Religious faith and practice can make the most committed and powerful contributions to reconciliation and to economic justice. It can also use texts and traditions to avoid responsibility and to commit selfish or harmful actions, says Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches. Speaking to the UN, he offers an inspiring yet honest vision of the way churches and other religious communities can make a vital contribution to building justice and peace for the whole of humanity, while being held necessarily accountable before God and the world they are intended to serve.
The grim facts of environmental degradation are causing worldwide economic loss and that means greater poverty and health problems, says Fr Shay Cullen, focusing on the ecological and financial cost of coal, and upon the impact on East Asia. Time and again short term benefits are mostly for the rich while the environmental damage hurts the poor, he says, citing a report commissioned by the G8 and the United Nation's Environmental Programme.