Module 4: Twin Transformations Creation Care as a Matter of Morality and a Means of Mission 1 A Matter of Morality 2 ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS Environmental ethics is the part of environmental philosophy which considers
the ethical relationship between human beings and the natural environment. Interestingly, both Science and Religion have only recently begun to explicitly address moral issues related to the environment. The Contemporary Environmental Movement is often attributed to a biologist named Rachel Carson, who wrote a book in 1962 called Silent Spring. This book changed the world view of many as Carson questioned the value of scientific progress and the often negative effect humans have on the natural
world. The important point here, is that explicit environmental ethics is a recent phenomena both in the secular and religious world. 3 Many believe that creation care very much involves moral/ethical considerations ...climate change will test our moral character like little before. - Naomi Klein, 2014: This Changes Everything, p.48
It is not right for us to destroy the world God has given us. He has created everything; as the Bible says, 'The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven' (Acts 17:24). To drive to extinction something He has created is wrong. He has a purpose for everything... - Billy Graham, Detroit Free Press Science alone will not be able to resolve the situation because it is a moral, spiritual and ethical one requiring major changes in our behaviour. Sir Ghillean Prance (former Director of the Royal Botanic 4 Gardens at Kew)
MORAL OBLIGATIONS If ever there were an urgent moral and spiritual issue, this is it. We risk a two-fold betrayal of our responsibility to the Creator for the good stewardship of his creation, and of our responsibility to our vulnerable neighbours, here and world-wide, who bear the brunt of environmental degradation and looming crisis not to mention our responsibility to generations to come, our own children and grandchildren. We need to show a deeper faithfulness to God and our neighbour Dr Rowan Williams, Former Archbishop of Canterbury, in the C of E Diocesan Environment Officers campaign leaflet, Hope for the
Future In this statement, Rowan Williams identifies three parties to whom we have moral obligations: the Creator, vulnerable neighbours, and generations to come. 5 Our Obligation to the Creator God appointed us stewards or managers of the earth, and therefore expects, even demands, that we nurture and preserve it. Many believe that God will hold us accountable for how well we have fulfilled that role (Isaiah 24:4-6; Jeremiah 2:7; Ezekiel
34:1-20; Matthew 25:31-46; Mark 4:19; Luke 16:1-13; Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrew 9:27; James 1-5; Revelation 11:18). The Christian world view sees the universe as created by God, and humankind accountable to God for the use of the resources entrusted to humankind. Ultimate values are seen in the light of being valuable to God. B.T. Adeney in the New Dictionary of Christian Ethics, 1995 6 people today have a sensitivity to suicide, homicide and genocide, but they commit biocide (the killing of the life systems of the planet) and geocide (the killing of the
planet itself) simply because they have no morality to deal with it. - Thomas Berry the external deserts in the world are growing because the internal deserts have become so vast. - Pope Benedict The seriousness of ecological degradation lays bare the depth of man's moral crisis...Simplicity, moderation and discipline, as well as the spirit of sacrifice, must become a part of everyday life. - Pope John Paul II, Peace With God, Peace With Creation 7
Is environmental degradation confessional issue? a A confession is a decision of the church to take up the struggle at a particular time, and it involves repentance on the part of the church. Climate change now threatens the well- being of life on earth
The current global economy is the principal driver of climate change The Church appears far too happy to side with the global economy. 8 Our Obligation to our Neighbour today we are already triaging human populations (who gets fancy cars and clean water versus whose children must walk far to gather firewood and could die of waterborne diseases), and that
situation is likely to get much worse. - Paul Ehrlich: 2014, Hope On Earth, p.3 9 People suffer external costs External costs include pollution, health problems, poor wages and conditions, property damage, and harm to other organisms 10
Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. - Jesus: Matthew 7:12 NLT A second is equally important: Love your neighbour as yourself. - Jesus: Matthew 22:39 NLT Loving our neighbour means nurturing the
Earth on which human flourishing depends! 11 Act Justly The Lord loves righteousness and justice Psalm 33:5 12 This Love your neighbour thing... I meant it.
