We have the right to hope

1st March 2016

We have the right to hope


By Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary, World Council of Churches

We who represent faith-based communities around the world look to you. Sometimes, we remind you of the truth about human failures and our common responsibility.

There is no doubt as to whether climate change is a result of human activity. Therefore, we have a responsibility to alter our behaviour.

The people around the world who suffer today from the effects of climate change dare to hope, and have the right to hope, that you will make significant contributions to reduce the world’s carbon emissions. You know that we must change. That is a reason to hope.

Changes are happening already. Many are changing their priorities and their lifestyles to protect the Earth. Many in the financial and business sectors are changing their investments and practices. They are turning towards de-carbonisation, renewable energy and new methods of production and transportation. The green shift is already happening. We all must follow suit. So many are with us, physically or symbolically, on a pilgrimage of climate justice and peace.

It is time for the human family, and especially those who shape the moral discourse concerning sustainable values for the Earth as our common home, to point more to the possibilities that exist to do what best serves the future of our planet. Hope nurtures and stimulates courage among all actors to make the radical changes needed in the world today. We believe that you have the potential to do what is just for the poor, for those who contribute the least to emissions yet who suffer most.

We believe that you will serve the world by enacting the best examples of human creativity and capacity. We believe you must, you can and you will. We have hope.

Image: José Santos deepening a well in El Burillo village, near Nacaome, Honduras. The drought in the region has reduced the level of the water table and so wells have to be deepened for people to reach the water they depend on. Lack of rainfall in the persistent droughts has meant that the basic grain crops that farmers depend on have failed for three years.