“This must be a wake-up call to us all” – Religious leaders call for climate action

May 15, 2024

The Most Rev Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church is among the signatories of a statement by religious leaders on action to tackle climate change in Scotland.  The signatories write that: “addressing the climate crisis is a moral necessity, and Scotland must do all it can to play its part”, and call for: “unity from all political parties, from business leaders, communities and everyone in society to recognise the risks of inaction”.

The statement was published ahead of a summit on the climate crisis, which was held in Edinburgh on 9 May at the official residence of the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton.  The Rev Dr Valerie Cameron, a member of the Provincial Environment Group, attended the meeting of faith leaders and scientists on behalf of the Primus, and commented: “I was delighted to attend this important gathering. The science is clear that our climate is changing for the worse, vast numbers of species are at risk and habits are being lost.

“We are hugely concerned by the Scottish Government’s recent change in policy on climate change targets. Human behaviour, our greed for more goods and the damage caused by pollution, is impacting on our planet and it is the those who have done the least who are the most affected.

“As people of faith,  it is our moral responsibility to wake up to this crisis, to stand up for Gods creation and we must act now.”

The statement by religious leaders was also accompanied by two similar statements from leading scientists and members of civil society in Scotland.  Christian Aid, writing on their website said that: “As Scotland stands at a crossroads in its response to the climate crisis, this unprecedented step taken by the leaders of these communities to come together and urge people to acknowledge the risks of inaction and devise solutions is significant.”

You can read more at the Christian Aid website here: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/news/climate-change/scottish-faith-leaders-unite-climate-action

And the full document can be read here: https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/121518/Climate-changeaction.pdf

The statement from religious leaders is printed in full below:

“We believe that addressing the climate crisis is a moral necessity, and Scotland must do all it can to play its part. 

“We are alarmed by the conclusion of the Climate Change Committee, which recently described Scotland’s 2030 targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions as “no longer credible.” 

“This must be a wake-up call to us all. If we collectively fail to act there will be grave implications for the planet – our common home – and for our sisters and brothers across the world who have contributed the least to this crisis and who are already bearing its worst effects. 

“We are calling for unity from all political parties, from business leaders, communities and everyone in society to recognise the risks of inaction. We must regather and redouble our efforts and seek ways to work together to deliver the action we all know we need to see. 

“It is our shared belief and hope that action is possible, and that together we may yet still limit global heating to what science informs us is necessary and possible. We stand united in our wish to protect the dignity of human life and creation. We urge all citizens to remain hopeful, and for those with influence and power to be bold. The road is not easy but our collective energy and prayers will be with all those working for a successful outcome. We commit to work together to encourage our own faith communities to participate through prayer and action to live more sustainably and to use our voices to call for action from those in positions of authority.

The Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
The Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Colonel Sylvia Hinton, Salvation Army Secretary for Scotland
Michael Hutchinson, Clerk, Quakers in Scotland
Ravinder Kaur Nijjar, Advisor Sikhs in Scotland, Sikh Representative, Scottish Religious Leaders Forum
The Most Rev William Nolan, Archbishop of Glasgow
Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, Abbot of Kagyu Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre
Rabbi David Rose, Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation
The Rev Lindsey Sanderson, Moderator, National Synod of Scotland, The United Reformed Church
Dr Maureen Sier, Director, Interfaith Scotland
Linsay Taylor, Muslim Council of Scotland
Dr Srihari Vallabhajousula, Hindu temple of Scotland
Ameed Versace, Director of Resilient Earth, Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society