German Christian avoids car no less than others


Central Europe


A pastor on his way to church by bike. Photo AFP, Daniel Sannum Lauten

On average, German Christians are no more ecologically minded than the population, but they are no less environmentally conscious. More conservative churches seem to focus less on the subject than other churches.

The agronomist Thomas Kröck used an online survey and in-depth discussion groups to investigate how environmentally conscious Christians are. This reports the Christian magazine PRO.

In the survey, the participants were asked, among other things, to assess how important topics such as nature conservation and sustainability are to them compared to members of their community. “There were hardly any differences in terms of environmental awareness among those surveyed for whom the issues were important or very important,” explained Kröck, and further: “However, in the subgroup of people for whom the issue is less important, respondents from EKD municipalities showed a higher environmental awareness than those from the FeGs and Gnadauer communities.”

Energy-saving measures

Kröck attributes the increased interest in the topic among EKD members to the fact that the regional churches have been discussing it for some time. In addition, the regional churches have sensitised the parishes to energy-saving measures, environmental compatibility and ecology through various environmental certification programs.

The topic comes up much more often in church services, and more concrete measures have been implemented in congregations that participate in the environmental programs of the churches than in those that do not take part.

Kröck has found that the underlying theology influences environmental awareness and behaviour. Respondents broadly agreed that the natural limits to growth in the industrialised world had been reached. Most respondents also agreed that environmental groups do not grossly exaggerate climate issues.

“According to the available data, however, members of the regional churches are more concerned about life, environmental problems and the environmental crisis,” explains the scientist. “It seems that FeGs and Gnadauer communities - as far as the threat to nature and the environment is concerned - are less worried. We humans can’t interfere with God anyway, they say.”


Before the beginning of the COP27 world climate conference in Egypt from November 6th to 18th, religious representatives in Jerusalem called for climate protection measures. “As people of faith, we must humbly question greed, instant gratification, and short-term thinking,” read a statement, which included representatives of the Jewish, Druze, Muslim, and various Christian communities.

The signatories, including the nuncio to the Holy Land, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, blame “unbridled human activities” for the climate crisis. Emmanuel Nahshon, Deputy Director General for Public Diplomacy at Israel’s Foreign Ministry, spoke of a “moment of emergency” and called on religions to take responsibility for the “sick planet”. Anyone who speaks of faith should not overlook the prevailing reality.

Just like at previous conferences, there are several Christian organisations present at COP27. One of them is 'A Rocha', a Christian conservationist organisation. They sent a letter to their President Emmanuel Macron as well, stressing the need “to provide support to the most vulnerable populations, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa”. “Indeed, they suffer disproportionately from the consequences of global warming even though they are the least responsible for it.”


The bishop of Stockholm, Sweden, is also travelling to Egypt. To deliver his message on the spot, he has to get on the flight to Egypt, something he describes as a paradox, reports the Christian daily Dagen.

"There is a paradox: the meeting is moved to a place where everyone has to fly. And frankly, I have consulted myself about whether the impact that I and my delegation can have during the conference is really proportionate to the damage we are causing by flying there."

However, the bishop states that it is still worth it for him and other church leaders to take the flight to Egypt to fight for reduced emissions and climate justice. "The voice of the churches must be heard close to the negotiating table."

In Switzerland, climate activists want to make all parishes in the canton of Zürich climate neutral. That is reported by Ref.ch. Tobias Adam, one of the initiators of the action says that the Reformed Church should take its responsibility first if it wants to credibly proclaim the preservation of creation.

To reach their goal, parishes in Zürich should use sustainable energy only, Adam proposes. In addition, regional churches should support climate-friendly projects or even initiate them. Also, Adam pleads for more education, for example about global warming. "It needs a cultural and spiritual change", he says.



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