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„Change our lifestyle!“

Garbage dumps like this one in Indonesia can be found all over the world.

The cooking stoves developed by the church organization RDIS in Rwanda require less fuel, emit less carbon dioxide and are therefore both more environmentally friendly and less harmful to health. (Photos: M.Pauly/UEM)

On the occasion of the "International Earth Day" on April 22, 2021, the members of the umbrella organization of mission societies in Germany EMW state: "The ecumenical movement has long spoken out for justice and peace and has declared its support for the integrity of creation. Therefore, we need to change our lifestyle."

The "Wuppertal Declaration"

Rainer Kiefer, Director of the EMW, recalls the declaration "Kairos for Creation - Confession of Hope for the Earth", which was written by participants of the congress of the same name from 22 countries and members of different denominations from all parts of the world in Wuppertal in the summer of 2019. In addition to the EMW, the initiators and organizers of the congress include the United Evangelical Mission (UEM), the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Bread for the World and the World Council of Churches (WCC). In the "Wuppertal Declaration", the representatives of churches and church organizations call on churches in the worldwide ecumenical community to commit themselves to the transformation of the global economy and effective measures for climate protection. Part of the ecological conversion to a sustainable life is also the introduction of binding rights of nature and the earth, as demanded by indigenous representatives. Only by an ecological conversion and turning away from an economy based on growth and accumulation of wealth at the expense of others can the survival of man and nature be secured.

"The urgency of the crisis demands that we follow the way of Christ and take notice of the positive initiatives of the churches worldwide," Kiefer quotes from the declaration. For this reason, EMW members are committed to a sustainable lifestyle and an environmental ethic that will ensure that the earth remains habitable for future generations."

Implementation of Demands

The UEM and its member churches in Africa, Asia and Germany have made climate and environmental protection a priority in their programs since 2008. Many poverty reduction projects simultaneously serve to protect the environment and the climate.

For example, the Rural Development Interdiocesan Service (RDIS) organization of the Evangelical Anglican Church in Rwanda developed energy-efficient cooking stoves that emit significantly less CO2 and reduce indoor smoking, thereby both protecting the environment and reducing health hazards. The church's climate protection project is aimed primarily at Rwanda's poorest households and is eligible to sell carbon credits.

The "Wuppertal Declaration" "Kairos for Creation" can be downloaded here.

The book publication "Kairos for Creation - Confessing Hope for the Earth" can be downloaded here.


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