Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Consuming Creation conference workshops

Claire Dawson
Demystifying Carbon Accounting
As the saying goes: 'You can't manage what you can't measure'! While smaller organisations are not yet obliged to calculate and report their emissions, there are still many good reasons to start monitoring your carbon footprint. Are you involved with a church, a workplace, a school or community group, or perhaps on a board? Whatever the motivation (risk, stewardship, creation care, compliance, climate justice) today is a very good day to get the carbon accounting process underway. This session will provide guidelines and simple tools for preparing an organisational carbon inventory, as well as looking at ways to incorporate this into a broader strategy of reducing your environmental impact.

In Feb 2011, Claire Dawson commenced as Climate Change Action Officer for ETHOS. Having trained and worked in accounting, theology, training and carbon accounting Claire enjoys drawing together her skills and passions in this unique new role, assisting Christian organisations in assessing and reducing their carbon emissions.

Jenny Morris
Environmental vegetarianism – healthy, tasty, compassionate and good for the planet

There are many reasons to consider a vegetarian or vegan diet – one significant reason is the environment. The primary environmental concerns with animal products are pollution and the use of resources such as fossil fuels, water, and land.

This workshop will focus on the environmental consequences of human food choices, other options for individual and societal impact, and nutritional considerations for those considering increasing the plant-based component of their diet.

Jenny Morris is a Christian, a vegetarian (working on becoming vegan) and a lawyer, with an interest in animal rights and welfare. Her dream job is to be paid to work at the intersection of all these areas. In the meantime, she works in the public sector, and is the Secretary of Lawyers for Animals Inc.

John Altmann
Sustainable practical responses to climate change and energy poverty in Africa: micro-solar lighting for the poor

Workshop to be offered by John Altmann, the executive director of The Grace Foundation, which is focussed on creating innovative social enterprises that empower the poor in partnership with the church in East Africa and the Pacific.

Richard Mallaby
Renewing Creation: Children experiencing wonder in the natural world offer hope

Many urban children spend most of their time indoors. Restricted access to the natural world is raising concerns for their physical, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing.

However, children engaged in earth-connecting activities such, as gardening, care of animals and play in natural surroundings can experience wonder in response to beauty and the recognition of the Divine in the other, develop a sense of place, and recognise natural rhythms, origin of food, interconnections and interdependence within the natural world.

Drawing on the experience of ten community groups this project explores children practicing Sabbath principles of care for the land, hospitality and hope, as they form meaningful relationships and discover God in the natural world.

Currently working as a minister at the Box Hill Baptist church, Richard is in the process of submitting a doctor of ministry studies thesis with Melbourne College of Divinity, investigating the theological significance of engaging children in gardening, care of animals and play in natural surroundings. Hi background is in agricultural and environmental science and he has worked 7 years in community development in Indonesia and 14 years in pastoral ministry.

Gordon Preece
Christian Super: A Case Study in Ethical and Environmental Investment for Non-Super Christians
This will look at the biblical ethical framework of Christian Super and how it has been applied to a range of ecological issues including climate change. It will seek to help people think through how to use their being compulsorily linked into the stock exchange in Australia in ways that can mitigate environmental damage.

Gordon Preece is Director of Ethos and Vicar, Yarraville Anglican Church. He is Ethicist for Christian Super (Sustainable Fund of 2008 - Ethical Investor; Infinity Award 2010) and Adjunct Lecturer, Ridley Melbourne & Macquarie University School of Applied Finance. He has been part of a number of ecologically sensitive church and parachurch groups including CESS (Campaign to end Sewage Smells) in Malabar, Sydney, Chaplain to the first Australian ecumenical ecological conference in 1990 and among his 12 books is author of Ecology and Theology and also an article on Ecology as Doxology.

Kate Rigby, Anne Elvey & Jan Morgan
Creation, incarnation and the fellowship of creatures

The workshop is in three parts.
1. Neighbour love as an ecological ethic. Participants will be invited to consider the parable of the Good Samaritan from an ecological/non-anthropocentric point of view and the ways in which the notion of neighbour love might embrace a more than human community. After a short input on the notion of the neighbour in biblical worlds, participants will work with the biblical text though a series of guided questions.
2. Creation, incarnation and fellowship of creatures. Participants will be invited to develop their understanding of neighbour love in the context of ecological kinship. Through input and discussion participants will consider the fellowship of creatures in terms of theologies of creation and incarnation.
3. Participants are invited to articulate ethical implications of a theology of creatureliness, defined by fellowship and neighbour love, and to celebrate this in a short meditation/ritual.

Kate Rigby teaches and researches in ecological criticism and is particularly interested in religion, literature and ecology. She is author of: Topographies of the Sacred: The Poetics of Place in European Romanticism (University of Virginia Press, 2004) and numerous articles and book chapters. She was founding president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (now Literature, Culture and Environment) – Australia and New Zealand, and is co-editor of Philosophy Activism Nature.

Anne Elvey is a researcher and poet with interests in ecological biblical studies and ecological theology. She is author of: An Ecological Feminist Reading of the Gospel of Luke: A Gestational Paradigm (Mellen, 2005) and two poetry chapbooks: Stolen Heath (MPU, 2009) and Claimed by Country (PressPress, 2010).

