Prague, 13 June 2010

European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN)

Our daily bread – living in a time of climate change

Cut down meat consumption

The European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) met for its 8th Assembly 9-13 June in the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague, Czech Republic. Some 80 participants from 23 countries discussed the theme "Our daily bread – living in a time of climate change".

The connection between daily food consumption and climate change was highlighted from different perspectives. Czech scientists and politicians explained the situation in Central Europe. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) meat consumption contributes largely to global greenhouse gas emissions. Intensive industrial cattle breeding as well as mass deforestation for large soy plantations providing cattle feed, are the main causes. Bringing down meat consumption is therefore an important tool in combating climate change. The ECEN Assembly took this to heart by having mainly vegetarian catering during the conference. There is the need to understand that we are victims of economic drivers pushing us to consumerism. Only if we break through these psychological mechanisms can we turn around and become aware that we are part of creation, rather than misuse it.

Quaker and leading Scottish theologian, Alastair McIntosh, spoke about the need for spirituality in order to bring about lasting change. Metropolitan Krystof, the head of the Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands and Slovakia, in his contribution pointed out the need for strong links between theology and care for creation. Libor Ambrozek, former minister of environment in the Czech government underlined the role churches play as a part of civil society in the dialogue with public authorities. The plea of keynote speakers to include depth-psychology and spirituality in creation theology was taken up by ECEN's working group on theology. It will continue its work focusing on education of clergy, seminarians, teachers and pastoral workers.

Other working groups on food, eco-management and lifestyle transition looked into the practicalities of helping mitigate climate change. New bilateral partnerships were formed between church organisations with different levels of experience throughout Europe. In the Czech Republic church environmental work has developed rapidly over the past few years, as presentations demonstrated.

The Assembly will send a letter with a prayer to the European churches. In an annex with the letter, suggestions and recommendations are listed including the recommendation to strengthen common lobby and advocacy on environmental issues on a European level on behalf of the European churches. ECEN intends to strengthen working relations with the World Council of Churches, the Council of European Roman Catholic Bishops' Conferences and the World Student Christian Federation. Representatives of these organisations participated at the Assembly.

For more information about the Assembly see:


European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) is a church network promoting co-operation in caring for creation. ECEN is an instrument of the Conference of European Churches for addressing the relationship to nature and the environment from the perspective of Christian theology and Christian way of life.

The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of some 120 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 associated organisations. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Geneva, Brussels and Strasbourg.

For more information: Rev. Dr Peter Pavlovic ECEN Secretary Phone +32 2 234 68 32 e-mail: ecenatcec-kek [dot] be