God 13 Al Mendoza Our Obligation to Future Generations ...climate change is also about the inescapable impact of past generations not just upon the present, but on generations in the future. - Naomi Klein, 2014: This Changes Everything, p.15 As Christians, we pray that Gods concerns become our
concerns no matter what our age. God is intensely concerned with the needs of the next generation. We who are older and have a greater understanding of the negative changes occurring in nature must be bold (Psalm 92:12-14 TNIV). - Matthew Sleeth, 2006, Serve God Save the Planet, pp. 14 41-42 The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it
leaves to its children. Dietrich Bonhoeffer 15 RUDE AWAKENING Its sometime in the dead of night and Ive been woken with a fright. My grandkids come to me in dreams with searching questions, so it seems: Grandad, what things did you avoid in case our planet was destroyed?
Grandad, how was your life re-shaped to save the earth from being raped? Grandad, how did you seek to care once tragic trends made you aware? Grandad, what actions did you take when all our futures were at stake? Grandad, wed really like to know, because you said you loved us so! - Phillip Donnell 2014 16 Those of us whose lives have spanned the
seven decades since the beginning of the Second World War will be among the most despised and cursed generations in the whole history of humankind. The reason why we will be hated by our own grandchildren and by those who come after them is simple: never before have human beings so exploited, damaged and degraded the earth to the extent that we have. - Paul Collins, 1995: Gods Earth: Religion as if Matter Really Mattered, p.1 17
ACCOUNTABILTY It is not fair to ascribe responsibility in the backward-looking sense, i.e. to blame individuals, for environmentally destructive actions unless they have had reasonable alternatives and resources to act in environmentally friendly ways.
18 ACCOUNTABILTY It is fair to ascribe forward-looking responsibility to individuals, based on their capacity to contribute to solutions to environmental problems. Furthermore, a considerable share of forward-looking responsibility should be ascribed to governments and corporations because they can make the group of capable, hence responsible, individuals larger. If we ascribe responsibility to governments and corporations we have a better chance of creating an
improved society. 19 ENVIRONMENTAL PERSPECTIVES To understand Christian environmental ethics it is important to differentiate between four moral postures... 20
21 AnthropocentricHuman-centred Lynn White (1967) heavily criticised the Judeo-Christian traditions for being one of the major vehicles for the destruction of the earth. Christians believed that the earth and everything on it was given by God to man to rule over and subdue
because of the take dominion clause in Genesis 1:28. Christians therefore placed human concerns at the centre and the earth was for humans to do whatever they liked with. Some Christians still hold to this view. 22 Gifford Pinchot had an anthropocentric viewpoint "the art of producing from the forest whatever it can yield for the service of man." 23
Biocentric Environment-centred The biocentric view places the environment at the centre of concern. Extreme versions of a biocentric world view, such as those by Deep Ecologists, place the environment on equal or higher importance than human needs. Very few Christians adopt this deep ecology stance.
24 Ecocentric System-centred Whole ecosystems (including human and non-human elements)have value. Human needs are important but they are just one part of the overall scheme of things, so we also need to look after the natural order.
