Launch of the Anglican Communion Forest
More that 600 Anglican Bishops from around the world gathered for the once a decade Lambeth Conference in August. There are Anglican Churches in 165 countries, as one of the largest branches of Christianity, it is an important global body that can push for change on issues of climate and biodiversity loss. The Church also has the potential to mobilise millions of people for action.
During the session on Environment the Bishops were addressed by key speakers such as Liz Wathuti who is a young climate activist from Kenya: one of which was given by Kenyan activist Liz Wathuti ; Bishop Marinez from the Amazon, a passionate defender of the forest and indigenous rights.
Liz challenged the Bishops saying ‘You have a seat at the table- use it’ – Bishops often have standing in the community and can use it to challenge politicians around climate and biodiversity issues.
During the Conference, the Communion Forest was launched – Communion Forest – a global project to protect forests, reforest land and restore nature
The Communion Forest website describes the project as ‘a global initiative comprising local activities of forest protection, tree-growing and eco-system restoration undertaken by provinces, dioceses and individual churches across the Anglican Communion to safeguard creation’.
Bishops are being encouraged to integrate tree-planting into their ministry, so every time they do a baptism, a wedding, a confirmation or a funeral, there would be tree-planting. They are also being encouraged to start tree nurseries, making sure that the trees being planted are the correct ones for the eco-system and that a watering programme is in place.
One of the documents that was produced by the Conference was the Call to action on Environment and Sustainable Development:
The Lambeth Call on the Environment and Sustainable Development calls on world leaders to enact ‘bold and urgent policy changes’, including, ‘halting new gas and oil exploration’, ‘achieving net-zero carbon emissions…to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels’ and ‘fulfilling and substantially increasing their commitments to climate finance, including for loss and damage due to climate change’.
It also states that ‘humanity needs a spiritual and cultural transformation. We must see the world differently: repenting of and rejecting an extractive world view, which regards the earth and all nature as something to be exploited, and embracing a relational worldview, espoused especially by indigenous peoples, which sees the profound interdependence of all creation.’
Rev Dr Rachel Mash
Anglican Church of Southern Africa