Uniting Church Response

By Prof Barry Leal at the FEN Forum on Climate Change, June 2007 - I am from the Uniting Church of Australia but shall speak about the Christian faith as a whole

Churches and Western attitudes

  • Christian churches for a long time have gone along with Western attitudes to nature and identified with them.
  • Domination & subjection: conquer a mountain; tame the bush
  • Gen 1:28: “Be fruitful & multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that that moves upon the earth”


There have been advantages through ensuing technology

  • Feeding more people
  • Disease elimination
  • Medical research


The Problems are:

  • Too successful: pollution and destruction


There is a reconsideration of attitudes

  • Questioning of Western attitudes to nature
  • Search in Scriptures & Christian tradition “with ecological eyes”
  • Find inspiration for constructive action


Examples of favourable traditions

  • Not just Gen 1:28 but 2:15: “The Lord took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it”
  • John 3:16
  • Jesus & parables
  • Francis
  • Hildegard & viriditas
  • Albert Schweitzer