complicit in enormous destruction of this planet.”

Real change comes slowly, but Ormerod believes that it is happening, gradually. “The Holy Spirit is alive and well and working. I’m pleased to see this leadership. This is part of the groundswell happening around the world.”

She says these statements are important for Christians to listen to.

“If we want to worship God and state that God is important in our lives then it doesn’t make sense to be trashing his gift of creation,” says Ormerod.

Image: McKay Savage on Flickr, used under CC License.

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