Ecological Concerns :: News


Kanyakumari Declaration
Friday, Jul 21, 2017


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We, the delegates from the twenty four Dioceses of CSI attending the National Workshop on ‘Sustainable Values for a Green Church’ from 19th to 20th July 2017 at Kanyakumari  request the CSI Synod to support only the development that fulfils  the requirement  of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. The present development paradigm which is being promoted by the developed countries is responsible for the global ecological crisis. We request the developed countries to change their present development paradigm using fossil fuels which is primarily responsible for Climate change.  

As we are living in a global world any action of the developed countries will affect the entire universe, hence we must think globally and act locally. Though climate change is a global problem, all people are not equally responsible for it. The industrialised nations, representing less than 20% of the world's population, account for nearly 90% of annual GHG emissions over the last century, mainly through the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas). Hence, we make a distinction between the ‘luxury emissions of the rich' and the ‘survival emissions of the poor'. Hence, we condemn the move of US president to withdraw from the Paris agreement.

As the CSI is committed in protecting the integrity of creation, we do believe that Green protocol should be reflected in the life and ministry of the Church. We do believe that the Church should respond prophetically or lament like Jeremiah when big multinational companies exploit natural resources and consequently the whole creation is being crucified. The Church has to express solidarity with the groaning creation.   God the creator, designed the universe as interdependent and as a living organism and therefore the harmony of the universe will be preserved only by the dynamic balance between all its components.

We will resist the claim that anything in creation is merely a resource for human exploitation, species extinction for human benefit; consumerism and harmful mass production; pollution of land, air and waters; all human activities which are now leading to rapid climate change; and the policies and plans which contribute to the disintegration of creation. We conserve Energy and water; educate the congregation to ensure that energy is used efficiently and wherever possible reduce its use; encourage the increased use of renewable energy; use water efficiently with care and avoid pollutants entering the drainage system.

Regarding Waste, we recommend four R’s as the policy of CSI- Reduce Waste, Recycle waste, Reuse Waste and Refuse waste coming from the developed countries.

Regarding Materials and Resources, we request all the members of the CSI to buy products which are made in accordance with the principle of using material in a sustainable way and to use locally-made goods wherever possible. Also, to take into account the lifetime costs of materials while repairing, altering or rebuilding premises; maximise the proportion of paper used from sustainable sources and recycled materials; offer electronic communication as an alternative to paper for those who are suitably equipped; show concern for the environmental quality of food production systems and the equitable global distribution of food

Regarding Natural and Built Environment, we request the CSI Synod to utilise opportunities to conserve and enhance the natural and built environment, promote and encourage eco friendly constructions. As huge Church buildings are becoming a liability in the western countries, we request the CSI synod to formulate a policy for Church Constructions.  At present 80% money is being spent on constructing tower of the Church. We speak and fight against the exploitations of natural resources by multinational companies and we use natural resources extravagantly for the construction of Church buildings. Huge luxurious church building should not be permitted in the CSI. In future, various denominations in an area should think in terms of sharing Church buildings.

During travel, we have to make every effort to reduce air pollution and energy consumption; avoidance of unnecessary travel and the use of energy efficient vehicles; explore undertaking the ministry of the Church in ways which reduce the need for travel particularly by car and encourage the use of public transport, cycle and by foot; to car  pool wherever possible ;to support the expansion of good quality public transport, the provision of improved facilities for cyclists and pedestrians and local Green Travel Programmes.

Agriculture is a serious issue which the Church must address. The wrong agricultural practices are responsible for diseases, malnutrition, poverty etc. The Church has to promote organic cultivation and take a strong stand against GM cultivation in agriculture. Encourage parish members to plant saplings outside their boundaries.  We request each parish to honour poor farmers during Christmas season. The CSI Synod is supporting the Gadgil committee report in protecting Western Ghats and has taken a stand against the GM Crops in Agriculture.  Fossil-fuel based, automobile-centred, throwaway economy is not a viable model for the world. The alternative is a solar/hydrogen energy economy, an urban transport system that is centred

on advanced – design public rail systems and a comprehensive reuse/recycle economy. We have to build an economy that will support, not undermine, the future generations.   Therefore, we commit ourselves to be members of both the living community of creation in which we are but one species, and members of the covenant community of Christ; to be co-workers with God, with a moral responsibility to respect the rights of the future generations; and to conserve and work for the integrity of creation both for its inherent value to God and in order that justice may be achieved and sustained.   

Kanyakumari declaration is the outcome of the first workshop organized by the CSI (Church of South India) Synod Department of Ecological Concerns as a prelude to the implementation of Green Protocol in CSI. The Rt. Rev. M Joseph, chairman of Ecological Committee of CSI Synod, Prof. Dr. Mathew Koshy Punnackad, Hon. Director of CSI Synod Department of Ecological Concerns, Mr. K. Paul Thomas (MD and CEO of ESAF Bank), Mr. Sridhar Radhakrishnan (Thanal), Dr. Sankaranarayanan Paleeri and the eco leaders of all the Dioceses of CSI enriched the workshop with their comments and views. CSI has a membership of 45 lakhs of people spread all over south India and Srilanka comprising of 24 dioceses. CSI has initiated projects like rain water harvesting, waste management, afforestation, renewable energy, planting saplings in all the dioceses in addition to publication of resource materials and eco educational programmes.

Contact: Dr. Mathew Koshy Punnackad, Hon. Director, CSI Synod Dept. of Ecological Concerns. csi.oikos@gmail.com