Scripture tells us, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants too.” (Psalm 24:1, CEB) God has entrusted humanity as stewards of the earth, to care for all its inhabitants and serve the Lord by loving our neighbor, human and non-human alike. Jesus also assures us that we will be held accountable for what is placed in our hands. (Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 19:11-27) Therefore, it is our God-ordained responsibility to steward God’s creation in such a way that all creatures may “be fruitful and multiply” and have abundant life. (Genesis 1: various)
Unfortunately, humanity has a history of exploiting creation and abusing our fellow creatures. Since the rise of industrialism, this exploitation and abuse has increased exponentially. Humanity’s bad stewardship of creation has resulted in a climate crisis of unprecedented proportions, leading the earth to soon be uninhabitable unless dire changes are made. In response to this crisis, the leadership of The United Methodist Church has pledged to fight climate change and any unjust systems of oppression and exploitation that may have led us to this point.
Likewise, we, the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, pledge ourselves to obedience to God and Jesus Christ in this same way. The NC Conference seeks to be a leader in the United Methodist effort to diminish, even reverse, climate change. Our goal is to honor God by achieving net-zero carbon emissions from all North Carolina Conference-owned properties and ministries by 2050. As reducing over time will be more impactful than waiting and hoping to reduce dramatically in decades to come, we commit to work toward a reduction of carbon emissions of 50% by the year 2030 from our 2019 output.
We also urge that all local congregations do the same, in their individual as well as collective lives together. If each United Methodist Church in the North Carolina Conference drastically diminishes their negative impact on the climate in the next few years, it will have a large impact on the world as a whole.
Over the coming years, the North Carolina Conference will provide updates on how we are achieving this goal, including what tools we are using to measure our carbon emissions, what steps we are taking to this end, a timeline of our plan, and resources for local congregations in achieving this goal for themselves.
By God’s grace, all of humanity will come to be better stewards of creation, so that all may live together abundantly. We commit these plans to our Lord Jesus Christ, and trust in the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The Conference Board of Trustees and The Conference Creation Care Committee