The Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC) is pleased to join the national, regional and international community in observing World Environment Day 2008. It is an invitation to celebrate, assess and recommit to one of the most urgent and all-consuming issues of our time.
On this day, let us first pause a while to simply enjoy the sheer splendour of creation, especially as manifested in our beautiful planet.
Let us celebrate the richness of its ecological diversity and consider the order and harmony which governs its natural systems.
Above all, today is an occasion which calls us to reflect on our attitude to the environment, our relationship with nature and, in particular, our interconnectedness with the whole of creation.
For the Christian Community, World Environment Day holds added significance for it serves as an opportunity for us to recall our God-given obligation to be wise stewards of the earth.
It challenges us to remember that all creation is a gift from God and that as people of God it is our vocation to exercise care and responsibility towards the natural world.
The theme for this year’s observance draws attention yet again to one of the most burning environmental issues of our era.
“Kick the Habit: Towards a Low Carbon Economy” is a rallying call for every person to join the international effort to put a halt to global warming. Not only are the adverse effects of this phenomenon now widely known, but recent events would suggest that they have already begun to be felt in various parts of the world.
The Caribbean, as a region of small island and low-lying coastal states, will be particularly vulnerable to the potentially devastating impacts of climate change. To care for our environment is therefore to care for our own life on earth.
There is no doubt that significant strides have been made in recent years at the international and regional levels, principally under the leadership of the United Nations and the Caribbean Community Secretariat, respectively, to make addressing this threat a top priority.
The possibility of increases in extreme weather-related events such as hurricanes, flooding, inundation and erosion together with the resulting reduction in crop yields, decline in freshwater supplies and increased risk of certain diseases point to a critical role for relevant regional institutions, in particular the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre.
The proposals for the development of a Regional Environmental and Natural Resources Policy Framework and a Caribbean Regional Strategy on Climate Change are also very timely.
At the international level, we are encouraged by the agreement achieved by the world community at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali last December to commence a new negotiating process on an international convention to address this important environmental and human security issue by the end of 2009.
Preliminary research suggests that the global economic cost of addressing climate change at this time might even be lower than anticipated. Moreover, the benefits of restoring the earth’s long-term ecological balance will undoubtedly outweigh the cost of attending to the numerous adverse consequences of climate change.
The concrete steps that are underway to develop clean technology and alternative sources of energy, to promote energy efficiency and forest conservation are to be encouraged.
World Environment Day 2008 is being celebrated during the United Nations International Year of Planet Earth. Let us today recommit ourselves to the protection and preservation of the environment.
Let us cultivate again an attitude of respect for the earth and its systems and strive for greater consciousness of our environment in our daily activities. As Christians, let us listen again to God’s call to nurture and care for creation.
Gerard A.J. Granado
June 4, 2008
Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC)