Sr. Jecinter Antoinette Okoth, FSSA
As Christians across the globe commence a month-long season of creation, an annual event aimed to “renew relationship with our Creator and all creation through celebration, conversion, and commitment,” Pope Francis and two other Religious leaders have called for global cooperation on environmental sustainability and pray for world leaders prior to the upcoming 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) late this year.
In a joint statement released Tuesday, September 7, Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew 1 of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby noted that, “The current climate crisis speaks volumes about who we are and how we view and treat God’s creation.”
“We stand before a harsh justice: biodiversity loss, environmental degradation and climate change are the inevitable consequences of our actions, since we have greedily consumed more of the earth’s resources than the planet can endure,” reads an excerpt of the statement.
Expressing the effects of Covid-19 worldwide calamity that call for global cooperation, the Christian leaders acknowledged that the pandemic has affected all people “whether poor or wealthy, weak or strong, and no one is safe until everyone is safe.”
They said, “These crises present us with a choice. We are in a unique position either to address them with shortsightedness and profiteering or seize this as an opportunity for conversion and transformation.”
In their first ever collective statement the Christian leaders disclosed, “If we think of humanity as a family and work together towards a future based on the common good, we could find ourselves living in a very different world.”
They added, “Together we can share a vision for life where everyone flourishes. Together we can choose to act with love, justice and mercy. Together we can walk towards a fairer and fulfilling society with those who are most vulnerable at the center.”
They call upon each individual to take responsibility noting that “This path requires an ever-closer collaboration among all churches in their commitment to care for creation. Together, as communities, churches, cities and nations, we must change route and discover new ways of working together to break down the traditional barriers between peoples, to stop competing for resources and start collaborating.”
Addressing leaders of various organizations in their Tuesday statement, the religious leaders asked those heading institutions, running companies, employing people or investment funds to “choose people-centered profits; make short-term sacrifices to safeguard all our futures; become leaders in the transition to just and sustainable economies.”
The forthcoming Cop26 is to be held in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November. It aims at bringing together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners so as to agree on coordinated actions to tackle climate change.
The Religious leaders pray for the leaders who will gather for the event to decide the future of our planet and its people as noting that being a critical moment, caring for God’s creation calls for “spiritual commission requiring a response of commitment” and that “all of us “can play a part in changing our collective response to the unprecedented threat of climate change and environmental degradation.”