Droughts in Botswana, floods in Sri Lanka: the people of the Southern Hemisphere suffer most from climate change. We at the UEM and our member churches are therefore particularly active in the fight against climate change – in the form of awareness raising campaigns and practical projects. In the summer of 2010, we hired the climate consultants Richard Madete and Longgena Ginting to help our member churches in Africa and Asia develop climate protection projects and to ensure that good projects are emulated.
To advocate for climate protection, we are members of the Climate Alliance Germany and we co-founded the Entwicklungspolitische Klimaplattform der Kirchen (Church Platform on Climate Change and Development).
Climate protection is only one example of our work.We become active wherever our member churches provide concrete reports of the exploitation of creation and thus of a threat to human livelihood – for example clear-cutting of the rainforest in West Papua.
We are also committed to the integrity of creation within our own organisation.We offset the CO2 emissions of unavoidable business flights by payments to the Northelbian Mission Centre’s FlyingFair&Care Fund. The money goes towards a hydropower climate protection project in the Philippines. Whenever possible, we make business trips within Germany by train, and of course only organic, fair trade coffee is served at our table.
Just recently, the young generation have grown more aware of the Global trend of climate change as it becomes a serious issue now. The Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg who is highly hailed for pioneering Friday for Future climate strikes, says that we should replace the use of the word Climate Change and call it Mass Extinction. Why?
Because it is.
The rate at which species disappear is astonishing, human race is wiped too through diseases and Climate-Change-Accelerated natural calamities.
There is a great need to make changes on how we handle the Mother Earth.
During 1st December through 6th, I attended a Youth led conference in Cologne which was organized by various organizations to discuss on Sustainable Development Goals. The conference, themed “Our Common Future” united youths from all over the World. We had people from 22 countries from 5 continents. We were keen to discuss things critically and hence we talked on so many things that face the World especially on the issues of Climate Change and tried to analyze the possible better approaches.
In one of the discussions on Sustainable Energy consumption, where we were talking about how the reducing meat intake can help the climate. This topic was so interesting to me. I come from Tanzania and I have never heard anyone saying being a Vegetarian saves the Climate. I heard that thing for the first time when I came to Germany and I needed some more elaborations. How is it that my mother taking one chicken from the Coop and prepare it for our meal should harm the Climate? I really needed solid explanations.
I later on came to realize that it is because of the complicated large scale Industrial process that affect the Climate. From destruction of rainforests to make more arable land for Soya beans that feed cows used for meat production, to Industrial processing, air transportation, greenhouse gases emission and increased power demand; the Climate is being jeopardized. I then was thinking on how this is different in my local population back in Tanzania. I eat meat from the local butchery that gets meat from the local slaughtering Centre. The cows slaughtered are fed from grass in their almost natural habitats. No emissions, No clearing of rainforests. We established statistics that the so called Developed countries are much more climate destroyers than developing countries.
But what are Developed and Developing countries?
The use of these words (Developed and Developing countries) still brings about the Stereotypes though weakly it might seem.
Well, just a quick recap before diving much deeper, Developed country is the overall summary of the statements which try to explain the meaning of all those countries which have somehow advanced in terms of technology (Well industrialized),China, United States of America and European Nations being the good examples of these developed countries. This generates images of good health facilities, quality education, and employment to all and better infrastructures just to mention a few. On the other hand, developing countries stands but for less advanced countries in terms of technology(less industrialized), images of endless lines of problems brought about by the deep roots of poverty (poor education, disease burdens, poor infrastructures, corruptions, etc.) pop in the mind of your audience once you mention developing countries like most of African countries.
So the term developed is used to refer to economic status which is the result of Industrial development, the same Industries that destroy our climate. Why should we refer these countries as developed then? For instance Africa is the least emitter of Carbon dioxide yet still face the effect of climate change and even more than the rest of the World. Don’t we see that the term developed should fit more to countries which causes less or no harm to our climates?
Imagine, to date, industrialized countries account for roughly 80% of the carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere.
Annually, more than 60% of global industrial carbon dioxide emissions originate in industrialized countries, where only about 20% of the World’s population resides.
Much of the growth in emissions in developing countries results from the provision of basic human needs for growing populations, while emissions in industrialized countries contribute to growth in a standard of living that is already far above that of the average person Worldwide. Still the negatives impacts on climate change face more furiously the least industrialized countries, sadly. Africans are among the ones being hit the most and the quickest by the climate and environmental emergency,”
How developed then, are Industrialized countries?
