Ecumenical declaration at World People's Conference on Climate Change
22 April 2010
Listening to the cry of Mother Earth
Towards a new spirituality of respectful co-existence
The signatory bodies below, in a meeting held at the World Conference of Peoples on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, having engaged in deep reflection on the role of religions and spiritualities in legitimizing systems leading to the collapse of our planet, while at the same time recognizing its vital force, express our deep concern on Climate Change and its effects, which are an attack on life, especially that of the poorest and most vulnerable people in many parts of the Earth. Mother Earth and the whole Creation is groaning and is in pains of childbirth and requires a new holistic and ecological spirituality in order to preserve life.
We thus declare:
1. The cry of Mother Earth, the sustainer of all life forms, is reaching the ears of all people of good will. The desire to increase wealth, the comfort of a luxurious life style, consumerism, indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources and pollution of air, water and soil have brought our planet Earth to the edge of climate breakdown.
2. Climate change is the result of a human mentality that regards Nature as an object to be dominated, exploited and manipulated, and humankind as its master and sole measure.
3. We acknowledge that a certain interpretation of the Jewish-Christian tradition has contributed in history to encouraging this type of anthropocentrism and the merciless exploitation of Nature, by wrongly interpreting the responsibility to be the carer and advocate of Creation. Every religious system needs critically to revise its role as regards climate change.
4. We call, together with indigenous peoples and their wisdom, for a deep conversion of the ruling paradigm and of oppressive structures, as well as our mentality, attitudes and way of life, so as to bring our lives into harmony with Nature, the cosmos and the great mystery of life.
5. We believe that the religions and spiritualities of peoples, in mutual dialogue, can guide us in our search for a life in harmony with the Environment, future generations and the cosmos. We thus call on church and religious leaders to make every effort to engage in a wide campaign of awareness-raising and conversion of all believers, in order to contribute to safeguarding life on our planet Earth. We also call on them to make representations to their governments and international bodies such as the United Nations in order that countries commit themselves to take on greater responsibility in caring for the earth.
6. We ask political, economic and scientific leaders to take urgent measures to respond effectively to the effects of Climate Change and secure the foundations for abundant life for all, especially for the poorest and for future generations. We trust that the coming United Nations summit on Climate Change, COP 16, to take place in Mexico in December 2010, will prove to be a key event for the future of humankind.
7. We commit ourselves to implementing in our organizations, religious institutions and personal lives an eco-centric spirituality, and to take awareness-raising measures to change people’s mentality and patterns of consumption.
Associating ourselves with the ‘Agreement of the Peoples’, we invoke the life-giving Spirit to guide and strengthen us in our commitment to future generations, to Mother Earth, and to the whole Creation.
Cochabamba, 22 April 2010 (Mother Earth Day)
Higher Andean Ecumenical Institute of Theology, ISEAT
Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians, EATWOT
World Council of Churches, WCC
Latin American Council of Churches, CLAI
Religious communities living among the people, CRIMPO
Evangelical Methodist Church in Bolivia
Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church
Translated from Spanish by the Language Service of the World Council of Churches