25 Ecocentrism The preservation ethic Unspoiled nature should be protected for its own intrinsic value John Muir was a tireless advocate for wilderness preservation
26 Ecocentrism The land ethic Healthy ecological systems depend on protecting all parts Aldo Leopold believed the land ethic changes the role of people from conquerors of the land to
citizens of it The land ethic can help guide decision making 27 The global value of all ecosystem services The global economic value of all ecosystem services equals US$46 trillion/year More than double
the GDP of all nations combined (currently $18 trillion/Year) Protecting land gives 100 times more value than converting it to some other use The Story of Stuff 28 THREE MORAL POSTURES
Anthropocentrism = only humans have intrinsic value Biocentrism = non-human life has intrinsic value Ecocentrism = whole ecological systems have value A holistic perspective that preserves connections But wait, theres a 4th possibility... 29 Theocentric
God-centred It is the belief that human beings should look after the world as guardians and therefore in the way God wants them to. Linked with the idea of stewardship 30 ETHICAL PRINCIPLES TO APPLY Justice
Are all human beings involved in this situation being treated equally and, if not, why not? Are all living creatures involved in this situation being treated equally and, if not, why not? 31 Sustainability What are the immediate and longterm effects of the problem before us? Who - humans and otherwise - is
affected today by the problem before us and who will likely be affected by this problem in the future? 32 Sufficiency Will the decision permit all those involved, especially the poor, to have enough resources on which to live and flourish? Is there any aspect of the decision that indicates the presence of waste
or excess? Or a failure to be creative? 33 Compassion What duties do we have to the other creatures likely to be affected by our actions? What does sufficiency mean for other creatures, especially those threatened with extinction?
What would it mean to extend the principle of compassion to non-human creatures? 34 Solidarity Who are all the human stakeholders involved in this situation? Who are all the natural stakeholders? Is there a community of life (ecosystem) involved?
Are there any stakeholders - human and non-human - who are especially vulnerable? 35 Participation Do all stakeholders in this decision actually have a say in how the decision is going to be made? Are there any stakeholders who cannot represent themselves? Or who have little power? How will their
interests be represented in the decision-making process? 36 Commands, e.g. Do no harm Consequences of our actions (beneficial v. harmful) Character: What kind of person am I becoming by engaging in these actions in relation to the environment? 37
A Means of Mission 38 Anglican Consultative Council (one of the authoritative international bodies of the Anglican Communion) To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom To teach, baptise and nurture new believers To respond to human need by living service To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace
and reconciliation To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth. (Bonds of Affection-1984 ACC-6 p49. Mission in a Broken World-1990 ACC-8 p10 and ACC Auckland 2012) 39 The Constitution of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia (from the Preambles): the mission of the Church includes:
(a) proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, (b) teaching, baptising and nurturing believers within eucharistic communities of faith, (c) responding to human needs by loving service and (d) seeking to transform unjust structures of society, caring for Gods creation, and establishing the values of the Kingdom. 40 Gods missionary purposes are cosmic in scope, concerned with the
restoration of all things, the establishment of shalom, the renewal of creation and the coming of the kingdom as well as the redemption of fallen humanity and the building of the Church. - Anglican Mission Shaped Church Report 41 Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation."
- Jesus: Mark 16:15 NRSV 42 HOW PEOPLE COME TO CHRIST MEANS (PRIMARY INFLUENCE) PERCENTAGE RANGE Special need 1-3 Walk-in 2-4
Pastor or church staff Visitation/telemarketing Sunday School/Small group 4-6 Evangelistic crusade Church programmes Friends and/or relatives 75-90 43
Environmental stewardship abounds with opportunities to build relationships with non-believers in order to influence them toward faith in Christ... 44
In early November 2012, sixty people from six continents gathered in Jamaica for the Lausanne Consultation on Creation Care a nd the Gospel , co-sponsored by the World Evangelical Alliance 45 Two major convictions * Creation Care is indeed a gospel issue
within the lordship of Christ. * We are faced with a crisis that is pressing, urgent, and that must be resolved in our generation. 46 Call to Action: 10 aspects 1. A new commitment to a simple lifestyle. 2. New and robust theological work. 3. Leadership from the church in the Global South. 4. Mobilization of the whole church and engagement of all of society. 5. Environmental missions among unreached people groups.
6. Radical action to confront climate change. 7. Sustainable principles in food production. 8. An economy that works in harmony with Gods creation. 9. Local expressions of creation care 10. Prophetic advocacy and healing reconciliation. 47 Environmental mission affirmed and recognised as a new frontier of mission.
EM projects encouraged in both local and overseas contexts. (this type of mission does not really have any borders!) 48
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