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Cape Town summit for bishops battling climate change

27 February 2015


BISHOPS who are confronting rising sea-levels, deforestation, droughts, and tsunamis in their dioceses met in Cape Town this week to devise strategies for "climate justice".

Sixteen bishops from some of the provinces most affected by climate change were gathered by the Chair of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba.

The Bishop of New York, the Rt Revd Andrew Dietsche, described the impact that Hurricane Sandy had had on the United States, while the Bishop of Harare, the Rt Revd Chad Gandiya, spoke of flooding in the cities of Zimbabwe because of developments on wetlands. Deforestation in Zambia meant the loss of about 300,000 hectares every year, the Bishop of Eastern Zambia, the Rt Revd William Mchombo, reported.

The bishops are already active in responding to climate change, and shared strategies and theologies that have proved useful in their respective regions, with a view to closer collaboration. The group will become "visible in offering biblical and moral leadership in the area of climate justice", the Environmental Co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Revd Rachel Mash, said in a briefing published last week.

A report will be produced, and it is hoped that "more Anglicans will understand that responding to climate change is part of our baptismal vocation", and will "speak out on behalf of those experiencing the worst effects of climate change".

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