As Sweden prepares for a visit from His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch and Antje Jackelén, archbishop of the Church of Sweden, signed a joint editorial for Swedish media.
“The church is a global network,” reads the joint editorial. “It has a presence around the world that is almost unsurpassed by any other organisation or movement.”
The editorial also noted that the church cooperates with a wide range of humanitarian organisations and is in dialogue with world leaders via the UN system. “The church has a presence in many places around the world that are not readily accessible,” reads the text. “During crises and disasters, the church is often there before they happen, while they are happening and long after the immediate relief work has been phased out.”
The editorial points out that people who have contributed least to global warming are often those most severely affected by climate change. “We know that social challenges such as poverty, migration and the global health situation are directly linked to environmental and climate issues,” reads the text. “There is a need for climate justice.”
Bartholomew and Jackelén reflect that the climate crisis is exacerbated by lifestyles that make greed seem like a virtue. “Resolving it will be difficult for as long as people and nature are viewed only from the perspective of economics and technology,” reads the editorial. “Only when we actually distinguish between our needs and our desires can we achieve fair and just climate goals.”
Destroying biodiversity; wrecking forests and wetlands; and poisoning water, soil and air are violations of our mission as human beings, the text notes. “Theology calls it a sin,” reads the message. “This sin arises from our inability to see the earth as our home, a sacrament of community.”
The editorial calls for spiritual maturity. “If we want technological development, fair and just economic systems, ecological balance and social cohesion to work together to create a sustainable future on our earth, we also need a conversion, a new state of mind,” reads the editorial. “It is not sufficient for us to only address the symptoms if we really want healing and wholeness.”
The climate deadline is coming ever closer, concludes the message. “Indecision and negligence are the language of death,” the text reads. “Give the earth the opportunity to heal, so that it can continue to provide for us and so that people can live in a world characterised by fairness, justice and freedom.”