We need increased climate ambition, says German bishop

During the UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, people protested against the inaction of governments to mitigate the climate crisis. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert
During the UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, people protested against the inaction of governments to mitigate the climate crisis. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Season of Creation is a time for engaging with uncomfortable questions

(LWI) – “Human freedom to enjoy and use life and God’s creation includes the responsibility to treat the creation we belong to with care and to preserve it for future generations,” said the leading bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany, Kristina Kühnbaum-Schmidt. However, especially concerning matters of global climate justice, “we must also answer uncomfortable questions”.

That includes whether countries in the global North “are prepared to bear greater responsibilities in reducing greenhouse gas emissions than countries in the global South,” she added. “Are we prepared to maintain a more modest and sustainable lifestyle and to view this positively – not as a restriction but as an appropriate way of dealing with our global situation and to strive for social justice in Germany itself?”

Are we prepared to maintain a more modest and sustainable lifestyle and to view this positively?
Bishop Kristina Kühnbaum Schmidt, EKD
Kühnbaum-Schmidt is the commissioner for creation care of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), with which eleven member churches of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Germany are affiliated. During the first week of the Season of Creation, she called on churches in Germany and the global North to scale up their climate efforts to “preserve our planet’s habitability.”

Scientists worldwide have repeatedly emphasized that our planet has entered the Anthropocene, a phase in the Earth’s history in which humanity can change the global ecological system in fundamental, devastating ways. In the face of droughts, record heat, forest fires and floods, the bishop said, it is impossible to overlook that we live in a human-made climate crisis that threatens all life on our planet.

“As Protestant churches in Germany, we should take clear steps,” Kühnbaum-Schmidt said. Every church should have set “binding climate goals that we commit to and act on. Some churches have already set such goals; others are actively working on them.” Furthermore, the EKD and its member churches should develop even more ambitious targets to achieve climate neutrality.

With every action and every prayer during the Season of Creation, churches are part of the worldwide Christian community that loves God’s creation and wants to preserve it. “For me, this is an encouraging sign,” said bishop Kühnbaum-Schmidt.

LWF/A. Weyermüller

 

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Season of Creation Celebration Guide


Many churches in the ecumenical family observe the “Season of Creation” (also known as Creation Time) between 1 September and 4 October, the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, as observed by some Western traditions. For the Lutheran communion, this liturgical season of prayer and action is an opportunity to affirm LWF’s commitment to addressing a major crisis of our time – climate change. “Listen to the Voice of Creation” is the 2022 theme for the “Season of Creation”.