“Christian Ethics and the Ecological Emergency”: A Statement from Christian Ethicists Without Borders

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Statement: Christian Ethics and the Ecological Emergency

Our Ecological Emergency

Human activity is now driving a complex, dynamic process of environmental destabilisation across the whole of God’s Earth, at a scale and pace unprecedented in human history. This is already disrupting important ecosystems and human socioeconomic activity, creating multiple risks that we need to manage, adapt to and mitigate. We face an ecological emergency that imperils our security and the social structures foundational for human happiness, peace and freedom. To rise to this challenge, we will need to substantially reconstruct and modernise our economy within the next decade. To do this we must inspire and exercise leadership, mobilise resources and pledge action at every level.

A Christian Call to Action

As Christians we are called to be salt and light in the world, to preserve and guide our society. Therefore it is our responsibility to engage with our leaders and representatives to communicate our Christian vision and values, and to encourage ethical public service, leadership and policymaking.

As Christians we are called to care for the least among us, to proclaim good news to the poor and freedom for the oppressed. Therefore it is part of our mission to assist vulnerable populations at home and abroad in adapting to environmental changes, mitigating the risks they face and building resilient societies.

As Christians we are called to till and keep the garden of creation, and to live lives that anticipate and proclaim the restoration and reconciliation of all things in Christ. Therefore it is integral to our Christian identity to work together to prevent harm to Earth’s ecosystems, and to care for, protect and restore God’s beautiful world.

  • As Christian individuals and families, we pledge to learn about, acknowledge and repent of choices—in our shopping, eating and recreation, whether at our homes or in our travel—that contribute to pollution and ecological destruction, and we resolve to take significant steps towards lifestyles that are sustainable and aligned with our Christian calling.
  • As Christian churches and communities, we pledge to help give voice to the grief we must bear over the destruction caused by our actions and our inaction over many years—including within our church life, and we resolve to imagine how we might practice fellowship, ownership, and renewal in ways that better reflect our commitment to Christian compassion and stewardship, so that our church models best practices for creation care within our community.
  • As Christians in our workplaces and businesses, we pledge to consider the ecological impact of our economic activity, and we resolve to cooperate with all those linked in our work to plan a transition towards pollution free and sustainable working practices.
  • As Christian citizens, we pledge to engage with and encourage our leaders and representatives, from local to national government, and we resolve to support measures that reduce ecological harm and promote transition towards an economy and society that offers a sustainable future.
  • As members of a worldwide church family, we pledge not only to pray for but also to partner with vulnerable communities threatened by ecological breakdown and extreme weather disasters, and we resolve to support projects in partner communities that build resilience, promote long term security, and conserve and protect natural habitat and biodiversity.

As Christians, we pledge to live our values as citizens of God’s new society, which Jesus inaugurated, sustains through the Holy Spirit and promised to bring to fulfilment. And we resolve to bring hope and love to our neighbours around the globe as we celebrate, protect and care for the Earth, our common home, and joyfully join in creation’s praise.

(If you are a Christian ethicist or teach Christian ethics and wish to add your name, please email Christine McCarthy at cmccarthy06@marywood.edu with your name, position, and institution. Institutions are named for identification purposes only and this does not necessarily represent their support of this statement.)

Signed,

  1. Tobias Winright, Mäder Endowed Associate Professor of Health Care Ethics and Theological Ethics, Saint Louis University
  2. Ryan Patrick McLaughlin, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Theology, College of Saint Elizabeth
  3. David R. Weiss, Public Theologian, St Paul’s United Church of Christ, St. Paul, MN
  4. Maria Teresa Dávila, Lecturer in Religious and Theological Studies, Merrimack College
  5. Daniel P. Scheid, Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Duquesne University
  6. Anna Floerke Scheid, Associate Professor, Duquesne University
  7. Jacaranda Turvey Tait, Honorary Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Chester
  8. Christine E. McCarthy, Instructor in Catholic Social Ethics, Marywood University
  9. Marcus Mescher, Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics, Xavier University
  10. Timothy Harvie, Associate Professor, Program Coordinator for Social Justice and Catholic Studies, St. Mary’s University, Calgary, Alberta
  11. M. Therese Lysaught, Professor, Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy, Stritch School of Medicine, Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University Chicago
  12. Mary Catherine O’Reilly-Gindhart, Doctoral Candidate in Theology, University of Glasgow
  13. Paul J. Greene, Assistant Professor of Theology, St. Catherine University
  14. Mikael Broadway, Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics, Shaw University Divinity School
  15. Kevin Carnahan, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Central Methodist University
  16. John P. Slattery, Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  17. Maria Gwyn McDowell, Rector, St. Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church, Portland, Oregon
  18. Mark J. Allman, Professor of Religious & Theological Studies, Merrimack College
  19. Elena G. Procario-Foley, Br. John G. Driscoll Professor of Jewish-Catholic Studies, Iona College
  20. Gerald J. Beyer, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Villanova University
  21. Richard W. Miller, Professor of Systematic Theology and Sustainability Studies, Creighton University
  22. Vincent J. Miller, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Dayton
  23. Brad J. Kallenberg, Professor of Theology & Ethics, University of Dayton
  24. Peter E. Baltutis, Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies and Catholic Women’s League Chair for Catholic Studies, St. Mary’s University, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  25. Scott Paeth, Professor of Religious Studies, DePaul University
  26. Kerry Danner, Lecturer in Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Georgetown University
  27. Alex Mikulich, Catholic social ethicist, Pittsfield, MA
  28. Stephen Bede Scharper, Associate Professor of Religion, University of Toronto
  29. John Sniegocki, Associate Professor of Religious Ethics, Xavier University
  30. Peter L. Jones, Associate Dean
    & Clinical Assistant Professor, Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University Chicago
  31. Mark Graham, Associate Professor of Theological Ethics, Villanova University
  32. Agnes M. Brazal, Professor of Theology & Ethics, De la Salle University, Manila, Philippines
  33. Christopher Steck, SJ, Associate Professor, Georgetown University
  34. David Clough, Professor of Theological Ethics, University of Chester
  35. W. L. Patenaude, author, founder, CatholicEcology.net and co-founder of the Global Catholic Climate Movement
  36. Rev. David J.M. Coleman, Environmental Chaplain, Eco-Congregation Scotland
  37. Trevor Bechtel, Student Engagement Coordinator at Poverty Solutions, University of Michigan
  38. Luis T. Gutierrez, Editor, Mother Pelican Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability
  39. Rachel Hart Winter, Director, St. Catherine of Siena Center, Dominican University
  40. Daniel R. DiLeo, Assistant Professor and Director, Justice and Peace Studies Program, Creighton University
  41. Eli S. McCarthy, Professor of Justice and Peace Studies, Georgetown University
  42. Joseph J. Fahey, Chair, Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, Manhattan College

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