South American Church leaders call for 'zero deforestation' following Amazon fires

(Photo: Reuters)

Anglican bishops from across South America have united in a call to governments around the world to implement zero deforestation policies following the devastating fires that have raged in the Amazon. 

In a joint statement, the bishops said that the fires reflected "human pride and disobedience against God's command to be stewards of His creation". 

They want to see governments implement laws and programmes aimed at protecting and restoring the Amazon rainforest as they warned of destruction to biodiversity and homes.

They said that delaying such action could see an increase in natural disasters.

"We believe that without genuine repentance on the part of all of us, we will continue to pay a huge price with greater disasters than those we have recently seen in our countries," they said. 

Their call was not only to governments, though, as they called on businesses to develop sustainable practices and urged individuals to reduce their own carbon footprint. 

"We also urge businesses and producers to reflect on their strategies of exploitation and extraction of natural resources and to seek more sustainable alternatives," they said.

"Finally, we urge all the inhabitants of planet earth to adopt ways, customs and habits, that will reduce their carbon footprint, and do less harm to the planet.

"We consider these measures to be essential if we are to combat climate change and ensure the survival of those peoples who seek to protect their ancestral lands."

The statement was signed by Gregory Venables, Primate of the Province of South America, Diocesan Bishop of Argentina; Nicholas Drayson, Diocesan Bishop, Northern Argentina; Mateo Alto, Suffragan Bishop, Northern Argentina; Crisanto Rojas, Suffragan Bishop, Northern Argentina; Raphael Samuel, Diocesan Bishop, Bolivia; Peter Bartlett, Diocesan Bishop, Paraguay; Jorge Aguilar, Diocesan Bishop, Perú and Daniel Genovesi, Interim Bishop, Uruguay.