THE IPCC report on the effects of climate change makes depressing, but hardly surprising, reading.
The 300 authors make clear that the planet is already suffering major damage, as Arctic sea ice continues to melt, glaciers retreat, deserts expand, and extreme weather events become ever more common.
Christians have a particular duty to care for the environment, as we believe this is God's creation, and humans, as part of the created order, have a special role in caring for it.
Further, we are also called to work with the poorest and most marginalised people on the planet, who have been most affected by climate change, as agriculture becomes more difficult and global food stocks are threatened. We are all interdependent and no one will be immune from the impact of the global rise in temperatures.
Eco-Congregation Ireland (ECI) was founded in 2005 by the largest churches on this island to encourage individual Christians and congregations to take practical steps to reduce our carbon footprint. The effects of individual communities are small, but together we can make a real difference — especially if governments and corporations can be persuaded to take large-scale action.
Therefore, just as we have called on the churches to take action on environmental matters, so we are now calling on both governments, north and south, to set out a comprehensive strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take steps to plan to ameliorate the impact of this crisis.
The time of talking and vague aspirations is past. What is needed is definitive action to deal with the most serious crisis of our time.
Rev Andrew Orr, (Chair of Eco-Congregation Ireland and Church of Ireland representative)
Sr Catherine Brennan SSL (Roman Catholic Church)
Gillian Armstrong (Religious Society of Friends)
Rev John Purdy (Methodist Church in Ireland)
Joe Furphy (Presbyterian Church in Ireland)
Fiona Murdoch, (Communications officer, ECI)