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Christian eco-news


October 2014: Canterbury Christians build new partnership The pilgrimage site of Canterbury Cathedral has created the Green Pilgrimage Canterbury Partnership, drawing religious, commercial and municipal organisations together to work towards a more sustainable environment in South East England. Read more here.

May 2014: Catholics gather at Vatican for major symposium on the environment An international gathering of 41 academics, economists, environmentalists and human rights representatives has been meeting in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences within the Vatican, Rome, to address the topic: Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature, Our Responsibility. Read more here.

January 28, 2014, Papal Encyclical likely to be on the environment Reports from Vatican Radio indicate that Pope Francis has begun working on a draft text on the topic of ecology which could become an encyclical'. As the newly-appointed leader of the Catholic church worldwide Pope Francis has already established that care for nature and the environment are spiritual priorities for him. Producing an encyclical - a letter which will go to all the Catholc bishops world-wide - would give a renewed spiritual authority to environmental awareness and action on a global scale. Read more here.


November 3, 2013, Campaigning African Bishop calls for action In a stirring address to the inaugural meeting of the Uganda Faith Network on Environmental Action in Kampala, Uganda, the country's Anglican Bishop Rt. Rev. Zac Niringiye challenged Chistians all over Africa to respect God by taking proper care of the planet. The former physicist who is famed for his fight against corruption gave a powerful address making it clear that people of faith cannot claim to believe in God if they participate in destroying what he has made. Read more here.

July 30, 2013, Pope Francis urges Brazilian Catholics to protect God's creation in the Amazon During his visit to the World Youth Day gathering in Rio de Janeiro Pope Francis took the opportunity to speak out about the environmental issues facing the Amazon region. As well as addressing the 3.5 million who attended for the final mass he also spoke to a meeting of Brazilian bishops and another gathering of the country's political, business and cultural leaders. Read more here.


November 18, 2011, Church of England launches petition on solar panels The Church of England is calling on the British Government to slow down its plans to halve the income which organisations can earn from solar panels in order to give churches and other community groups more time to complete installation. Click here for more.

June 22, 2011, Evangelical Church of Ghana to form Eco-Clubs in schools One of ARC's partners in Africa, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana, has announced plans to form eco-clubs in all of its schools throughout the country. Click here for more.

May 9, 2011, Vatican issues sobering report on climate change The Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican is one of the oldest scientific institutes in the world. So when it issues a sobering report on the "serious and potentially irreversible impacts" of climate change, it's worth taking notice. Click here for more.

April 27, 2011, Church of South India urges followers to a 12-point action plan for Easter In a pastoral letter issued on the eve of Easter, Bishop Thomas K Oommen, the new head of ecological concerns for the Church of South India, has urged all members to "join the forces of life and collaborate with God in redeeming his creation through meaningful initiatives." Click here for more.

March 23, 2011, Scottish Catholic leaders publish climate change study guide During the Christian fast period of Lent this year, the Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh has produced a study guide on the Catholic commitment to care for Creation, and explicitly addresses the issue of climate change. Click here for more.

February 4, 2011, Two faith centres shortlisted for UK sustainability awards Two of ARC's key UK partners - the Methodist International Centre and Friends House - have been recognised in this year's prestigious Sustainability Awards, run by the City of London. Both were shortlisted - meaning they are among the top five organisations in the UK in their category. Click here for more.

News before 2011

See below for general links from Ecumenical News International

***** June 2010: Many Christian communities have made long term commitments to help protect the living planet, which were launched at the Windsor Celebration in November last year. To view their eco-plans link here.

***** April 2010: Rather than the usual attempts to give up personal vices such as alcohol or cigarettes, this Lent many groups are promoting "eco-fasting", which can benefit both the environment and some of the most disadvantaged people in our world. Link here for full story.

***** April 22 2009: More Christian groups and individuals are calling for greater involvement and lifestyle changes this Earth Day, April 22, than in past years, the Christian Post reports. And many are becoming more active through a number of Green initiatives and campaigns. “People today are becoming more aware of the urgency involved in restoring our environment, and they feel empowered to make an impact that will last for generations to come,” said Scott Sabin, executive director of Floresta ministry, working with people in rural areas where poverty is caused by deforestation. Earlier this month, Floresta launched its latest green initiative, “Plant With Purpose,” which has two main programs – Grow a Village or Trees Please. Through the latter program, participants can donate anywhere from $1 (for a tree) to $100 (for a forest), which will go toward reforestation and ultimately improving the lives of the rural poor.Since 1984, Floresta has already planted 4 million trees and made over 6,500 small business loans worldwide. The organization has programs in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, Tanzania, Burundi and Thailand.

