The Archbishop of Wales is urging parishioners to ‘live by the values of the risen Christ’ and do all they can to combat climate change.
In his Easter sermon at Llandaff Cathedral today, Dr Barry Morgan called on worshippers to make fundamental changes to their way of life in order to protect the planet for future generations.
He said the increasing extreme weather patterns in the UK and abroad meant Christians needed to take climate change and its effects seriously and respond, not bury their heads in the sand.
The Archbishop said, “The Resurrection is also about the transformation of the universe. That being the case, not only must we care for one another, we must also have a care for God’s world as well.
“That is why, as Christians, we have to take climate change and its effects seriously. Rising global temperatures are causing droughts, melting glaciers, warming of permafrost, heat waves and coastal floods in almost every part of the world. Already this year we have seen extreme weather patterns, not just in distant far flung places where it is nothing new, but here in Wales and the rest of the UK – this is no longer someone else’s problem. It is ours.
“And we cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend we don’t know about it and the part we play in it anymore. Just a couple of weeks ago, a report published by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change pulled no punches as it outlined the dire consequences to food supplies, livelihoods, health and security across the world if global warming was allowed to continue unchecked. It warned that climate change will cause economic losses, exacerbate poverty and increase migration and risks of violent conflict, as well as causing damage to wildlife and habitats.
“And we can and we ought to do something about it for all the evidence points to the fact that climate change is indeed primarily a result of our behaviour, particularly in the West.
“The UN Report’s Chair, Dr Chris Field, said there was nothing inevitable about the worst impacts of climate change on people and nature and urged people to think creatively about how they could change their lives and improve the lives of others. Clearly, governments can do much to limit the damage by cutting emissions and local air pollution, for example, by ending, as Christian Aid suggests, the £314bn the world spends on fossil fuel subsidies. At the same time, we can adapt to changes by building sea defences and creating decent homes for people in countries such as Bangladesh.
“The question for us is how do we respond as a church and as Christians? How can we not just give up ingrained habits but make fundamental changes to our way of life? There are practical actions some of our churches are already doing – such as installing solar or photovoltic panels.
“We need to make fundamental changes to our lifestyle by living and working sustainably. That means promoting social justice and equality through Fair Trade, foodbanks, outward giving, night shelters and helping those in need; leading communities on ideas and learning about sustainable living; and seeking to reduce the use of resources through recycling, car sharing or making our graveyards havens for wildlife.
“Caring for creation means enjoying the gifts that God has given us, but also ensuring that they are there for future generations and that we do not destroy our planet.
“Resurrection is about a new humanity, a new world, a new creation – a new order of being as a result of the Resurrection of Jesus. Our task now is to live by the values of His risen life – to bring about God’s kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. And that is good news for all people and for the whole of creation.”
For a copy of the full sermon, please contact: Anna Morrell, Archbishop’s Media Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 07919158794