Porto Alegre, Brazil
The top official of the World Council of Churches says climate change represents one of humanity’s most dire threats and he has appealed to denominations around the world to speak with one voice to alert political leaders to tackle the issue.
“Just as atomic weapons changed the very way we thought about life, so too the potential of major climatic changes put life as we know it in danger” said Rev. Samuel Kobia, WCC general secretary, in his report presented to the ninth assembly of the church grouping held here.
“This is not an issue for the future: severe consequences are already being experienced by millions of people,” said Mr. Kobia. “We can prevent catastrophic climate change if we find effective ways of combining the voice of the churches with others who can make a difference. We must call on all Christian churches to speak to the world with one voice on addressing the threat of climate change.”
The theme of the WCC gathering was “God, in your grace, transform the world,” and Mr. Kobia in his report said that human beings had abused God’s gift of life.
“Our very climate is in jeopardy. In an era where there is more than enough food to go around many times over, 852 million people across the world are hungry, up from 842 million in 2003,” he noted. Still, he said, “Seen with the eyes of faith, we ourselves, and this world, can and must be transformed.”
The issue of climate change also featured in a message sent to the WCC gathering by Patriarch Bartholomeos I, seen by many as the leader of Eastern Orthodox Christians worldwide, and who is sometimes called the Green Patriarch because of his support for the environmental cause.
He said he would support the efforts undertaken by the WCC for “the protection of creation which is a gift of God entrusted to humanity.”