Archbishop urges voters to create green electoral incentive - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
April 18, 2005

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Archbishop urges voters to create green electoral incentive


The Archbishop of Canterbury has called on voters to give politicians "electoral incentives" to tackle environmental issues.

Writing in the Independent on Sunday at the weekend, Dr Rowan Williams warned of a "steadily darkening" global environmental crisis in which the world's poor will suffer disproportionately.

He says political parties cannot be blamed for "minimal" progress on green issues unless voters give them a "genuine popular mandate for change".

"Governments need strengthening in their commitments and need electoral incentives" he wrote.

He believes the time is ripe for a new UN charter, committing nations to wilderness, bio-diversity and "access to natural non-poisoned foods".

To help political leaders have the courage to sign up to such international agreements, voters must make clear that there is "popular motivation" to head off the looming environmental crisis, the Archbishop said.

He also attacked the notion that "unrestricted consumer choice" is a "fundamental human right".

Even if we could satisfy our "addictive behaviours", this might not be a "desirable way of envisaging the human future" he wrote.

The Church of England's General Synod recently approved a report that suggested 'going green' was not an optional extra but a matter of justice.

The report stressed the unique responsibility Christians have for protection of the planet and also explores the causes and consequences of human damage to the environment.

In welcoming the report, however, churches warned that there was much work to be done, despite the Kyoto agreement.

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