Global Christian leader on climate change

I hadn’t heard a word about it before today, but apparently the general secretary of the World Council of Churches was in New York this week.

Dr. Samuel Kobia, a Methodist from Kenya, called concerns about global warming “a matter of faith.”

Here’s the statement from the “WCC:”:

NEW YORK, Dec.21, 2007– In a visit this week to global humanitarian
agency Church World Service’s New York headquarters, World Council
of Churches head Dr. Samuel Kobia called concerns about climate
change “a matter of faith� and said the Christian faith community must
be at the vanguard of the response.

kobia-jan06-small.jpg“We have seen that when we become careless the effect is what we are
seeing now with global warming. I think as Christians we should be the
ones to lead the way so that others then can follow because for us it is
not just a matter of political or economic or ecological concern it is a
matter of faith,� Kobia said.

He was in the United States for meetings with heads of churches and
other ecumenical leaders, including Church World Service Executive
Director and CEO John McCullough. Church World Service is a member of
the Central Committee, the chief governing body of the World Council of

Although the subject has only recently become a focus of global
concern, Kobia emphasized that the WCC is not a newcomer to the debate:
“The WCC has had a program around climate change since 1992. We have
books on eco-theology. We called the program Justice, Peace and the
Integrity of Creation. We talked about the danger the approach to
development has to the integrity of creation. Therefore for us it is not
a new idea.�

With more than a decade of study and concern about climate change, the
council is well positioned to lead a global ecumenical response to
degradation of the environment.

Kobia says he “would like to invite the entire Christian community to
be involved in the work on climate change. It is a gospel imperative
for churches to be involved in the work on climate change. It is a
gospel imperative because human beings are entrusted with the rest of
God’s creation. It is there for us not to plunder and not to
dominate, but to care.�

Church World Service is accelerating its own advocacy campaign on climate
change, as well as advocacy work with faith-based and other partners in
Washington, pressing U.S. policy- and lawmakers to raise the bar on this
country’s commitments to combat the crisis.

Along with the National Council of Churches (NCC) and the National Catholic
Rural Life Conference, Church World Service filed a brief in 2006
supporting the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and 11 other states in the
landmark suit against the Environmental Protection Agency, for the EPA’s
failure to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Despite the court’s finding against the EPA in April this year, the Bush
Administration yesterday (Thurs Dec 19) announced that it will block efforts
by California, Maryland, and 15 other states to cut emissions of global
warming gasses from cars and trucks.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.