Climate change is at its root a spiritual crisis

Member churches of the World Council of
Churches (WCC) in Canada join hands with faith leaders, politicians and public representatives to stress a “moral responsibility to address global warming”,which they call “a spiritual crisis”. Together they prepared a “Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change” on the occasion of the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2011 (COP 17).

Leading up to the events of COP 17 in
Durban, South Africa from 28 November to 9 December 2011, this is one of the
first times when a broad interfaith effort to write a common letter from faith
leaders in Canada. These deliberations were undertaken at an event organized by
the Commission on Justice and Peace of the Canadian Council
of Churches
from 23-24 October in Ottawa.

The Canadian Council of Churches represents
around 23 denominations from the Anglican, Evangelical, Catholic, Reformed,
Free Church, and Eastern and Oriental Orthodox traditions, making up about 85%
of the Christians in Canada.

Participants from diverse faith
perspectives joined their voices with the interfaith signatories of this
document in addressing the larger context of the United Nations:

“As you carry out your responsibilities at
the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate (COP 17), we urge you to
honour the values and adopt the policy goals we have described… [because] we
believe these to be practical and critical measures necessary to secure the
well-being of the planet for future generations of life.”

The WCC programme executives on climate
change, Dr Guillermo Kerber praises these initiatives by the churches in
Canada. He says, “WCC member churches have joined other religious organizations
highlighting the spiritual implications of the consequences of climate change.
We are listening to the calls coming from churches who are suffering already
the consequences of climate change, as recently in Tuvalu.”

Kerber considers these efforts from the
religious leaders as attempts to create a positive impact at the COP 17
conference in Durban.

“As we approach COP 17, statements like the
one produced by Canadian churches can help show the concerns of faith
communities. In Durban an interfaith rally and celebration is being organized
by the ecumenical and religious actors. The WCC will be offering a side event
at the official venue on 7 December together with Caritas
International
and Religions for
Peace
, addressing religious implications of climate change,”
says Kerber.