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Eco-twinning offers a chance for action and understanding

10 July 2008:

Girls from the school at Ethiopia's Sebata nunnery help construct the nunnery's bio-gas digester - a project funded by ARC and an ideal example for eco-twinning.

Climate change is a global problem, and the more vulnerable countries of the world are suffering the consequences now.

Sub-Saharan Africa is already experiencing the effects of climate change – it is slowly getting starved of water. In Northern Kenya, for example, the increase in droughts has left 80 percent of the population dependant on food aid.

The President of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), Rt Rev Dr Nyansako-Ni Nku, recently addressed AACC leaders in Nairobi, Kenya in June 2008 to highlight the consequences of climate change. The AACC has some 120 million Christians, many in sub-Saharan Africa, who have been displaced due to environmental catastrophes. Presently there may be up to 20 million environmental refugees in Africa, but a UN think-tank estimates this figure may more than double in just two years to 50 million refugees.

Eco-twinning, a UN-ARC project, can offer opportunities for those who really want to provide practical help against climate change. As part of the new 7 Year Plan, eco-twinning aims to link churches in the global north with those in the global south experiencing the damage climate change brings. This invaluable experience can enable understanding of the impacts of climate change on the lives of other communities. In addition, it is hoped the eco-twinning will encourage relationships and practical actions to be developed over the long-term.

This idea was endorsed at the recent AACC climate change conference of church leaders in Nairoib, Kenya, June 2008.

Link here for more details about the AACC climate change conference. Practical potential pilot projects include:

* An afforestation project in The Congo, which would be conducted through the Salvation Army;
* Restoration and conservation of degraded lands in Ghana, which would be conducted through the Evangelical Presbyterian Church;
* Conservation programmes in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania through Tanzania’s Evangelical Lutheran Church;
* Eco-training through theological institutes and parish visits by the Anglican Church of Kenya;
* An organic farming and alternative conservation programme run by Ethiopia’s monasteries;
* A South African project to make coffins out of timber from invasive trees and distribute them to poor families.

Although ARC will not be running these projects it will act as advisors as churches run with the idea. If your faith community already has a twinning arrangement, then setting up eco-twinning could be the next simple step.


Link here for more Christian news stories.

Link here for more details about eco-twinning.

Link here for details on how churches in the US are expanding the fight against climate change.

Link here to download the eco-twinning leaflet. (1,895 KB)

And link here for details of ARC's eco-coffins project in South Africa.

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