FOR THE SAKE OF THE PLANET AND ALL ITS PEOPLE: A Uniting Church in Australia Statement on Climate Change(Excerpt)
In its first public statement in 1977, the Uniting Church in Australia expressed what would be an abiding concern with the wellbeing of the planet for the rights of future generations:
we are concerned with the basic human rights of future generations and will urge the wise use of energy, the protection of the environment and the replenishment of the earth’s resources for their use and enjoyment.(1)
The natural environment is, however, not merely a resource for the benefit of human beings but has intrinsic value as part of God’s good creation. In 1991 the Uniting Church declared that, Nature has a right to the protection of its eco-systems, species, and populations in their interconnectedness.(2)
The Uniting Church’s commitment to the environment arises out of the Christian belief that God, as the Creator of the universe, calls us into a special relationship with the creation – a relationship of mutuality and interdependence which seeks the reconciliation of all creation with God.(3) We believe that God’s will for the earth is renewal and reconciliation, not destruction by human beings. The foundational document of the Uniting Church in Australia, the Basis of Union, expressed this as the very heart of the Church’s mission:
God in Christ has given to all people in the Church the Holy Spirit as a pledge and foretaste of that coming reconciliation and renewal which is the end in view for the whole creation. The Church’s call is to serve that end.(4)
To read the complete statement, click here.
For the Sake of the Planet and all its People is an environmental statement by the Assembly Standing Committee in November 2006 which builds on past statements of the Uniting Church including the 1977 Statement to the Nation and The Rights of Nature and the Rights of Future Generations, which was passed by the 6th Assembly in 1991.
The Uniting Church, at both synod and assembly levels, has made submissions to a range of government inquiries and committees on environment issues. Links to some of these submissions are shown below:
- September 2011 – Submission to the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Clean Energy Future Legislation (UnitingJustice)
(1) Statement to the Nation, Inaugural Assembly, Uniting Church in Australia, 1977
(2) The Rights of Nature and the Rights of Future Generations, Sixth Assembly 1991, Resolution 91.14.18, Uniting Church in Australia
(3) Submission to the Federal Environment and Heritage Committee Inquiry into a Sustainability Charter, UnitingCare NSW.ACT, May 2006
(4) Basis of Union (1992 edition), paragraph 3, Uniting Church in Australia