This week the Right Reverend David Lunan becomes the first Moderator of the Church of Scotland to make an official visit to Nepal, meeting people who have borne the brunt of rising temperatures and unpredictable rainfall.
Climate change is a major worry for locals in Dhading Besi, a region which has seen its landscape and weather dramatically change over the last ten years. Farmers have a low crop yield from the saturated soil, and many people have lost their homes, and relatives, in flash floods, washing away centuries of terraced topsoil.
The Moderator will spend four days touring the area, and he urged churches and congregations to take urgent action to minimise their carbon footprint: “Climate change is as much a social issue as an environmental one, and its outcomes bring profound suffering, disruption and injustice. The poorest countries and people suffer earliest and most.
“If we are serious about our duty of stewardship and of loving our neighbour, we really have no choice. Our actions are having an increasingly adverse effect on the people of Nepal and we must begin to think now about how we take on this challenge.”
He added: “Tackling climate change presents a monumental task to the whole Western world.
“It will be a long drawn out battle, but I am convinced with the right mentality and approach the seemingly impossible can be achieved.
“In many respects, you could say it is like climbing Mount Everest.”
The Moderator will also meet with Kathmandu church leaders and give a lecture at a theological college before returning home to Scotland on October 23.
Despite past persecution of churchgoers in the country, the Christian population has risen to over 600,000. The Kirk’s World Mission Council currently has no partners in Nepal, but hopes to recruit up to five people to serve there by 2011.
• Full story at the Church of Scotland.