We have contributed to crises and been more concerned with getting gold than keeping our planet green. We have loved progress more than the planet. We are sorry.
Humans have declared war on nature and put progress before the planet, the former archbishop of Canterbury said as environmental protests aim to bring London to a standstill.
Dr Rowan Williams said the world is in a crisis which could be called "being at war with ourselves".
He spoke at a meditation event outside St Paul's Cathedral in the capital yesterday attended by activists preparing to take part in mass demonstrations organised by the Extinction Rebellion group.
Sitting on the ground amid protesters who held flags and banners, he said: "We have declared war on our nature when we declare war on the natural world.
"We are at war with ourselves when we are at war with our neighbour, whether that neighbour is human or non-human.
"We are here tonight to declare that we do not wish to be at war. We wish to make peace with ourselves by making peace with our neighbour earth and with our God."
Praying at the all-faith gathering, he added: "We confess that we have polluted our own atmosphere, causing global warming and climate change that have increased poverty in many parts of our planet.
"We have contributed to crises and been more concerned with getting gold than keeping our planet green. We have loved progress more than the planet. We are sorry."
Extinction Rebellion, which describes itself as a non-violent direct action and civil disobedience group, said the protests at major central London locations including Parliament Square and Oxford Circus from Monday "will be bringing London to a standstill for up to two weeks".
Aine Fox is a reporter for the Press Association. Image (c) Press Association.