Faith leaders’ statement on the season

September 9, 2019

OUR COMMON HOME IS BURNING:

Season of Creation 2019 Statement and Call to Action

With each passing day, it becomes increasingly clear that we live in a decisive time for the climate crisis. Across Latin America and Africa and around the globe, precious rainforests are burning at terrifying rates. Scientific analysis and tragic first-hand testimonies also continue to reveal the scale of the crisis, with record-setting heat waves, deadly droughts, and dangerous storms affecting people and places around the world. Most distressingly, the effects of climate change are not felt equally. Disadvantaged and vulnerable people, subsistence farmers, women and girls, and indigenous communities are likely to bear the worst effects of the climate crisis. Experts agree that we are facing a tipping point, with significant changes needed by 2020 if we are to avert a disaster.

As Christian leaders, we believe that we must care for God’s creation as faithful stewards. We believe that we must protect the poor and vulnerable, who are at risk from starvation, conflict, and sickness that climate change brings. We believe that we must protect the intrinsic value of creation and the natural world, as each species gives glory to God through its existence. Lastly, we believe that we must address climate change for future generations. We must stand in intergenerational solidarity and act now to protect the earth for our children and the generations that will come after us.

Each year from September 1 through October 4 Christians around the world celebrate the Season of Creation, a time for us to pray and reflect on the beauty of creation and engage in prophetic advocacy for our common home. For this year’s Season of Creation, we focus on protecting biodiversity and the web of life, recognizing that we are one piece of the integrated creation. It is increasingly clear that we risk losing one million species as a result of our current lifestyles, and that protecting nature is vital to sequester carbon and reduce the effects of climate change. To this end we urge our Christian family to join us in lifting up our prophetic voice in solidarity with our youth, our forests, and those struggling against mines in Australia.

During this Season of Creation, may we deepen our bonds of love across the Christian family to face this planetary crisis together. For we know that with God “all things are possible” (Mt 19:26). May our Creator God give us the courage to speak out and act boldly for the protection of our common home for current and future generations.

ADVOCACY ACTION ONE: Join the Global Climate Strikes

It is fitting that during this Season of Creation, on September 20 and 27, young people and their allies will strike for their future and call on world leaders to address climate change. We encourage Christians around the world to stand in solidarity with those striking for the climate by participating in the upcoming demonstrations and signing onto this multi-faith letter in support of the strikes. Whether by holding a noonday prayer service or marching in the streets, Christians’ witness to the climate crisis is essential. We ask all to pray for those at the strikes and to examine our own choices as those to whom the Earth was given not only to till, but to protect. We urge our political leaders to respond to the demands of young people and their allies, to recognize the depth and scale of the climate crisis, and to take bold action to enact a just transition that reduces emissions to keep global warming below 1.5C.

ADVOCACY ACTION TWO: Sign up to support the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative

Although the fires in the Amazon, Alaska and Central Africa may be far from where we live, our actions can have an impact. The crises are being made worse by deforestation caused by the global demand for beef. With more than 41,000 fires in the Amazon rainforests in that past 8 months only, millions of people have been directly impacted and dozens of thousands of plant, animal and fish species have been affected.

Our colleagues at the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative, a UNEP managed project, at the margins of Religions for Peace Summit, have launched a short movie on the Initiative calling all people around the world to protect rainforests in their #FaithsForForests campaign. We encourage all people of faith to join this important initiative to protect these precious biomes.

ADVOCACY ACTION THREE: Sign the faith leaders open letter to the CEO of Adani Mines.

In Australia, the climate movement has been battling a new coal mine proposed by Indian billionaire Gautam Adani. Adani’s Carmichael mine on its own, when fully developed, would add significantly to global carbon emissions. However, its full significance is that, because of the associated rail line, it would open up a whole new coal frontier in the Galilee Basin in Queensland, comprising up to nine mega-scale coal mines.These mines could potentially have combined peak production of 330 mega-tonnes of coal per year, contributing 705 mega-tonnes of CO2 of emissions per year. If this were a country, it would be the world’s 7th largest emitter.[1]

This would total 6% of the world’s remaining global carbon budget for staying under the crucial 1.5°C threshold. Adding coal from the Galilee Basin to global markets would drive the international price of coal down[2] making it more cost-competitive with renewables for longer than would otherwise be the case. This would delay the widespread uptake of solar and wind – which the world cannot afford to do.