The College of Bishops Sign Joint Declaration of Ecumenical Solidarity with the Amazon

September 6, 2019

The College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church has endorsed and signed the following declaration from the Latin American Churches in response to the ongoing crisis in the Amazon Rainforest:

God speaks to us of all creation. Heaven and Earth proclaim the  presence of the love of God that gives us life in the forest, in the waters, in the atmosphere, in the miracle of seeds and in the diversity of all that exists. Every being who breathes participates in this love. Every being who breathes also knows that this lovemade world, is threatened and exploited by an economic model that transforms everything into merchandise, which does not accept limits for its expansion and accumulation of wealth.

We, churches, ecumenical councils, and faith-based organizations are aware of these painful, imminent and worsening threats:

  • Learn to listen to the cry of the forest and all its beings and cultures: often we were callous and deaf to this cry that is born in the heart of the Amazon;
  • Learn to abandon our preconceived ideas about the region: often we do not listen to the beings and cultures that make the Amazon beat;
  • Learn to interpret the deterioration of economic, cultural, religious and political models of intensive and predatory extractives: often we do not raise our prophetic voice in the defence of peoples, species and territories against megaprojects in the region, financed with local and global capital, promoters of the climate crisis;
  • Let us learn to embody our faith in life and in Amazonian cultures: we often tolerate supremacists and destructive missionary proposals, destroyers of the diverse presence of God in the Amazon;
  • Learn from the current process of the Pan-Amazonian Synod of the Roman Catholic Church and the exhortation of Pope Francis’ encyclical on care for the environment, Laudato Si to dialogue in this moment of spirituality and prophecy, assuming also our commitment and faith.

In defence of the great Amazon, its people and all its created beings. In defence of our common home. In defence of every being that breathes. We want the Amazon alive, sovereign and protected. We commit ourselves to the dialogues of faith and to maintain our presence in the region taking as a priority all the beings and cultures of the Amazon. We are committed to:

  1. Continue to pressure states to ensure that traditional threatened communities (indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, peasants, among others) have access to and control over the land and its common property.
  2. Contribute to ensuring that historically excluded and marginalized communities in the forest and in the cities, participate, influence and make decisions in the processes that affect them in a direct way in their territories.
  3. Defend human rights defenders and nature defenders who are constantly being threatened through effective reporting and protection mechanisms.
  4. Support local communities in the promotion of sustainable economic alternatives and to confront the current economic system facing the challenges of the climate crisis in the region.
  5. Develop an ecological spirituality that will help us to listen to what the spirit says to the churches, feeling part of the common home and the whole inhabited world.
  6. Support local organizations and faith-based initiatives in the development of these objectives, keeping us always informed, challenging and active in what is an imperative of our faith: WE ARE THE AMAZON!
  7. Summon our churches and sister organizations in the Global North and South to prayer and action, aware that the dangers of extinction of the planet are before all, but the solidarity and the globalization of hope are what unites us in the defence of our common home: The world that God loves so much.

You can read more about this joint declaration