Conference on role of churches in saving the environment

 As Britain goes to the polls, the Fifth Assembly of the European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) will be meeting in Basel in Switzerland, from 4-9 May. The different churches in Britain and Ireland are well represented. Over 120 delegates from East and West Europe will attend, among them lay people and clergy, theologians, scientists and politicians. The UK participants include: Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool, Revd Dr Michael Northcott of The University of Edinburgh School of Divinity, Dr Donald Bruce, Director of the Society Religion and Technology Project of the Church of Scotland and Dimitri Oikonomou, representative of the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate and members of Christian ecology link. There will be working groups on: Creation Time; Climate change; Motorised mobility, in particular air traffic; Eco-management; Water; Education; Creation theology; The churches' contribution to a Sustainable Europe. The aim is for participants to reach a clearer understanding of the political decisions and practical actions that need to be taken if the ecological base of human life is to be sustained. The exchange between the participants will equip them to bring back to their churches ideas on how to promote greener lifestyles alongside supporting effective government measures. Several delegates will stay on to meet with a consultation preparing an environmental input (focusing on water and climate change) to the Ninth Assembly of the World Council of Churches, to take place in Porto Alegre, Brazil in February 2006. The European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) was founded in 1998 in response to a resolution of the Second European Ecumenical Assembly in Graz (1997) Christian Ecology Link is the leading UK organisation for Christians concerned about care of the environment. For more information see: Judith Allinson, CEL's web editor, said: "One quarter of the world's mammals and one eighth of the world's plants are under threat of extinction. Species are becoming extinct at over 1000 times the natural rate due to human activity. We need to do more to protect them for future generations. "If everyone in the world has the same lifestyle as the average American we would need three planets to supply the materials - and Europeans are not far behind the Americans."

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