Organized by the World Council of Churches, ACT Alliance, Lutheran World Federation and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the 28 February discussion was an official side event to the United Nations Environment Assembly.
The panel highlighted the work of faith communities and especially Indigenous women and young faith leaders in mobilizing collective global action to protect nature and biodiversity and deliver critical reflections on enhanced biodiversity governance for climate resilience and posterity.
In a reflection on the discussion, WCC deputy general secretary Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri said it was a privilege to listen to diverse voices of young people, women, and Indigenous Peoples from different parts of the world.
“Some of our panellists have imparted stories of challenges and injustices wrought by a rapidly warming climate and the destruction of God’s beautiful creation in the pursuit of wealth and in the name of development,” she said. “Against the backdrop of the stark findings of the 2nd part of the 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released today, our panellists have also shared remarkable stories of resilience and action.”
Phiri outlined two takeaways from the report and the ensuing discussion.
“First, even as socially-marginalised groups tend to bear the brunt of ecological degradation which they contribute least to, they are not simply victims,” she said. “They are also carrying and propagating the seeds of solutions to the crises we face.”
The second takeaway Phiri noted is that spirituality plays an important role. “Spirituality is key to carving out sustainable pathways to a better future,” she said. “I am talking about a spirituality that emerges from a deep understanding of how we, human and non-human beings, are all interconnected in the web of life, a spirituality that then inspires us to serve the common good.”
For Jocabed Solano, an Indigenous woman from Panama, the Indigenous Peoples “give us concrete evidence that their wise spirituality feeds them to recognize themselves as part of creation.”
“It is their ethics of community, relational, holistic life—they propose ways of life where respect, equity and complementarity prevail. From an Indigenous Christian perspective, salvation is holistic and must be systemic,” she added.
The panel discussion was moderated by Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, general secretary of ACT Alliance.