Several Swiss evangelical organisations that are members of the Swiss Climate Alliance, have recently launched the Declaration for Christian action on climate change.
The declaration “is a clear affirmation of the climate emergency that all humanity has entered, and of the spiritual, ethical, civic and environmental responsibility that Christian churches and communities and their members haveto actin the face of this threat”.
The text “aims to unite Christians who share this urgency in taking a committed stand for resolute climate action”.
“A tool to raise awareness of the danger of climate crisis”
They hope that the declaration will become “a tool to raise awareness of the danger of a serious climate crisis that is almost certain to occur, but which we can alleviate if we act quickly”.
The declaration starts with a preamble that summarises the text and its scope. Then, it explains the scientific consensus on the urgency of climate change, the predictions of the earth’s climate change and its consequences.
It continues with the biblical basis for a determined action against global warming. The last 2 parts of the declaration suggest ways in which individuals and the church can take action, and present key scientific and theological references on the subject.
The declaration warns that climate change “threatens the survival of a large part of the ecosystems and the species living on Earth, including humans and will have dramatic repercussions on the resources essential to human societies”.
“Decisive action against climate change means taking seriously the rigorous scientific observations and the unanimous conclusions of specialists, as they are taken seriously in so many other areas of our lives”, it adds.
The document also stresses that Chistians and churches “have a duty to make a firm commitment to counter global warming, both in word (affirming the urgency of the situation and the actions needed) and in deed”.
And it continues: “Given their global presence and influence on society, their role can be decisive, particularly in education, justice, resilient economics, conservation of living species, and the adoption of sober and sharing lifestyles”.
“This is an ethical duty to our descendants and to all of creation. It is to show love to our neighbour. It is to act justly for those who suffer and will suffer from its consequences”, points out the declaration.
Cover of the declaration for Christian action on climate change launched by Swiss evangelicals. / Alliance Climatique Suisse.
It reminds Christians that “Jesus Christ calls us to live and reflect the Kingdom of God here on earth, working for the protection of all creatures, and to love our neighbours, in time and space, without fatalism or desertion”.
According to the document, “our praise of God is also about respecting what He has created. Global warming caused by humans is endangering many of the Earth’s balances. If we love God, we must act”
It also underlines that “churches, as the body of Christ on earth, have a special responsibility […] the Lord expects us to practice justice, that is why we are called to fight for greater climate justice”.
“How can we claim to be imitators of Christ and leave to our descendants an Earth ravaged by global warming? The love of our neighbour commands and pushes us to take care of what ensures a dignified life for our fellow human beings, now and in the future: the Earth’s climate”, points out the declaration.
Concrete and effective actions
“Concrete and effective actions are within our reach and await only our will and desire to act. There are no more excuses for not acting decisively”, says the declaration.
It encourages churches and Christians to act at their level and with other actors of civil society, “through lifestyle choices oriented towards reducing their own CO2 emissions”.
They also recommend a change in the consumption patterns “towards goods made with respect for people and the environment, from renewable or recycled sources”.
The declaration emphasises the importance of a “fair sharing with poor regions that aspire to a better life, yet are the first victims of global warming”.
It finally suggests to support politicians committed “to move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energies, in sufficient abundance to meet the needs of all”.
“The time to act is now and we must take this Biblical mandate to heart. We have little time left. Let’s get to work”,concludes the declaration.
You can read the full declaration here (in French)