Interfaith submission to Talanoa Dialogue calls for respecting Mother Earth

By agency reporter
November 30, 2018

A network of faith-based organisations, including the World Council of Churches (WCC), has released a submission to the Talanoa Dialogue. The title of the submission is: 'Respecting Mother Earth and caring for ecological systems, the most vulnerable communities and all future generations.'

'Talanoa' a traditional word used in Fiji and across the Pacific, reflects a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, build empathy and make wise decisions for the collective good.

In January, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), launched a portal to support the Talanoa Dialogue, an international conversation in which countries are checking progress and seeking to increase global ambition to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

In the submission, faith-based organisations and faith communities reflect that they have been engaged with climate change policy and action for many years as a peace and justice concern.

“Millions of our members, constituencies, partners and communities are on the front line of the adverse impacts of climate change to humans and the ecosystems on which our lives depend”, the submission reads. “Already we face unprecedented changes that have left communities extremely vulnerable, threatening loss of life, health, human mobility, cultural heritage, and livelihoods.”

The Rev.Henrik Grape, coordinator of the WCC Working Group on Climate Change, said it is remarkable that so many organisations from different religions are devoted to working on climate change and willing to come together in a document like this. “It is encouraging to see that there is a joint movement in the faith communities to deal with the common future”, he said, “and, as it is said in the submission,‘Love, rather than fear, can still lead humanity through this crisis’.”

There is also a clear vision for a more just and equitable world and care for the most vulnerable, Grape added. “I hope that this submission can be a sign of hope  for a better common future and to inspire people of all faiths to jointly work to overcome the injustice that is revealed in the climate challenge.”

The signatories express concern that many economic and development models remain carbon and pollution intensive. “People in poorer countries experience greater threats to their lives and livelihoods, yet have few resources to support their resilience”, the submission notes. “There are many unkept promises, shockingly low financial help, and little accountability for actions.”

An important tenant of the submission acknowledges that faith communities repeat the wisdom of ancestors. “Faith communities seek a new way of living together on this earth that requires a new way of thinking and a new way of understanding”, reads the submission. “With 84 per cent of the world’s population identifying itself as belonging to a faith, and with houses of worship existing in nearly every settlement on the planet, we have great potential for leadership in transformation.”

* The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 110 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

* World Council of Churches http://www.oikoumene.org/en


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