Declaration for an Awakened Kinship with the Earth

Center for Earth Ethics - River
We are honored to share a declaration composed by ethicist Larry Rasmussen on the occasion of the Religions for the Earth conference.

EARTH—a stunning gift, a sacred trust, and home.

Home to every human being who ever lived and to every creature that has ever been.

Home to every sight, smell and sensation, home to all our joys and sorrows.

Home to the Spirit – to every altar, temple, mosque, cathedral, sanctuary, and shrine.

We belong here, body and soul. This is our home – our only home.

BUT TODAY we awaken to an astonishing surprise.

We are far too many and many of us are far too rich.

Because we burn fossil fuels relentlessly for ravenous economies and exploding populations, Earth has entered a new geologic era.

Earth can no longer be counted on in the ways we have known.

Not for steady seasons of seedtime and harvest.

Not for glacial waters to feed great rivers.

Not for sea levels trustworthy enough for coastal cities.

Not for flora and fauna to adjust to new diseases or drought.

Not for rainfall and snowpack to quench our thirst and the land’s.

Not for enough healthy habitat to stave off extinction for countless species.

IN THIS PERILOUS MOMENT, our religious communities are called to forge a viable way of life, for an awakening with Earth. We must do this. We can do this.

For this common undertaking science is indispensable. But science cannot give us the courage to retreat and repent from our crimes against creation.


a faith with tenacity, commitment, and loyalty,

a faith that reaches deep enough to summon sacrifice,

a faith that locates us in communities that transcend

our egos and surpass our modest moment in time,

a faith that speaks to the mystery of our lives and honors death and renewal,

a faith that shapes our lives inwardly and outwardly,

a faith that sustains renewable moral-spiritual energy,

This is the power needed to partner with good science and technology.

WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF MONUMENTAL SHIFT. Nature has changed course.

In the past we have known ruin and rebirth, but we were always greeted by nature’s reliability. Not so now.

Our communities need a conversion to these tough truths of an altered planet.

We must generate new capacities for new responsibilities.

Climate change most harms those who contribute least to it.

Yet urgency for social justice must find its way to creation justice.

Learning from Indigenous peoples, justice must and can include the moral claims of Earth, air, fire, and water, the well-being of other species, and the needs of future generations.

Gathered here beneath the great Phoenixes in this nave, we pledge ourselves as leaders of religious, spiritual and environmental communities to care for Earth as the stunning gift of God, a sacred trust.

We pledge every effort to love our Earth home.


We commit our lives to these principles and actions:

that our religious communities will join the urgent global conversation about climate change and speak on behalf of the voiceless

that we will recognize that we share our planet with an immense variety of animal and plant species, whose health is a source a source of spiritual as well as material well-being to all of us

that we will join forces to help brothers and sisters who are in harm’s way from the growing tide of disasters that stem from global warming

that we will call on the world’s political leaders to put aside their differences and forge a meaningful international treaty to restrict carbon emissions, beginning with the UN Climate Summit in 2014 through the Paris Conference of the Parties in 2015

that we will mobilize our faith communities to support those leaders who promise to engage these issues, deliver on their promises, and seek, as we do, to harmonize long-term and short-term needs

that whenever individuals or governments or corporations become destructive of these ends, and place private needs over the good of the planet, we support the right of the people to ask that they forfeit their power

that our places of worship will be living examples of how to design spaces more in harmony with nature, drawing energy from renewable sources

that we will together form a beloved Earth community and civilization, inspired by the movements to end racism, apartheid, fascism and other forms of mental and physical violence, so that we might meet the unprecedented challenge before us.

that we will love ourselves and each other enough to change in the name of Earth.