Twelve Ethical Principles for Environment and Development to guide all "sustainable development" planning, adopted by the United Church at the time of the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, June 1992.
We need to listen to those communities which have remained close to the Earth, and recognize and incorporate the wisdom culled from the traditional links of women and Native peoples with nature. We have to realize that there are limits to "growth" as industrialized societies have defined it. The Earth's resources are being depleted and we must end the unsustainable over-consumption of industrialized societies. We must make institutions accountable to the people whose lives they touch. We must restructure economic institutions so that they serve the needs of the poor and function in harmony with ecological reality....
We believe that creation is a gift of God. We therefore endorse the following principles:
1. Human societies must bear a responsibility toward the Earth in its wholeness.
2. To be both people-oriented and ecologically-sound, all development strategies must be founded on a just international economic order, with priority for the world's poor.
3. Lifestyles of high material consumption must yield to the provision of greater sufficiency for all.
4. Environmental destruction must stop and humanity must understand itself collectively responsible both for the destruction and for the repair thereof.
5. The rights of future generations must be protected.
6. The carrying capacity of the Earth, regionally and globally, must become a criterion in assessing economic development.
7. The bio-diversity of the Earth must be respected and protected.
8. Militarism must yield to non-violent approaches to conflict resolution.
9. Decision-making for just and ecologically-sound development must ensure the participation of individuals and groups, especially those most affected by the project.
10. Both opportunities for learning and access to knowledge must be assured in order to facilitate sustainable development.
11. Development decisions must emphasize prevention of ecological damage.
12. Procedures and mechanisms must be established ensuring a transnational approach to environmental issues and disputes.
See the full text and later applications by the UCC of these principles to specific environmental issues.