Seeking an End to Poverty and Environmental Destruction
In observance of World Environment Day, Mike Schut (Economic and Environmental Affairs Officer of the Episcopal Church) and the Episcopal Ecological Network have sent on a link to prayers for World Environment Day 2012 from the Southern African Faith Communities’Environment Institute (SAFCEI). The prayers include petitions for social and economic justice, concerns that are intertwined with our concern for the environment; for peace through justice; for better governance and leaders who follow “spiritual and ethical guidelines”.
The disaster relief agency DARA provides a chart summarizing the need for prayers and action; especially telling is the heart-breaking report of who has been the most vulnerable to climate change in recent years.
According to this chart, as of 2010 there were already 350,000 deaths per year attributable to climate change. Of those deaths, nearly 80% were registered among one population: children under the age of 5 living in South Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa. Links next to the chart provide more statistics about where we have been and where we are expected to go in this century. From 2030 on, there are one million deaths per year expected, along with “several million cases” each year of illness or disability, or people displaced, injured, or in need of emergency assistance.
The prayers from SAFCEI include a prayer for Rio+20 written by the Anglican Archbishop of Capetown, Thabo Makgoba. The Rio+20 Conference is the UN Conference on Sustainable Development that will be held in Rio de Janeiro on June 20-22. The aim of the conference to find agreement on a range of measure that can reduce poverty while promoting decent jobs, clean energy, and a more sustainable and fair us of resources. (In the church, we might call this a stewardship conference.) The conference website says “Rio +20 is a chance to move away from business-as-usual and to act to end poverty, address environmental destruction and build a bridge to the future.”
The offering of many prayers for the world’s leaders to seek and find ways to end poverty and address environmental destruction is a good practice this month and every month!