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Christian responses to environmental concerns

The National Council of Churches
and various inter-faith groups

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The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC),

The NCC is the leading force within the ecumenical movement of Christianity in the U.S. It is an organization consisting of Anglican, Orthodox, mainline Protestant and liberal Protestant denominations in the USA. Conservative Protestant faith groups generally are members of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). The NCC is fraternally related to the World Council of Churches.

Among the NCC’s contributions is extensive work on environmental, peace and social justice issues. Its eco-justice programs include biodiversity, climate and energy, consumerism, green buildings, land, and water.  As of 2007-MAR, current eco-justice programs include:

bullet Promotion of Earth Day Sunday. This:

"Includes background information, sermon starters, ideas for youth and adult study, suggestions for individual and congregational action, sample liturgies, and a bulletin insert, as well as an opportunity to engage your elected officials concerning the farm bill."

bullet An eco-justice sermon writing contest.
bullet A report describing how churches can save money and protect the environment.
bullet Promoting a series of Adamah (Hebrew for Earth) congregations who take on environmental challenges.
bullet Promoting the "Step It Up 2007" demonstrations. This is a U.S. - wide attempt to pressure congress into cutting carbon usage by 80% by 2050.
bullet Advertising upcoming events that promote eco-justice. 1

A number of NCC-affiliated denominations  provide have "social and environmental justice e-advocacy tools or action networks."

bullet Presbyterian Church (USA) Legislative Action Center
bullet ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) Advocacy
bullet UCC (United Church of Christ) Take Action
bullet UM Power (United Methodist) Action Center
bullet Episcopal Public Policy Network 2

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Interfaith activity:

The Interfaith Climate and Energy Campaign, sponsored by a collaboration of the NCC, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life commissioned a document "The Cry of Creation: A Call for Climate Justice." It was published by Earth Ministry in 2003-OCT. It documents how climate change and global warming are a threat to all people and all creation. 3 Some of the points raised by the document are:

bullet Global climate change is not about economic theory, political platforms, partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God’s creation and the one human family.
bullet We have a moral obligation to Third World nations who have toiled and have polluted and depleted their own resources to feed our consumption.
bullet Action to mitigate global climate change must be built upon a foundation of social and economic justice that does not put the poor at greater risk, or place disproportionate and unfair burdens on developing nations.
bullet If we are to reduce energy consumption in a way that preserves the best parts of industrial civilization, we have to start now. Now, while we are still sufficiently energy-rich and material-rich to afford the high cost of technological development and to buy time for the changes we need in public attitudes towards energy use.
bullet We consume far more than we need to of almost everything: Food, space, material goods, and energy. More and more people have to take themselves off the consumption treadmill. However, there are still people who cannot imagine life without low-price gas, cheap imports, and the produce of factory farms.
bullet The great bulk of buying and the power not to spend is under our control.
bullet Lowering consumption would reduce exploitation of children and semi-slave laborers in the Third World countries, and would slow depletion of global resources. It would narrow the gap between the rich and the poor.
bullet Consumerism identifies a lifestyle in which a large number of individuals obtain more than is needed, more than is necessary for fulfillment, and more than Gods Earth can sustain. It is covered by the document Responsible Purchasing by Cassandra Carmichael.  
bullet A scant 20% of the world’s people, most of whom are North Americans, earn 86% of the income, consume 80% of the world’s resources, and create 83% of the world’s waste.
bullet We have a culture that values marketing more than meaning.
bullet A growing number of religious leaders cite consumerism as the Earth’s greatest problem.
bullet Purchasing responsibility is one very important way to care for the Earth and its inhabitants.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Eco-Justice Programs: Justice for God's planet and God's people," National Council of Churches, at: http://www.nccecojustice.org/
  2. "Activist's Toolbox" and "E-Advocacy," National Council of Churches, at: http://www.nccecojustice.org
  3. Michael Schut & Tanya Marcovna Barnett, "The Cry of Creation: A Call for Climate Justice." Booklet & study guide, Earth Ministry, (2003). Purchase at: http://earthministry.org/ Online at: http://www.protectingcreation.org/ This is a PDF file. You may require software to read it. Software can be obtained free from: 

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Copyright © 2006 by Vladimir Tomek
Original publishing date: 2006-AUG-16
Latest update on: 2006-AUG-27
Author. Vladimir Tomek, with some input from B.A. Robinson

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