***** April 2009: "Who's Under Your Carbon Footprint"? is a new Catholic initiative which launches on 20 April 2009. Many Catholic communities throughout the US are responding to the Pope's interest in caring for Creation - and to their own sense of wanting to look after the natural environment. Advertisments will be appearing in numerous Catholic publications and websites this month, with an important new website being launched soon. It will include the new flash video, "Who's Under Your Carbon Footprint," and ways to Fulfill the St. Francis Pledge for Individuals/Families, Parishes, Schools, and Organizations, as well as daily tips for reducing your carbon footprint, and stories we have received about how others are fulfilling the St. Francis Pledge. Link here for more details.

***** April 2009: Chilean Catholic Bishops put Water and the Environment on their Agenda. The efforts of the Bishop of Aysén, Monsignor Luis Infante to raise awareness of ecological issues - and their relation to faith, means Water and Environment will now be discussed by the Chilean Catholic Bishops at their next Conference from 20-24 April.

**** March 2009: Mary Colwell, ARC's Catholic Programme Advisor writes about her views on the merging worlds of slime moulds, the environment and human dignity. Link here.

*** February 2009: Jesuits make a call in defence of life - by which they mean all life. For the three days leading up to the World Social Forum in the Amazonian city of Belem in Brazil in late January 2009, the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) held its own meeting with the theme “The Defence of Life”. The keynote was given by Maria Osmarina da Silva, a fiercely passionate Senator for the Amazonian region, who fired people with a sense of urgency about the problems overwhelming this part of the world. To read more on Mary's article, please link here.

*** January 2009: As leading lay activist Mary Colwell prepares for the World Social Forum in Brazil, she writes about her concern for the Amazon, suggesting that the Catholic Church should be championing its protection. Link here to read more of this thought-provoking article.

*** January 2009: A podcast about the Catholic response in southwest England to the environmental crisis has won an award, beating the BBC in the process. Clifton Diocese took silver at the Christian Broadcasting Council Awards with ‘Journey - The Sound of Many Waters Podcast’ - a reflection on the diocese's year of acting and thinking ecologically, which was conceived and planned with ARC's help. Link here for more details about the award.

*** December 2008: A manifesto signed at an interfaith climate summit in Uppsala Sweden last week targets the political and religious leaders of the world. Signed by 26 opinion makers from different faith traditions, it calls on political leaders to reach agreement during the preparations of the new global Climate Protocol 2009 on a strategy that is sufficiently responsible and ambitious for the earth to be saved for future generations. Link here for more details. Link here to download the CIDSE (Cooperation for International Development and Solidarity) Catholic Bishops' call for Climate Justice. And here for the Declaration of the German Commission for Peace and Justice.

***** November 2008. ARC's Catholic consultant Mary Colwell talks about her work helping the Catholic Church Engage, Inspire and Understand about the Natural World. The Catholic church has an influence beyond even the 1.1 billion people who name themselves as its followers. Link here for Mary's presentation.

***** November 2008: Environmentally-minded Christians in the UK are recommending that families and churches "Reclaim Christmas" this year, and put "the waiting back into waiting" during the traditional Advent period of December. Link here for more news of the Operational Noah campaign.

***** October 2008: The Vatican has placed solar panel on its roof, and the Pope has given an address urging tourism to be more sustainable. Link here for more details.

***** October 2008: ARC's Catholic School Eco Newsletters reaches its second school year. Link here for news and to read the the newsletters.

***** September 2008: The Climate Institute has reported on a visit to Australia by Pacific Church representatives in August 2008. The visit coincided with 39 leaders from multi-faith groups who signed an open letter calling for action to address the destruction caused by climate change. The open letter was signed in a collaboration with the research organisation, the Climate Institute, and representatives from the Baha’i, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist faiths. Link here for more details.

