Church leaders failed to adress climate Change: IUCN

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Wed 03 Apr 2013

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SIGATOKA, Fiji --- Church leaders have failed to step up to the challenge of climate change, says Taholo Kami, Regional Director for Oceania Program of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

He said leaders of faith-based organizations needed to become fearless advocates of environment change.

Kami said greed was the key to environmental degradation throughout the world.

At the same time he suggested that the core values of all major religions directed their followers to act responsibly with the environment.

“We need to be responsible stewards here on earth rather than preparing for a future spiritual life,” Kami said.

“After this summit we need to take a giant leap of action and as faith-based organizations we are best equipped to do this.”

Iosefo Maiava, Head of UNESCAP Pacific Office stressed that irresponsible use of resources could have untold damage on the environment and natural resources.

Using an example from Papua New Guinea, Maiava said indiscriminate logging had destroyed forests, food sources and sacred sites.

“Previously the sacred sites (in the Sepik District) had been home to the Bird of Paradise and the cassowary,” Maiava told delegates at the National Faith-based Organisation Environment Stewardship Summit.

He said the Bird of Paradise – a sacred totem of the Sepik people – lived in abundance along with the cassowary which was an important source of protein to villages.

“But when the young men moved in with a mobile saw and felled the trees, the birds disappeared with the sacred sites,” Maiava said.

Delegates were told that all faiths taught their followers about links between man and nature.

They were also encouraged to find common messages on environmental protection which would benefit their followers and help in the conservation of natural resources.


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