19 June 2012
On the eve of the United Nations Rio+20 Conference (June 20-22)
church leaders are calling for action on sustainable development
now to protect future generations.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has recorded a
video message in advance of the conference on
Sustainable Development and asks "What kind of world do we want to
leave to our children?"
The CofE's diocesan environment officers have issued a public
statement "at a time of immense and grave challenge" following last
week's national conference in Bristol.
"We urge the church to re-engage with God's Creation at a time
of immense and grave challenge. We remind ourselves of the
need to act humbly but fairly in living more lightly on the earth
as we face increasing poverty, inequality and environmental
destruction. These days we recall the huge pressures on the
planet - climate change, growing population linked to unsustainable
economic growth, damage to ecosystems and loss of biodiversity,
amongst others - and re-affirm that our biblical heritage pushes us
towards radical action to care about the whole created world and to
share more equitably the resources God offers to all
"We echo the recent words of the Ecumenical Patriarch, that
'the world is a sacred place, as well as our home'
and urge the church to develop partnerships of action with others
to continue to address these pressing issues.
"Indeed, some of us recognise that our Christian communities are
called to be "counter cultural in our challenge to the current
creed of everlasting growth" (Bishop James Jones) that prompts the
greed which is driving untold harm to the Earth's resource base. We
cannot sustain current aspirations to infinite economic gain on a
"It is clear that vulnerable communities are already
experiencing displacement and death and future generations will be
facing immense challenges. It is vital that world leaders at Rio
take action now if the growing threats to the planet's ecology are
to be halted and reversed and we move towards a more
environmentally sustainable society."
David Shreeve, the Church of England's national environment
adviser said: "Our DEOs are at the front line putting the Church of
England's environmental commitments into action. With the
encouragement of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Rio message, DEO's
are looking to their churches and dioceses to support their role in
developing and supporting local awareness and action."
The Church of England is commited to act in reducing its
carbon emissions by 42% by 2020 through projects in each diocese,
parish and school to make energy savings, introduce efficiencies
and develop appropriate renewable energy resources as part of the
national 'Shrinking the Footprint' campaign. www.shrinkingthefootprint.org