***** September 2008: German churches – startled to learn they account for 3 per cent of the country’s carbon emissions – have embraced radical carbon-cutting measures. A recent article in The Times reported that the nation’s church-owned buildings, including hospitals, day care centres and nursing homes, are releasing 18 million tonnes of carbon each year, the same as the whole state of Slovenia. Churches are responding by replacing old boilers, installing solar panels and even encouraging choristers to wear their white ruffs three weeks running to slash the laundry bill. As a result parishes in northwest Germany have cut their heating bills by up to 60 per cent in the last year. The campaign ‘is creating a new parish culture’, one spokesman said. Link here for more details.

***** September 2008: As part of the UN-ARC 7 Year Plan, ARC announced the launch of a Register for Christian Ecological Retreat Centres. Throughout the United Kingdom, Christian Retreat Centres are signing up to register and become involved in the UN-ARC 7 Year Plan. Link here for more details of the Seven Year Plan and here for details of the Christian Ecological Retreat Centres which are participating.

***** August 2008: "Don't Stop at the Lights" is a new guide launched by the Church of England to encourage positive initiatives in tackling climate change. The book's release coincides with God's Creation Time from 1 September - 4 October 2008, an opportunity for worship to consider nature and the environment. Link here for more details.

***** July 2008: A US-based Benedictine group in Middleton, Wisconsin plans to build a $6 million monastery which will have a zero-carbon footprint and meet the highest environmental and energy-efficiency standards. The monastery, built by the Benedictine Women of Madison at 4200 Highway M, is due to earn an LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification upon completion in December 2009. Founded 50 years ago, the Benedictine Women of Madison is a monastic community for single Christian women that offers retreat services and participates in environmental work. Link here for more details.

***** In 2008 the Sierra Club launched an inspiring document called Faith in Action giving examples from all US states of faith-initiated environmental actitivies. Link here for more information and to download the book.

***** July 2008: Pope Benedict XVI dedicated his World Youth Day speech to urge Catholics to work hard to protect the planet. Referring to consumerism and the lure of "false idols", he said: "In our personal lives and in our communities, we encounter a hostility, something dangerous; a poison which threatens to corrode what is good, reshape who we are and distort the purpose for which we have been created." Link here for more details.

***** July 2008: The ecumenical group Churches Together in Britain and Ireland announced that it has compiled a programme of resources for use in 'Creation Time", running for five weeks from September 1 to October 4 2008. Link here for more details.

***** In June 2008 eco-Congregation launched a new website, full of free resources and ideas for churches in the UK working to protect the environment, including details of how to get started. Link here.

***** June 2008: At an AACC gathering in Kenya, the All Africa Conference of Churches President, The Rt Revd. Dr. Nyansako-Ni Nku highlighted the effect climate change has on humans through the agricultural sector, health, migration and employment, calling for responsible global leadership to respond. Link here to see the full speech.

***** June 2008: Link here for the CSI eco-audit list, and

Link here for a story about the pledge made by the CSI Synod in a major Eco-meeting in Chennai.

***** June 5 2008 Martin Palmer gave a talk on Saints and Sustainability to mark the UN's World Environment Day on 5 June. Link here for details.

***** March 2008: "Our aim is to keep this beautiful world beautiful, and not to turn it into a wasteland." Link here to read about how the Church of South India is ARC's latest partner in the bid to make generational changes to protect the environment. And link here to read a statement in which Bishop Thomas Samuel of Madhya Kerala diocese explains eloquently why it is time to take action.

***** March 2008: England's Salisbury Cathedral celebrated its 750th anniversary in March 2008 with a stunning new lighting system - using eco-friendly technology. Link here for more information.

***** November 2007: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, urges people to think carefully about the environment, in a presentation at the time of the Bali COP:

***** October 2007: ARC helped UK Catholic schools and colleges set up an informal network - with regular newsletters and debates. Link here to read the Catholic Schools Eco Newsletters and link here to download ARC's leaflet focussing on Catholic Schools and the environment.

***** October 2007: The world's first "green" Bible for a mass market audience is published. Link here for more information.

***** October 2007: Pastors in PNG campaign against plans for a major quarry in the southern highlands mountains. Link here for more information.

***** September 2007: St Brendan's College in Bristol launches a challenge to Catholic schools around the UK. Link here for more information.

