A Rocha International and Climate Stewards position paper on climate change

A Rocha is an international conservation organization working to show God’s love for all creation. As a Christian organization, we believe that the earth and all it contains, including both human and nonhuman creatures, exist for the glory of God. Being created in God’s image brings humanity a particular responsibility for seeking the flourishing of all people and of biodiverse ecosystems, both now and for the future. We also recognise that we are called to use the earth’s rich resources wisely, fairly and sustainably. In an era of multiple severe environmental threats that are largely caused by humanity’s greed and overconsumption, our Christian faith gives us both a motivation to act decisively and a position of hope regarding the worth of our actions.

A Rocha accepts the overwhelming scientific consensus that current climatic changes are predominantly due to human action, and that urgent radical action is necessary to prevent the catastrophic risks of runaway climate change. As world leaders prepare for, and attend, COP21, this scientific consensus should inform any climate change discussions. Specifically we call for:

APPENDIX

A Rocha International climate change policy statement

A Rocha is an international conservation organization working to show God’s love for all creation. A Rocha’s aims (adapted from the Charitable Objects) are to:

Although A Rocha’s mission and aims are concerned with conserving and restoring the natural environment, we recognise that carrying out this work also results in some adverse environmental impacts. One area of particular concern to us is our contribution to human-induced climate change. We accept the scientific consensus on the reality of climate change and the human-driven causes behind it and are very concerned about the impacts not just for human populations, but for the survival of other species and whole ecosystems.

As a Christian organization, we take a biblical view of the importance of stewardship of the world’s resources including fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources. We also believe it is the responsibility of all to tackle climate change and its effects. Furthermore, our biblical basis gives us a position of hope, that despite the huge scale of the task ahead of us, it is worth working for a better future. To combat climate change, we understand that it is necessary to work at two levels: to seek reduction in carbon emissions and to participate fully in global efforts to stem the rate of climate change; and to work within the reality of current climate change situations to reduce impacts on ecosystems and their biodiversity.

As an international community we also benefit from and wish to promote cross-cultural exchange and the synergies of working beyond national borders, in an effort to solve environmental problems. Our commitment to community means that we value and invest in relationships between staff and different projects, which requires a certain amount of international travel. Additionally, our focus on community-based local projects often means that we are working from field study centres, which rely on a certain amount of energy use. Whilst valuing these ways of working, we are also committed to finding ways of reducing our contribution to human-induced climate change, as well as mitigating against its impacts.

This climate change policy has been developed as a step towards achieving these goals. We will endeavour to create a shared sense of responsibility between our staff, volunteers, members and supporters in putting it into practice in the following areas:

1. Information and Education

2. Partnerships

3. Energy Use in Buildings

4. Travel

5. Practical Conservation

Co-operate with those also working on research, conservation and environmental projects related to mitigating climate change, in particular contributing to global understanding of impacts on biodiversity, through our species and habitat monitoring programmes.

Updated: 2 January 2016

[1] IPCC, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, 151 pp. http://ar5-syr.ipcc.ch/ipcc/ipcc/resources/pdf/IPCC_SynthesisReport.pdf

[2] Bright Now: towards fossil free Churches http://acen.anglicancommunion.org/media/61013/bright_now_fossil_free_churches.pdf

[3] Europeans doe DivestInvest, http://divestinvest.org/europe/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2015/06/Divest-Invest-overview-June-2015.pdf

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