"A Heart Merciful to all Creation", St. Isaac the Syrian
Environmental degradation is an injustice that should wrench the heart of every person. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, anguished by the wounds to God's creation, called together theologians, scientists, legal professionals, environmentalists and economists from the international community, the Orthodox Churches, many Christian Churches and the local Religious Communities
of Istanbul to address the issue of environmental justice. Drawing on our faith and values we affirmed
God is love and has created us in his image to love like God. Therefore, our relationship with creation should be based on respect and justice.
Environmental justice demands seeking the common good. It does not allow for poverty or social exclusion in this or future generations. We cannot leave the "unproductive" unprotected. In this new vision, environmental justice should reflect God's care for all creation.
Nature is not an object to be dominated, abused, or exploited at will; humanity is integrally connected with it. One cannot exist without the other. The destruction of the environment signals the destruction of humanity itself.
We call on all people to commit themselves to accept responsibility for environmental justice and to make their lives consistent with their moral and spiritual values.
We also call on the Churches to collaborate on the urgent issue of environmental justice. We urge them to work together in raising awareness with other organizations and institutions. Wechallenge each Church and religious community to educate its own members through preaching, teaching and example. They should encourage men and women of faith actively to participate in the work of environmental justice whatever their walk of life.
We call for new and courageous action to enact, implement and enforce laws, rules, and international agreements to bring about environmental justice.
"THE ENVIRONMENT AND JUSTICE" Statement (Heybeliada, Istanbul, Turkey - June 29, 1997)
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