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A wide range of international speakers addressed questions such as how the human ascendancy over nature poses threats to the future of our planet and what are the implications for Christian theological reflection and action.

Acknowledging that the complicated relationship between humans and ecosystems has often been mediated by economics and technology, WCC deputy general secretary Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change are to be seen also as symptoms of our broken ecological relationships.

“Even as the pandemic has triggered a slowdown in global greenhouse gas emissions, the climate emergency has not disappeared,” she said. “On top of the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, climate change continues to undermine bases of sustenance and destroy livelihoods, especially of farmers, fisherfolk and the global poor.”

Dr Fabien Revol, general secretary of the Ecumenical and Francophone Seminar on Theology of Ecology, France, stressed that the theological research in the field of ecology needs to be encouraged and supported “because theology has a real mission to render to Christians in search of reasons and hope for the commitment to safeguard creation,” he said.

“It is about explaining the ecological implications of the Christian revelation,” added Revol, a scholar from the Catholic University of Lyon.

In the closing remarks of the event, Athena Peralta, WCC programme executive for economic and ecological justice, shared that the discussions helped to deepen the notion that everything is interconnected, relating to the fundamental fact of relationships of interdependence between everything that exists on earth.

“We have planted the seeds for further discussion and engagement. It is important to add that for the WCC this may be the first time that we have reflected together with a community of Francophone theologians on deeply pressing ecological concerns, and this is precious indeed,” said Peralta, who was one of the coordinators of the conference.