[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] Churches are being encouraged to support a call to action to tackle air pollution – the focus for today’s World Environment Day (5 June). Air pollution has been described as one of the greatest environmental challenges of modern times by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN). The campaign #BeatAirPollution encourages faith-based organisations to lead the fight for cleaner air and a better environment.
Canon Rachel Mash, Environmental Coordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, said: “World Environment Day invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our daily lives to reduce air pollution, which in turn can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benefit people’s health.”
Resolutions from the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Hong Kong, published this week, recognise that there is a global climate emergency and encourages all Anglican churches to live out the fifth Mark of Mission – “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.”
Calls to action from the environmental resolution include: a day of public repentance and a Lenten fast for creation; sustainable living action plans, resources and policies to minimise waste, increase use of renewable energies and incorporate “creation care” into liturgy; identifying climate threats and running strategic planning conferences on the sustainable development goals and climate change, and encouraging the Lambeth Conference 2020 to be as environmentally sustainable as possible.
World Environment Day is being hosted by China this year and Bishop Andrew Chan of Western Kowloon in the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, has written a prayer for the day which is available on the ACEN Green Anglicans website along with sermon and liturgy resources.
According to the site there are 4.2 million deaths every year as a result of exposure to ambient (outdoor) air pollution, while 91 per cent of the world’s population lives in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits. It also states that more people die from air pollution than HIV and Malaria.
The website offers practical ways for communities and churches to help make a difference through cutting down on electricity use, planting trees and organising litter pick-ups.
The day is being backed by the United Nations which has also issued guidelines to help faith groups support the campaign.
Prayer for World Environment Day
we thank you for giving us this beautiful land:
we have sunshine, rain, and air to nourish earth, sea and sky.
For our greed, our excessive exploitation and consumption of resources,
polluting the air you have given to us, we beg for your forgiveness.
Give us hearts to cherish your creation,
so that we can work together to protect the land.
We also pray for all countries in the world
that they may work together to formulate better environmental policies
to improve our atmosphere so that we can again see the life-force
provided to the world through the growth of nature,
and in so doing find a closer relationship with you.
In the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.