India: Advocates for Climate Justice

Floods, droughts, tropical cyclones and typhoons: the effects of climate change are very noticeable in South India. The Church of South India is raising awareness for climate justice and behaviour to preserve the environment.

A new programme started by the Church of South India (CSI) trains pastors, children's service co-workers, and women's and youth group leaders to become advocates for climate justice. The fact is that climate protection is a subject that affects all church members, whether they work full time or as volunteers. As an expression of Christian faith, the Church calls on its members to take responsibility for preserving the creation. It wants to raise awareness for ecology in all age groups.

It's mainly the poor who are affected

Climate change has been observed in all 24 dioceses of the Church of South India. Half the dioceses are located on the coast and are therefore more severely affected. It is the poor who are the main ones to suffer from the lack of water, the collapse of the monsoons, the rise in sea level or from floods. Many church members are poor since they belonged to the "Untouchables" or casteless before they adopted Christianity.

This is how the programme works: Full-time co-workers and members of the congregations meet in committees to discuss measures on how to assume responsibility for the creation at local level. Together with the newly trained advocates, they prepare materials for Bible work or children's worship services. They organise talks and workshops to explain climate change, its causes and its effects. They read the Bible again from the perspective of the victims in order to strengthen people's commitment. The aim is to reach church members at grass roots level and inspire them to act and live with respect for the climate.

The programme is conducted by the CSI Department for Ecumenical Relations and Ecological Concerns which was set up in 2010. Since then, consultations have taken place there on various aspects concerning climate.

Support the Church's initiative for climate justice in South India - and help poor people who are worst hit by climate change.

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