Taking responsibility for God’s creation

Ms. Eva-Christina Nilsson. Photo: LWF
Ms. Eva-Christina Nilsson. Photo: LWF

Youth lead the way in combating climate change

In the 1970s, there was a man named Ebbe Arvidsson, who used to come to this building [Geneva’s Ecumenical Center] for various meetings with the Lutheran World Federation, as the director of Church of Sweden Aid. He had earlier been the general secretary of the Lutheran youth movement in Sweden. When I was younger, I had the opportunity to meet him. 

One year ago, his great granddaughter decided to go on strike because of the climate crisis. She sat down alone outside the Swedish parliament. That was a year ago. Last Friday, millions of young people were out demonstrating in over 150 countries for the same cause. Today the United Nations Climate Action Summit will take place and she will speak to the leaders of the world. In just one year, from one person striking to millions going on strike. It´s about taking responsibility in small ways, which can lead to something bigger to be responsible for. 

The objective of the Summit is about boosting ambitions and rapidly accelerating action to implement the Paris Agreement. The UN Secretary General has called on all leaders to come to the Summit with concrete and realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020. There is a growing momentum to take ‘ACTION NOW’ to keep the temperature below 2°C and, if possible, to keep it at just 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. 

On 21 September, before the UN Climate Summit on Monday, there was a Youth Climate Summit, where young leaders showcased their solutions for combating climate change. They are pointing us towards necessary actions. 

During the weekend these quotations, taken from Greta´s speech, were displayed on the wall of the United Nations headquarters in New York: 

We need a system change, rather than individual change, but you cannot have one without the other. And so I ask you to please wake up and make the changes required possible. Doing your best, is no longer good enough. We must all do the seemingly impossible. Everything needs to change and it has to start today. 

We know much. We can’t deny the negative impact of the climate change is a present reality, already affecting the basics of life and putting nature at risk. Nothing more to be said really. It´s time for action. 

These were the words on the UN building. 

Don’t say you are too small, too young, and I add, too old. “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much”. 

We are trusted by God to take responsibility.
Eva Christina NILSSON, Interim Director of DTPW/ DMD

The role of the church and of faith is also to help us to be more human, to help us in taking the responsibility we are all able to take, in different ways, for each other, the world and for God´s creation. We are trusted by God to take responsibility. 

If this Director of Church of Sweden Aid, who was engaged in issues related to stewardship, could see what his great granddaughter is doing today, he would be proud, I´m sure. 

So we must ask the question: how can our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren be proud of us? We have the possibility to make them proud. 

May God help us take the responsibility we are able to take and not shirk from it. 

We don’t only walk in the footsteps of those who have lived before us. We also leave footprints to follow for those coming after us. To be faithful, both in the little and in much


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.