A book launched in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last month reinforced debate on the theme of eco-theology in Latin America with a direct contribution from the World Council of Churches (WCC).
The book in Spanish titled Ecoteologia – Aportes del Ecumenismo ("Eco-theology: Ecumenical Perspectives"), edited by Alfredo Salibián and Eusebio Lizarralde and published by Editorial Dunken, features an article of Dr Guillermo Kerber, WCC programme executive on Care for Creation and Climate Justice.
The book is a compilation of texts presented during a seminar in 2011 addressing the theme "Christian Faith and Ecology: Towards an Eco-ecumenical Theology" at the Protestant theological school Instituto Universitario, ISEDET, in Buenos Aires.
For three decades, the WCC has been stressing the need for a holistic view in addressing climate change, including its scientific and political dimensions at the local, regional and international level, along with economic, ethical and theological-spiritual practices.
In his article, Kerber points to the need for a renewed theology of creation, fed by a more profound reading of the biblical texts and the tradition of the church. “Caring for creation, cultivating and keeping the garden as God asked (Gen 2, 15), is an unavoidable task for human beings and especially for Christians as part of their deepest vocation,” he says.
Justice and spirituality are key elements pointed to by Kerber for a more consistent approach to the theme of eco-justice. He believes the impact of climate change is a challenge for the global regions.
It is due to such challenges that regional ecumenical organisations have made addressing the consequences of climate change a priority in their work. Several initiatives aiming at climate justice have been taken by the All African Conference of Churches and the Pacific Conference of Churches, among others, social contexts that are deeply touched by climate change.
“An eco-theology articulated, responsible and liberating is a sine qua non condition for this component of the mission of the churches, and it can’t ignore science, politics, economics, spirituality, theology,” said Kerber.
The theme of the volume Salibian and Lizarralde reinforces two books launched earlier this year in Latin America. The books are El Cuidado de la Creación y el Calientamiento Global – Perspectivas del Sur y del Norte ("Care for Creation and Global Warming: Perspectives from the North and the South"), edited by Lindy Scott and published by Kairos Publications; and Cambio Global – La Humanidad ante la Creación ("Global Change: Humanity before Creation"), published by Editorial Lumen and edited by Pablo Canziani and Graciela Canziani.
* Published with financial support from the United Church of Canada, Ecoteologia – Perspectivas desde el Ecumenismo will be made available through free public access online.