Faith Groups Call for African Spirit of “Ubuntu”; End Sinful, American-style Greed

South African Bishop Geoff Davies (L) and Mardi Tindal, Moderator of the United Church of Canada

By Stephen Leahy

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec 9 (IPS)

African and international faith leaders urged governments attending the final day of climate change negotiations to do what is right and necessary to keep global temperature from rising no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“The two degrees Celsius target is unacceptable because temperatures in much of Africa will be far higher,” said South African Bishop Geoff Davies.

Oil and coal companies along with other major polluting corporations are engaged in “crimes against humanity and the planet” because they continue to pollute the atmosphere when they have ability to do otherwise, said David Le Page of the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI).

More than 130 African faith leaders have signed a declaration offering specific recommendations based science, honesty, morality and equity. They called on delegates negotiating a new climate treaty here at the 17th Conference of Parties to live up to the African spirit of “ubuntu” – a way of living focused on people’s allegiances and relations with each other.

The current economic system encourages “people to get as rich as they can and forget about anyone else,” said Davies. “It’s an immoral system.”

“Historic polluters like the United States have to reduce their emissions dramatically” and their position here is “shocking” and “reprehensible”, he said. The children and grandchildren of U.S. congressmen will ask what they were doing to be so selfish and irresponsible, Davies said.

The U.S is the most religious society in the world but their behaviour is “sinful” in their refusal to reduce emissions that causing so much suffering among people, he said.

“When lifestyles of the wealthy hurt the lives of the poor….and future generations it is wrong,” Mardi Tindal, Moderator of the United Church of Canada, the country’s largest Protestant denomination.

“Climate change is a moral, ethical and spiritual issue. We need moral leadership not political leadership,” Tindal told IPS.

“South Africa has had courageous, moral leaders like Ghandi and Mandela. If our leadership shows the same moral courage the people will follow them.” Continue reading

Truth and Wisdom From Spiritual Leaders at Durban Climate Talks

Why do countries at the international climate talks accomplish so little when they apparently understand the science and risks of global warming?

Here is the knowledgeable, depressing and yet inspiring answer from three remarkable spiritual leaders:

 

That was a press conference on one the last days of the 2011 climate talks in Durban. And here is the article I wrote about this and the “ubuntu” declaration by more than 130 African faith leaders. — Stephen