Churches Urged to Address Challenges on World Environment Day

In marking World Environment Day on Saturday, the National Council of Churches in India urged churches, related-organizations and agencies to celebrate and respond to environmental concerns that are due to human activities.

"We as Christian faith-based communities must thank God for the multi-species and bio-diversified environment as gift to the cosmic world," said the Rev. Christopher Rajkumar, secretary of Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation of NCCI.

He, however, reminded Christians that impending environmental challenges must not be forgotten amid celebration.

"Due to personal and individualistic greedy actions of the powerful, parts of important landscape and species are disappearing everyday from this cosmic community. This is a challenge to faith based communities who affirm God as the creator and sustainer of this cosmos. While thanking God we have to take up the challenge too," said Rajkumar.

This year's World Environment Day theme is "Many Species. One Planet. One Future."

Some 100 species out of earth's 30-50 million species are reportedly lost each day under agriculture schemes, cities, industrial developments and dams or through pollution and erosion. Also, a total of 17,291 species are threatened with extinction.

To mark this year's observance, several NGOs and organizations raised awareness on the environment by holding events, street rallies, forums and poster competitions.

World Environment Day presents an opportunity to search for faith responses, said Rajkumar.

"Church must take it as a missiological responsibility to care and save God's earth. Our commitment to the care of the Cosmic should be our mission agenda, because the 'Earth is Gods, and who dwell in it' (Psl 24:1)."

Hundreds of thousands of people from every local congregation and churches from across the country were mobilized for environmental-care actions and activities locally and nationally.

Some of the proposed activities suggested by the NCCI included special prayers, sermons for "Green Sunday," tree planting on church campus, seminars, dialogues, discussions with other secular groups, essays and art competitions.

World Environment Day was first established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972.

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