Oct. 16, 2018

WCC general secretary speaks on link between poverty and climate change .

Before the Community of Sant'Egidio in Bologna, Italy, World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit spoke on “Poverty and Inequality in a Time of Climate Change.”

Tveit reflected that, even as we are living in an era of unprecedented abundance for some, nearly a billion people are deprived of the barest necessities that are needed to support life.

“The stark contrast between these two realities is reflected in various measures of socio-economic inequality,” Tveit said. “Poverty and inequality are critical themes that Christian theology has engaged with for many centuries.”

And we cannot talk about poverty and inequality without talking about climate change, Tveit said. “Just a week ago, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its newest research: a wake-up call it is hoped for our leaders and societies,” he said. “The IPCC report reveals that global temperatures have already warmed by 1 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels and the effects are already being experienced from powerfully destructive hurricanes in the Caribbean, forest fires in Europe and North America and water shortages in Africa and many parts of the world.”

There is greater recognition in the theological debates of the last century that poverty is not an outcome of fate or laziness or lack of faith in God, Tveit continued. “Progressive reflections point to poverty’s rootedness in structural injustices or dysfunctional economic systems that privilege a few while marginalising many others,” he said.

Tveit underlined in his presentation “if we are to banish poverty in our world, if we are to live sustainably, God invites us to build a different kind of economy – an Economy of Life – where we, human beings, celebrate the sacred gift of life; where we tend the Earth that sustains us with love and respect for all creation; and where all of us, sisters and brothers, jointly develop systems of sharing and enjoy the basic necessities of life”

The Sant’Egidio meeting with the theme “Bridges of peace” is taking place from 14-16 October.