In recent years we have seen the ways in which diverse coalitions including religious organizations are living their convictions as they seek to divest from fossil fuels. We have seen this effort grow at both national and local levels. The rational for divestment in faith communities is powerfullly compelling. The Anglican Diocese of Montreal along with other dioceses across Canada and around the world have passed resolutions to divest from fossil fuels.
We cannot ignore the fact that creation is under threat from climate change and environmental degradation. People of faith and others must unite to address these issues. A 2014 statement from Episcopal, Anglican and Luthran leaders calls us to come together to safeguard God's creation.
As Christian leaders...Our traditions drive us to address the interrelated problems of climate change, environmental degradation, hunger and poverty...we stand at a crossroads, facing choices that have the potential to reverse the course of our changing climate and bring forth abundant and life-giving communities. Though we represent different religious institutions, we share a common goal, and recognize that time is short to achieve it. We all know that to protect the poorest we must protect the climate....With our faith at the forefront, we must do what is necessary to protect and care for creation.The statement specifically references inclusive actions like the People's Climate March alongside the efforts of faith groups:
Right now, faith communities around the world are coming together in energetic ways to call on world leaders to address the impacts of climate change on our most vulnerable brothers and sisters, and to protect God’s creation.They also refer to a joint message in which they called for individual climate action from members of our churches:
Last fall, we jointly issued a message calling on the members of our churches to respond to the challenge of climate change and to acknowledge the role that each of us plays in contributing to the problem, as consumers, as investors and as citizens. While the challenges our world faces are daunting, we see abundant opportunities for all to act imaginatively and courageously in our individual callings.They also stressed the need to work together to address the size and scale of the problem saying, "we also have the responsibility to act together for the common good". They mention Pope Francis' Encyclical and his call to all people:
Pope Francis calls on all of us, not just Roman Catholics, to concern ourselves with the fate of our common home, and to "cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents."The statement concludes by addressing the ways in which we can collaborate at multiple levels to address the problem that we have created:
The stakes are high, but the opportunities for cooperation among individuals, churches and governments are significant. Over the past century, we have burned fossil fuels with little concern for their impacts. This moment is a critical one so we must act together in solidarity with God’s good creation and in hope for our shared future.
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori is the presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church. Bishop Elizabeth Eaton is presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz is primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. Bishop Susan Johnson is national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.