***** September 2007: Catholic Eco-bishop Chris Toohey helps launch a year of action on the environment by UK Catholics, starting in September 2007. Link here for more information.

***** August 2007: Millions of hectares of religious forestry to be managed ecologically after Lutheran and Shinto joint initiative. Link here for more information.

***** August 2007: The Church of Sweden pledged August 27 2007 to protect its ancient meadows of Gotland, treasure houses of rare flowers and calm green oases among commercial forests. It is part of the Faiths and Forests initiative that ARC is assisting. The meeting was held in August 2007. Link here for more information.

***** August 2007: An unlikely alliance between Shinto priests in Japan and the Lutheran Church of Sweden has led to a meeting that will lead to millions of hectares of forests around the world being managed according to ecological principles. The meeting was held in August 2007. Link here for more information.

***** From cow dung to cooking gas: Work has begun on an ARC-funded project to build a bio-digester at Sebata nunnery outside Addis Ababa. The methane produced from waste organic material will fuel all meals for more than 1200 children and nuns. Link here for more information.

***** "An activities teacher once came to my school and asked: What do the religions all have in common. We came up with various answers: belief in a divine being, places to pray... "Yes to almost all," he said. "But there's something else: camping." ARC celebrates the centenary of Scouting with an article in UNEP's Tunza magazine about the faiths' relationship with the outdoors. Link here for more information.

***** PNG pastors clear rubbish where others have failed: An initiative by an evangelical Christian group in a remote area of Papua New Guinea has led to a town's “transformation” through introducing community rubbish collection for the first time. The work was done in association with the Evangelical Alliance of PNG – which ARC has worked with and supported for some years. Link here for more information.

***** June 3 2007: World Environment Day started two days early – with a special service held on Sunday led by South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Tromso bishop Per Oskar Kjølaas. Link here for more information.

***** It is saving whales in Nusa Tenggara Province, it has protected rare turtles on Bali Island, and it is encouraging the use of sustainable timber in Aceh Province… This article shows the latest success of the “religions approach”. Link here for more information.

***** April 2007: "For environment ... read Creation. The mastery of man over Creation must not be despotic or senseless. Man must cultivate and safeguard God's Creation," said Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, head of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace. Guardian article on the Vatican conference on climate change, held in April 2007. Link here for more information.

***** April 2007: The UK's Independent on Sunday newspaper featured ARC’s work with sacred sites in its Easter Sunday edition, April 2007. It highlighted how thousands of sacred places around the globe are to be linked together in a network supported by the United Nations with the help of ARC, to try to preserve the world's fast-disappearing wild species, as well as save environments beloved by humans. Link here for more information.

***** March 2007: It is a multi-million dollar business, it is threatening the world’s forests and rare bird populations, it stems from a procession of peace… it is Palm Sunday. Link here for more information.

***** The writer of the Benedictine/ARC/World Bank handbook Bill Bartlett reflects on the experience of writing this handbook for monasteries in the most remote parts of the world - a process that involves looking back at the most pivotal period of his life so far. Link here for more information.

***** The Church of Sweden is to host a rather extraordinary meeting on the island of Gotland in late August 2007 in order to create an international standard for religious-owned forests. Link here for more information.

***** February 2007: On the 12th of February the UK's Channel 4 broadcast a programme called “God Is Green”, in which religions were criticised for not doing enough to stop climate change. Link here for more information.

***** In 2002, Conservation International and its partners forged a partnership with the Roman Catholic church in Colombia to save two species on the verge of extinction. In 2007, the alliance was lauded as one of the most successful biodiversity conservation campaigns in Latin American history. Link here for more information.

***** "Benedictines have long known themselves to be stewards of the earth. Now more than ever, the earth is calling to us. Are we listening?" The Benedictine sisters of Lake Erie-Allegheny Earth Force in Pennsylvania have published an environmental handbook for rural and urban Benedictine communities in Latin America. Link here for more information.

***** Meetings with Muslim and Christian groups in Africa have led to plans to increase in-depth environmental training for practicing and trainee clergy in both faiths. Link here for more information.

***** One of the world’s best kept secrets about Africa... Link here for more information.

Links from Ecumenical News International (ENI) in Geneva

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