A statement from the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Karlsruhe calls for support for ecocide law as a new and strengthened form of accountability.
The World Council of Churches is the world’s largest ecumenical organisation and the Assembly is held every eight years. The statement The Living Planet: Seeking a Just and Sustainable Global Community , released Sep 8, conveys a feeling of urgency as it calls for metanoia; a transformative change of heart and mind. It determines that the narrow anthropocentric understanding of our relationship with Creation must be revised to a whole of life understanding.
The Assembly insists on the need for practical action – not just more commitments – to meet the pressing need to avert ecological disaster. One of the demands refers to the Faith for Ecocide law initiative. It reads: “All governments and authorities must respect, protect and fulfil the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, as described in the “Escazú Agreement”. The consideration of such proposals as the creation of a new UN Economic, Social and Ecological Security Council, a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, the rights of nature, ecocide laws, a Climate Crimes Tribunal, and an Advisory Opinion on Human Rights and Climate Change from the International Court of Justice, are new and strengthened forms of accountability which need support.”
“When a broad ecumenical organisation underline that we need to revise our relationship to the Creation and also recognize the need of laws to protect ecosystems, there is hope for a transformation to a more sustainable future. And if WCC can reach out to other faith traditions to speak out for an ecocide law, governments around the world must listen“, says Rev. Henrik Grape, coordinator of the World Council of Churches Working Group on Climate Change.
“Faith communities have a unique voice for the reverence of the living world. It is very encouraging and of great importance that this voice is being heard for a law with the power to protect nature at the highest level“, says Pella Thiel, coordinator of Faith for Ecocide law initiative.
The statement further states the need for climate justice, and recognizes the situation for indigenous peoples as among the first to face the direct consequences of climate change. The WCC itself commits to an emergency response by establishing a Commission, declaring an Ecumenical Decade of repentance and action for a just and flourishing planet, and reduce its institutional carbon footprint to net-zero by 2030.
About the World Council of Churches
The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of 352 churches from more than 120 countries, representing over 580 million Christians worldwide. The WCC is the broadest and most inclusive among the many organized expressions of the modern ecumenical movement, a movement whose goal is Christian unity.
The WCC Assembly is the highest governing body of the World Council of Churches, and normally meets every eight years. It is the only time when the entire fellowship of member churches comes together in one place for prayer and celebration.