In a lecture held at Lambeth Palace as part of a two day visit, the 'green patriarch' spoke of the ethical and honourable obligation ahead of COP21:
"It is not too late to act, but we cannot afford to wait. We all agree on the necessity to protect the planet's natural resources …. and we are all in this together." The Patriarch urged cities, governments and individuals to voice opinions, make decisions and act to drive a new environmental ethos.
The Archbishop of Canterbury praised the Ecumenical Patriarch for his ministry on the environment saying: "Our guest today has committed his ministry to a concern for God's creation. Over the years, his Religion, Science and Environment initiatives which have involved many here today have brought together some of the leading experts in those fields to look in detail at how humanity is affecting God's world. Your All Holiness, it is a great privilege and joy to have you with us today."
The Archbishop went on to say: "We are only too aware through our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion of how climate change is already affecting often the poorest around the world - those who demand the least of resources and yet find those increasingly hard to attract."
The Ecumenical Patriarch, said: "Basic human rights such as access to water, clean air and sufficient food should be available to everyone without distinction or discrimination. We are convinced that we cannot separate our concern for human dignity, human rights or social justice from the concern for ecological preservation and sustainability."
The Bishop of Salisbury and lead Bishop on the environment for the Church of England, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam said: "Global warming is a moral crisis. We are the first generation to understand the impact of our decisions on the environment and would be the first generation to knowingly look away if we fail to act. We stand at a critical moment in history to protect our planet. The future is in our hands and the choice is ours at COP21."
The full Lambeth Lecture on the Environment is available by clicking here.
France will be hosting the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from November 30th to December 11th. COP21 will be a crucial conference, as it needs to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C. More details about the conference are available here.
More information about the work of the Church of England's environmental campaign Shrinking the Footprint is available here.
Details about the Pilgrimage2Paris taking place between November 13th and 27th ahead of the Paris climate summit is available here.