Moreover, the African continent is leading the World in plastic bag regulations.
Rwanda is aiming to be the world’s first plastic-free country, and its prohibitions appear to be working. The UN once named the country’s capital, Kigali, the African continent’s cleanest city after a ban on non-biodegradable plastic. Kenya’s efforts, initiated in 2017, have led to a “visibly cleaner” country. Tanzania announced the implementation of the second phase of its plastic bag ban on May 16, 2019. The first phase of the country’s anti-plastic initiative began in 2017, Phase two extends to tourists.
Reducing plastic bag use has two effects: It minimizes the creation of waste, much of which drifts and ends up in the World’s oceans, harming marine life, and it reduces the air pollution caused by burning single-use plastics.
As African nations have shown, taking action can quickly lead to an improved environment.
Recently,Greta Thunberg joined the voices criticizing an Associated Press photograph of activists at the World Economic Forum that cropped out Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate on 24th January 2020.“This is totally unacceptable in so many ways. Like Vanessa said herself: ‘You didn't just erase a photo. You erased a continent”, She wrote. Vanessa herself, previously had already said that, the World must take a good example of Africa for being least emitter of Greenhouse gases.
Shouldn’t the Rest of the World learn from Africa?
Now that is to say, the Sub Saharan region which consists of poorest and least industrialized countries with least contribution on climate destruction is leading on taking steps on saving the World Climate whilst; the richest and most industrialized countries are left behind in taking the initiatives even though they are the greatest contributors of climate change.
Who is “developed” then?
Are we making sense on calling a destroyer “developed”? In which good sense? We need a redefinition. In my opinions I think we should call Africa “developed” and the rest of the industrialized nation, “developing”. This will at least trigger a stimulus of responsibility. It is so crucial to let the industrialized nations know how under-developing they really are.
Josephat Wangwe, with intense love for arts he has always displayed his wonderful works in poetry, articles and short stories. As a young zealous man he desires to unleash his potentials, instilling the knowledge and transforming but also entertain the society through writing. He is the Author and founder of Kiongozi magazine and at times he played major roles in entertaining and shedding the light of understanding to the society through written words in The Citizen magazine, and Medicopress blog. He is an active member of Jamii Medical Awareness (JMA), a Health Innovative project and has involved himself volunteering in street children services via Tanzania Rural Health Movement (TRHM).He went to Isenye and Pugu schools and currently he is a Pharmacy Student at Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences (CUHAS) in Mwanza,Tanzania. He likes soccer among other hobbies.
Josephat S. Hema, fell in love with written words as a child, appreciating the charms they do to one's life and decided to be in the making.Apart from other hobbies such as Travelling, Adventures, Scientific Researches, Innovation and Music that he prefers. He went to Tabora boys’ secondary school and Ilboru High school, he has a Bachelor of Pharmacy from Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS). He is involved in Writing career as a freelance writer in Health Information related project called Jamii Medical awareness(JMA) and as an active part of Tanzania Pharmaceutical Students association(TAPSA). He is currently doing Youth Work in Dortmund, Germany under the 2019/2020 UEM South-North Volunteering Program.
"As long as the earth endures, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease" (Genesis 8,22). In accordance with this, God's promise, the UEM, since 2008, has been raising awareness through exhibitions, projects and advocacy work that it is not our human responsibility to destroy the earth.
Together with churches throughout the world, the UEM is participating in the ecumenical World Council of Churches' programme "Peace with the Earth". Through international ecumenical team visits, UEM Member Churches are supporting each other in the fight against deforestation, landgrabbing and environmental destruction brought about by mining and palm oil plantations as well as environmental pollution in big cities.
Furthermore, churches have started to reflect on creation theology in their respective regional and cultural contexts. Climate and nature have become a matter of biblical reflection, theological debate, spiritual life, prayer and action. At the same time, members in the UEM have asked for a collection of such material from all three regions to be shared and used within the UEM communion.
In a first brochure (until now in English, German and Bahasa Indonesia) UEM presents songs, prayers and texts from three continents which can be used to address for 'climate and spirituality' in devotions, worships and bible sharings in congregations in all UEM regions.
The brochure will also be made available in French and Kiswahili as well. These brochures and further material will be accessable through this website. All who are interested are also invited to share further material on climate and spirituality, which will be added to this website.
Additional songs (not included in the brochure):
IBAN: DE45 3506 0190 0009 0909 08