Faith groups are joining the conversation on climate change as the consequences of rampant fossil fuel consumption become increasingly apparent.
On Wednesday, the Church of England overwhelmingly voted to review the ethical permissibility of its fossil fuel investments, while in the US a coalition of American faith leaders are preparing for a national three-day “Preach-In” on climate change to be held over the weekend.
In the UK, the Church of England’s announcement included one bishop describing climate change as “a great demon of our day”.
Steven Croft, the bishop of Sheffield said:
[Climate change is] a giant evil; a great demon of our day… Its power is fed by greed, blindness and complacency in the present generation, and we know that this giant wreaks havoc through the immense power of the weather systems, which are themselves unpredictable.
The move was welcomed by faith campaigners. Dr Isabel Carter, Chair of Operation Noah, a group campaigning for faith organisations to divest from fossil fuels said:
Today the Church of England has taken the first step to re-engaging with the issue of climate change. This vote commits the Church to seriously consider how its investments reflect the urgency of climate change, including the option of disinvestment from fossil fuels. As Canon Goddard’s resolution made very clear we need to make a series of radical transformations in our economy and society if we are to avert catastrophic and uncontrolled changes to the climate system. That is going to require leadership from the Church.
As for the three-day “Preach-In” on climate change to be held over the weekend in the US, organisers expect the “Preach-In” to galvanize grassroots action on climate change among faith communities.
This three day event in the US comes after 15 representatives from US faith communities testified in favour of higher carbon standards at a Environmental Protection Agency hearing.
In all, these actions show that faith groups are increasingly speaking out about the threat of climate change and using a moral and spiritual lens to do so.