The Science, Theology, and Implications
From the melting permafrost that threatens parishes in Alaska to the wildfires that ravaged California this past year, to the U.S. South where hurricanes are becoming stronger and more deadly, Orthodox communities around the globe are already feeling the rising impacts of global climate change.
“The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God” – St. John of Damascus
Excerpts from Bishops’ Declaration about Global Climate Change
Faithful to the responsibility that we have been given within God’s good creation, it is prudent for us to listen to the world’s scientific leaders as they describe changes occurring in the world’s climate, changes that are already being experienced by many people throughout the world.
Climatologists label these changes as the result of measurable increases of carbondioxide and other so-called “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere. These gases are produced primarily by the burning or combustion of gasoline, coal and other fossil fuels….
It should be clear to all of us that immediate measures must be taken to reduce the impact of these changes to the world’s climate. If we fail to act now, the changes that are already underway will intensify and create catastrophic conditions.
Therefore, we wish to emphasize the seriousness and the urgency of the situation. To persist in a path of excess and waste, at the expense of our neighbors and beyond the capability of the planet to support the lifestyle directly responsible for these changes, is not only folly; it jeopardizes the survival of God’s creation….
In order to make the required changes, we are called to pray first and foremost for a change in our personal attitudes and habits, in spite of any accompanying inconvenience. Such is the depth of metanoiaor repentance. The issue is not merely ourresponse to climate change, but our failure to obey God. We must live in a manner that is consistent with what we believe and pray….
In each generation, God sends some great tests that challenge the life and future of society. One of the tests for our time is whether we will be obedient to the commands that God has given to us by exercising self-restraint in our use of energy, or whether we will ignore those commands and continue to seek the comforts and excesses that over-reliance on fossil fuels involves.
Excerpts, Assembly of Bishops (SCOBA), May 23, 2007