WWF: ‘Green Patriarch’ backs strong Copenhagen agreement

From the WWF (formerly known as the World Wildlife Fund):

Bartholomew I

Bartholomew I

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, nicknamed the ‘Green Patriarch’ for his longtime support of environmental issues, is calling on political leaders participating in climate change talks this week in Bangkok to agree on strong and fair measures to mitigate climate change in advance of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen this December. Bartholomew is among a growing number of religious leaders from various denominations weaving environmental awareness into their teachings and activities. Last year, more than 400 mosques in Malaysia held sermons focused on turtle conservation issues to discuss the need for better wildlife protection in that country … Demetres Karavellas, CEO of WWF-Greece welcomed the Patriarch’s statement, saying: “The call for strong political commitment against climate change by the leading Primate of the Orthodox Church is a very clear message. It is time for world leaders to listen to this ecumenical message and achieve a binding climate deal at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December.”


  1. One only has so much time and energy, so how one spends it matters immensely. This makes me wonder: does the emphasis given to environmental policy really reflect the EP’s focus and priorities or does it simply reflect the part that the press and various interest groups have chosen to highlight? I dearly hope the latter.
    As I have noted elsewhere, this smacks of trading one’s royal birthright for a mess of pottage. (Contrast this political posturing with Moses who chose to serve God and His people rather than enjoy the privileges of power that were already his.)
    Politics are important – especially since so many have suffered from the oppressive demands of that “all powerful” idol – the state. (I can’t see how the policies being promoted would not ultimately feed the ravenous maw of the state. Only by invoking the threat of near apocalypse can the Green agenda “justify” the concentration of power and eventual economic devastation that would result from implementing its agenda.)
    Politics are indeed important for the proper ordering of community life, but its efforts are necessarily provisional. What politics ultimately aspires to can only be realized by divinized people.
    If this really does reflect the EP’s focus and priority, it is a depressing (or worse) departure from the priceless and eternal calling of leading God’s people to – ironically – the actual healing of the cosmos through participation in the divine energies and communion with the life-giving Trinity.

  2. I think I have Green Patriarch fatigue and the cruise of the mississippi has not even started.

    I was thinking the other day that if the EP ever gets the Nobel Peace Prize which the Phanar greatly covets, he will receive that award for something other than preaching and teaching the Gospel.

    I would just be content for one simple news story that is not about the environmentalism of the EP but his defense of the faith handed down from the Apostles.

  3. George Patsourakos :

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is correct in calling on political leaders to agree on strong and fair measures to reduce climate change.

    Hopefully, a viable climate agreement will be achieved at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen this December.

    • I’d suppose it would be great if he came out with a strong statement supporting my pet political causes, too – but, so far, nary a word to chastise our pro-choice Orthodox representatives. I’m glad you like his and the UN’s position, but anthropogenic “climate change” – at least as promoted by the environmental lobby – is hardly conclusive and the potential consequences of the policy being promoted offers the twin disasters of being both ineffective and economically destructive. Sure the poor will suffer inordinately and the CO2 levels will be reduced by an almost immaterial percentage (of course, when I was young, CO2 was also called plant food), but at least we will “feel” better because we “mean” well.
      Then again, maybe I missed the point, because being “green” lets you be both “prophetic” AND popular. How often does that happen? (Might also explain the relative silence on abortion – definitely not popular among the glitterati.)

      Now I can appreciate the need to be better stewards. To me that stewardship must begin with the proper ordering of our own passions (which seem to be driving an awful lot of the “climate change” agenda); if it doesn’t start there, there is little hope of anything much more “meaningful.”

      While there is nothing wrong with speaking about politics – especially in so far as the integrity of our spiritual calling requires it – our Church suffers when our leadership decides to focus its efforts on the specialties and vocations of others. No one else on earth has the mission to divinize the human person save the Church. If she decides to spend her limited resources elsewhere, neither the “new agenda” nor the ancient mission are done well.

  4. Imagine if the EP had clearly stated that humanity has a duty, as stewards of the environment, to use and care for the gift God’s given us, however, the science behind climate change is anything but a settled issue (is the globe getting warmer? Cooler? What’s the sun’s role? Humanity’s? Are the computer models predicting doom and gloom accurate?). Therefore caution should be taken when decisions by a few can have very serious repercussions for millions. Would the WWF be praising this kind of statement and urging everyone “to listen to this ecumenical message?” Of course not.

    Despite Al Gore’s protestations to the contrary, climate change is not a moral issue. I can accept an EP that calls for people to be good stewards of the land. I cannot accept an EP that picks a side in a scientific debate where one’s position is more determined by politics than scripture.

    It is sad to see a religious leader allowing himself to be dragged into a very contentious political fight.

  5. Here is a perfect example of an issue that would actually warrant Patriarchal comment. Nature magazine has apparently argued that the nature of death should be “re-defined” in order to permit more effective organ harvesting.

    Once that line has been re-drawn (and, it has already has been for some), there is no firm ground on which to stand. Inevitably humanity is reduced to its apparent utility. Of course, using their logic, one has to wonder why one bothers at all. After all, you’re just taking organs from a “mostly dead” (to quote Miracle Max) person to put into a “marginally” dead person – or else they wouldn’t need the organs, right? So, if you didn’t bother with transplants at all, you’d have two “low cost” deaths. (Fewer mouths to feed – a boon to statist governments – and unsaved Scrooges – everywhere.) Does this strike anyone else as more than vaguely . . . well, Nazi?

    This is evil and must be denounced as evil. That it could be published as an honest suggestion (rather than a satirical indictment, ala Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”) is a wake-up call. In my view, the EP would serve humanity far better by standing up against the culture of death as Pope John Paul II did (to whom the world owes more than it can repay) than by carving out a political niche with a Green agenda. Especially since the science is not settled and the planet may, in fact, be cooling. (Where can you get a Hummer when you need one?)
    Of couse, as I noted before, being Green does let you pull off that extremely rare feat of being both prophetic AND popular – so it really works out well that way.
    So, when the culture of death has eventually corrupted human existence, and invariably begun to persecute those who resist it, at least our environment will be “really purdy.”

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