Reflection-Action Trip Participants and Partners Make Statement on Climate

I helped write this Statement on Climate that the PC(USA) released this week. It stems out of the the trip that members of the PC(USA) took in December. It brought together reflections from folks from the U.S., Peru, and Bolivia (and technically a Cameroon and a Brazil national, both of whom now live in the states). Rebecca Barnes, who runs Earth Care with the PC(USA) led the overall writing process.

I enjoyed seeing the final product of this shared writing process. Also, I am expecting push back, as well as, support from those around the church.

Anyway, please take a moment to read the statement.

Statement on Climate Justice:

A Faithful Response

We, youth representatives of diverse organizations and Christian institutions from Peru and Bolivia and pastors, elders, and young adults in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), met in December 2014 in Lima, Peru for an international gathering on climate change organized by the Red Uniendo Manos Peru with the support and accompaniment of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

  • We believe that climate change poses unprecedented, unjust peril that affects the most vulnerable populations.[1]
  • We are particularly concerned by the excessive, inequitable level of consumption that has created most of the recent climate disruption.[2]
  • Every day we hear and see the evidence of climate change in the change of seasons, food production, availability of water, disappearing glaciers (Andean glaciers have shrunk by 40% in the last 30 years), rising sea levels, and the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.[3]
  • We are seeing a new wave of “free” trade agreements being proposed as a source of prosperity. These agreements often are instruments of foreign investors and transnational corporations that will lead to greater inequality and accelerate the destruction of nature.[4]A current disturbing example of this is the Trans-Pacific Partnership.[5]
  • We know that if nothing is done to change these realities, we risk leaving the planet we borrowed from our ancestors uninhabitable for future generations.[6]

Faced with this situation, we feel that it is our duty and calling to stand in solidarity and to act faithfully for climate justice. With political will and people’s actions, we can influence things for the better. We support our brothers and sisters around the world who are defending access and equitable use of water and other common goods; who face political circumstances that favor extractive activities that harm their community; and who are speaking and acting against environmental, social and economic injustice. We believe that all creation is sacred, and that the human person has inviolable dignity. The Andean concept of “buen vivir” claims a good, joyful and sustainable life for all people and all the world, and affirms our belief that God created the world and called it good and placed humans in the world to care for it (Genesis 2:15), and that Christ came so that all may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10b).

Therefore, we urge:

  • Action by national and global authorities on adaptation and mitigation of climate change, paying particular attention to vulnerable populations;
  • Adoption of climate measures as well as active participation by individual countries in binding international agreements between countries, such as the UN COP meetings;
  • Rigorous review of extractive industries and others that accelerate greenhouse gas emissions, impact water quality and quantity, result in deforestation, and endanger the earth’s resiliency;
  • Financial and research support for renewable energy and energy efficient technologies, in order to build resilience in both urban and rural populations;
  • The building of healthier environments through more dynamic local economies.

And, we commit ourselves to:

  • Engage in a process of education to understand and address root causes of climate change, poverty and inequality;
  • Accept our past and present responsibilities for these root causes, embracing appropriate personal commitments and communal actions that will transform current realities;
  • Accompany local organizations and populations vulnerable to climate change, sharing their stories and valuing their contributions and leadership;
  • Seek a way of life that promotes harmony between humans and nature, while untangling ourselves from an economic model of endless growth and lifestyles that perpetuate socio-economic and environmental injustices;
  • Strengthen the leadership capacity of the youth, women and men from our organizations and communities;
  • Work on changing the system that advances climate change;
  • Reject any climate “solution” that furthers global inequalities or the commodification of life;
  • Pray for one another, support one another, and call others in the church and society to join us in being conscious of the consequences of climate change and active supporters of climate and environmental justice for a healthy world for all.

Lima, December 2014


[1] “unprecedented peril posed by global warming and climate change…: and “With our Lord, we will stand with ‘the least of these’ (Matt. 25:40) and advocate for the poor and oppressed in present and future generations who are often the victims of environmental justice and who are least able to mitigate the impact of global warming that will fall disproportionately on them.” (The Power to Change: U.S. Energy and Global Warming, 2008, approved by the 218th General Assembly of the PC(USA), p10, p2)

[2] “We reject the claim that all nations should shoulder an equal measure of the burden associated with mitigating climate change. Industrialized nations like the United States that have produced most of the emissions over the last three centuries deserve to shoulder the majority of the burden.” (The Power to Change, p2) and “Those of us living in the United States have a unique moral responsibility to change our energy consumption practices”

[3] These and other impact of climate change are listed in Power to Change, p6 and p10-12.

[4] “The goal is not free trade, but just and sustainable trade. It is essential that reduction of global poverty be a central moral consideration in trade debates…” (Hope for a Global Future: Toward Just and Sustainable Human Development, 1996, approved by the 208th General Assembly of the PC(USA), p. 26) and “continue the monitoring of trade agreements and support for efforts that strive toward international cooperation on fair trade, respect for diversity and common concerns for a peaceful, just and sustainable world.” (Resolution on Just Globalization: Justice, Ownership, and Accountability, 2006, approved by the 217th General Assembly, p.9)

[5] To urge Congress to halt “Fast Track” legislation on TPP, to go:http://capwiz.com/pcusa/issues/alert/?alertid=63738626

[6] “This moral obligation involves our commitment to the poor and margnized among the present generation, but it especially includes our responsibilities to future generations. Actions taken or not taken today will impact the welfare of the planet for centuries to come.” (Power to Change, p.6).

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