The rapidly increasing pressure of world population, coupled with massive technological capabilities, constitute an unprecedented threat to the survival of life and beauty on this planet. The quality of our air and water is visibly deteriorating. Indiscriminate use of pesticides threatens to annihilate whole
It is increasingly evident that the apparent limitlessness of our natural resources is an illusion and the concept of unending economic expansion is now being questioned. The total creation is wondrously interrelated, and annihilation of any link threatens the existence of the whole.
In furtherance of our Christian commitment we call upon the American Baptist churches and denominational units to implement the spirit and intent of this resolution by immediately undertaking to:
Christian concern for the environment is shaped by the Word of God spoken in creation, the Love of God hanging on a cross, the Breath of God daily renewing the face of the earth.
We of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are deeply concerned about the environment, locally and globally, as members of this church and as members of society. Even as we join the political, economic, and scientific discussion, we know care for the earth to be a profoundly spiritual matter.
As Lutheran Christians, we confess that both our witness to God's goodness in creation and our acceptance of caregiving responsibility have often been weak and uncertain. This statement:
This statement summons us, in particular, to a faithful return to the biblical vision.
Creation cries out in this time of ecological crisis.
-- Abuse of nature and injustice to people place the future in grave jeopardy.
-- Population triples in this century.
-- Biological systems suffer diminished capacity to renew themselves.
-- Finite minerals are mined and pumped as if inexhaustible.
-- Peasants are forced onto marginal lands, and soil erodes.
-- The rich-poor gap grows wider.
-- Wastes and poisons exceed nature's capacity to absorb them.
-- Greenhouse gases pose threat of global warming.
The church has powerful reason for engagement in restoring God's creation:
-- God's works in creation are too wonderful, too ancient, too beautiful, too good to be desecrated.
-- Restoring creation is God's own work in our time, in which God comes both to judge and to restore.
-- Human life and well-being depend upon the flourishing of other life and the integrity of the life-supporting processes that God has ordained.
-- The love of neighbor, particularly "the least" of Christ's brothers and sisters, requires action to stop the poisoning, the erosion, the wastefulness that are causing suffering and death.
-- The future of our children and their children and all who come after is at stake.
-- In this critical time of transition of a new era, God's new doing may be discerned as a call to earth-keeping, to justice, and to community.
Therefore, the 202nd General Assembly affirms that:
-- Response to God's call requires a new faithfulness, for which guidance may be found in norms that illuminate the contemporary meaning of God's steadfast love for the world.
-- Earth-keeping today means insisting on sustainability--the ongoing capacity of natural and social systems to thrive together--which requires human beings to practice wise, humble, responsible stewardship, after the model of servanthood that we have in Jesus.
-- Justice today requires participation, the inclusion of all members of the human family in obtaining and enjoying the Creator's gifts for sustenance.
-- Justice also means sufficiency, a standard upholding the claim of all to have enough--to be met through equitable sharing and organized efforts to achieve that end.
-- Community in our time requires the nurture of solidarity, leading to steadfastness in standing with companions, victims, and allies, and to the realization of the church's potential as a community of support for adventurous faithfulness.Compete Statement
The Religious Society of Friends has witnessed for peace for almost 350 years. Over that time, our witness has grown and widened; we have worked for the end of war, for the end of the African slave trade, for equality of women, for civil rights for African Americans, and for human rights around the world.
Now we are led to widen our witness again to work for peace between humans and our sacred Earth community. Our culture has considered the Earth our property to be exploited, and we have all, knowingly and unknowingly, been complicit in this violent appropriation of world resources. We must now search for the seeds of this war in our possessions and in our lives, and work to nurture a new, mutual relationship with the Earth in all of our actions. The spirit is calling us to hold in reverence this miracle that God has given us. If we are connected to our source, our lives are richer and deeper.
We understand scriptures compel us to act on our faith grounded in wonder, reverence, love, and respect for all of God's creation. But clearly, God's creation is groaning under the burden of injustice, greed, and arrogance. Our choices have resulted in vanishing and degraded farmland, air unfit to breathe and water unfit to drink, unsustainable energy processes and consumption, and the perilous immediate and long-term worldwide consequences of global warming and climate change. Poor communities and communities of color will disproportionately suffer the unjust consequences of our choices. And now, we realize more every day that our choices threaten the voiceless natural systems that sustain all of life itself.
All creation is the Lord’s, and we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it. Water, air, soil, minerals, energy resources, plants, animal life, and space are to be valued and conserved because they are God’s creation and not solely because they are useful to human beings. God has granted us stewardship of creation. We should meet these stewardship duties through acts of loving care and respect. Economic, political, social, and technological developments have increased our human numbers, and lengthened and enriched our lives. However, these developments have led to regional defoliation, dramatic extinction of species, massive human suffering, overpopulation, and misuse and overconsumption of natural and nonrenewable resources, particularly by industrialized societies. This continued course of action jeopardizes the natural heritage that God has entrusted to all generations. Therefore, let us recognize the responsibility of the church and its members to place a high priority on changes in economic, political, social, and technological lifestyles to support a more ecologically equitable and sustainable world leading to a higher quality of life for all of God’s creation.