You must be honest and committed to treating the Earth and people with respect …..
Moral principles and not profit and economic gain should be applied in order to secure our common future.
Thus far, negotiations have not yielded any acceptable result;
Meanwhile the people of Africa are suffering fatal impacts of climate change.
You must commit to the principle of intergenerational equity for the rights of our children and Mother Earth.
Many of you will recall this passionate call to accountability when you signed the We Have Faith, act now for climate justice petition in the build-up to the faith rally in Durban before COP17 last year. The climate talks have come and gone. What happened to the frenzied momentum and the voice of people of faith since that We Have Faith campaign?
Oh that we could have turned the world on its head overnight and brought about a more just and equitable world! Sadly life doesn’t work that way. Building the groundswell of a grassroots movement for change can be frustratingly slow. But tipping points come from a critical mass of voices who long for transformation and people on the ground who are prepared to take action.
In a process of reflecting on COP17 and visioning for Rio+20, a gathering of faith leaders from the SADC region resolved to take up and raise the We Have Faith campaign banner again. We are people of hope and the struggle must continue.
In the terms of reference the campaign believes that:
“The answer to climate change problems is not to be found in scientific solutions, but rather in understanding the underlying human greed and selfishness. These are characteristics which contradict most religious beliefs. The responsibility of the faith-based communities is to understand the importance of the Divine’s wisdom in creating diversity. Sustainability is sensible, wise and an obligation for people of faith.”
With this in mind, the campaign steering committee came up with the following objectives:
The We Have Faith campaign represents a microcosm of Southern Africa society and embraces a diverse variety of faiths, ages, cultural backgrounds and educational and work experiences. The campaign works hard at advocating for environmental justice and welcomes any faith-based organization that is willing to speak with a united voice for the core values. Change comes from within and each organization is accepted, respected and appreciated for their strengths and contributions.
Representing three We have faith organisations, members of the Steering committee take a break in the winter sun: Malcolm Damon (EJN), the Rev. Mautji Pataki (SACC) and Bishop Geoff Davies (SAFCEI)
The Southern African campaign is a loose network of faith-based organisations who agree with the values and objectives of the campaign and who practice their faith in South and Southern Africa. The key organisations involved include SAFCEI, (the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute), EJN (Economic Justice Network of FOCCISA, the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa), the SACC (South African Council of Churches), the Diakonia Council of Churches (based in Durban), the KZN IRC (KwaZulu- Natal Inter- Religious Council), IPACC (the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee) and the WCRLF (Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum). We work closely with our partners from the North including NCA (Norwegian Church Aid), the Church of Sweden, Christian Aid, ICCO (Interkerkelijke Organisatie voor Ontwikkelingssamenwerking) and EED (Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst)
By Bishop Geoff Davies, the Green Bishop
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