‘Responding to climate change is a matter of loving your neighbour’
The World Evangelical Alliance “welcomes” Pope Francis’ encyclical and the media attention it has had. “Climate change is real and it is a threat to the integrity of the planet’s ecosystems.”
NEW YORK · 30 JUNE 2015 · 12:57 CET
The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) believes that everyone should get involved in creation care, and therefore “welcomes” Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home’ as a “theologically rich and morally challenging document.”
In a statement, WEA’s secretary General Efraim Tendero encouraged all Christians to “actively engage in these conversations and highlight our clear Biblical mandate to care for the gift of creation that God has entrusted to us.”
Tendero drew a line connecting pollution and its effects on those living in the poorest areas of the world. “Climate change, pollution, and other actions that degrade our air, rivers, oceans, forests, and soils disproportionally affect the poor. Responding to those challenges is therefore also a matter of loving our neighbor and speaking up for the vulnerable,” Tendero said.
WEA’S POSITION: “CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL”
Although some evangelicals still hold to a position which denies the effects of climate change, the WEA was specific on this: “The WEA’s position on climate change is clear, climate change is real and it is a threat to the integrity of the planet’s ecosystems, and thus a threat to human wellbeing”, said Dr. Chris Elisara, Chair of the Creation Care Task Forces (launched by the WEA in 2012).
“Whether one believes that human causes are a major contributing factor or not, we have a Biblical and moral responsibility to work toward a just, equitable, and ecologically sustainable way of living”, he concluded.
MEDIA ATTENTION FOR ENCYCICLICAL IS GOOD NEWS
Having this in mind, the WEA “welcomes not only the timely publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical with its urgent call to care for creation and respond to today’s ecological challenges and crises, but also the media attention it has received and the conversations it has stirred up,” WEA’s statement added.
YEARS OF EVANGELICAL WORK ON CREATION CARE
The WEA represents 600 million evangelicals worldwide, and has launched several initiatives in the last years to raise awareness about environmental issues.
In 2008, the organisation issued a statement on “The Care of Creation”, in 2009 the Micah Challenge initiative published the “Declaration on Creation Stewardship and Climate Change”, and in 2012 the WEA issued a joint document with the Lausanne Movement: “A Call to Action: Creation Care and the Gospel”.