Faith-based Organizations Advocate for Climate Justice

Presented by the World Council of Churches (WCC), Action by Churches Together (ACT Alliance), and Caritas Internationalis (CI)

ENB on the side
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
December 8, 2010

This event discussed the work of faith-based organizations in the context of climate change.

Martina Liebsch, CI, reminded participants that climate policy is about people and working towards “climate justice.” She said the key message of the event is to adopt a new paradigm for “reconciliation with creation.”

Salvador Urteaga Gutieírrez, Comisión Episcopal para la Pastoral Social (CEPS), discussed the destruction caused by natural disasters resulting from climate change, saying CEPS is committed to investing in caring for the poor affected by these events.

Carlos Javier Cardenas Martínez, Council of Protestant Churches of Nicaragua (CEPAD), emphasized addressing climate change as a matter of justice. He highlighted the ACT Alliance’s efforts on health, resilience and relief efforts at the community level and underlined the importance of technology transfer, early warning systems and capacity building.

Recalling the 2010 Cochabamba Declaration, Abraham Colque Jimenez, Instituto Superior Ecuménico Andino de Teología (ISEAT), called for: a climate justice tribunal; and all churches to invest in “eco-centric spirituality” by supporting government bodies to take greater responsibility in caring for the earth.

M. Abdus Sabur, Asian Muslim Action Network, said the Qur’an states that ownership of resources belong to the creator, and although everyone has the right to these resources, they must leave them intact. He expressed the Muslim community's interest in working on a common vision towards climate change, but that more information and translation into Asian languages was needed to involve local communities. He described his Network’s consultations on climate change which highlighted the need for water and land rights.

In the discussion, the audience highlighted: the role churches can play in working with scholars to develop a moral and ethical language for the UNFCCC delegates; using congregations as the vehicle to facilitate behavior change to address climate change; overpopulation; and the responsibility and opportunity for faith-based organizations to learn the science of climate change.