Jan Morgan has a Doctor of Ministry from MCD on ‘Earth’s Cry’.

Brenton Reimann and John Brummell
Is God holding back our daily bread?
Fusion ACT has developed a proactive Christian approach to climate change, food security and fostering social cohesion to counteract anticipated food shortages, social fragmentation and unrest.

It proposes expansion of localized intensive food production through hydroponics, aquaponics etc to counteract declines in broadacre and irrigated production. Aquaponics is a new low water use but very productive technology growing fish and vegetables in one system. The ACT Government is expected to agree in 2011 to a Fusion proposal that food security become a priority in future land planning.

Brenton Reimann, BEng, Adv Dip Youth and Community Work (Christian),
Cert IV TAA. A communications engineer with Defence Department, then moved into youth and community mission with Fusion and has worked with them in Australia and Germany. Currently Team Leader of Fusion Canberra, where he lives with wife Claire and two children Abbie (3 years) and Daniel (18 months). Has growing conviction that sustainability flows naturally from a life sold out to the Prince of Peace.

John Brummell, BA, OAM. Retired educationist. Coordinator of Fusion Horticulture Canberra. Experienced in intensive food production by disadvantaged and refugees in Canberra. Has a long time interest in Christian adaptation to climate change.

Greg and Elvira Hewson

Which Beetroots best? Re-imaging a good life in energy constrained world

What does good home-grown food taste like? How can we take steps to live lives that are good for the planet and ourselves? In this workshop you will be put to the test, having to pick between the organic home-grown stuff and the commercial variety. Within all this, Elvira and Greg will share something of their own attempts to re-imagine a new way of living and working. These attempts have been inspired and modelled from a range of economic and religious practices that have and continue to sustain communities around the world.

Greg and Elvira have moved progressively west since their Eastern suburbs upbringing, firstly to the city with Urban Seed, then to Footscray, and now to Cudgee in South West Victoria, where together with a number of other families they are having a go at trying to incorporate practises of permaculture, hospitality, faith and justice. In the mix of family life are two lovely children, Patrick and Mairead, 13 chooks and 7 ducks. Greg and Elvira both work part-time in paid roles, Greg works for TEAR Australia, Elvira works for Cudgee Creek Native Plants. Their other hours are spent raising children, growing and cooking and sharing food, playing tennis, and being involved in the local community. They are part of a broader faith network called Common Life, and are also involved in the work of Manna Gum with their good friends Jon and Kim Cornford. Their blog is http://standinginthetide.posterous.com/

Sally Shaw and Janet Down
Transition Towns – a Christian perspective

Given climate change and the end of cheap oil, how do we want our community to look in 2020 and beyond? When a group of local people get together and ask this question, a Transition Town is born. The answers inspire much creativity in bringing a positive vision to reality. All aspects of life are considered, including food, water, housing, health, energy, transport, local economy and the arts. This collective response fills the gap between the individual and government, and helps create resilience through more localised economies. Churches are well placed to become involved.

Sally Shaw: I have lived and worked in Cambodia for many years. Moved with my family to Adelaide in 2007 and have recently developed a passion for the environmental issues. In 2009 became involved in setting up a Transition Town in the Adelaide Hills, after seeing the DVD In Transition.

Janet Down is part of Transition Town Maroondah, in the outer east of Melbourne. Her hats have included: teacher, mother, theology student, writer and editor. She runs an editing business called Inky Owl, and is currently Co-ordinating Editor for Zadok Perspectives and Papers.

Cath James
How to green your church building

This workshop will look at a variety of case studies of churches who have taken steps to make their buildings more environmentally sustainable, what worked and what didn't and why. It will also cover
rebates and incentives available for churches and the basics of doing an energy audit in your church.

Cath James is the Environment Project Officer for the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania. She lives in Castlemaine where she and her husband Joel Meadows, two kids, 8 chooks and a hive of bees are awaiting the building of their sustainable house.

Joel Meadows is an environmental consultant who has first hand experience of the joys and pitfalls of conducting energy audits in churches.

Nola Stewart

Caring for the Creation Bible Studies

These Studies address some misconceptions of what the Bible teaches concerning our responsibility to care for other species. Was 'Go forth and multiply' spoken to humans alone or to animals too? What was its context and how does it relate to us today? If a blessing, how is this different from a command? What is the derivation of 'dominion'? Might it mean 'to be the centre of strength of (the Creation)' rather than to dominate it? Why was Israel encouraged to become a great nation? How does the promise to create in us a clean heart supersede the multiplication of God's people by procreation, replacing it by 'new creation'? Is population an issue for Christians in relation to environmental issues such as Climate Change?

B. Sc (Syd), Dip. Ed., (Uni of New England), trained as a Presbyterian deaconess, worked in a Sydney parish then as a missionary high school teacher in PNG. Taught in goverment schools in PNG including the College of External Studies, writing Environmental Studies lessons. In Australia, taught Biology, Earth & Environmental Science for HSC in NSW. Member of several conservation organisations. Recently wrote "Caring for the Creation" Bible Studies; was invited to run workshop on these Studies for pastors in Uganda last year, also to present at conference there on Population & Climate Change.

Viv Benjamin
TEAR’s Carbon Fast

Get practical. Take the Carbon Fast. The Carbon Fast is a 40 day challenge that corresponds with Lent (March 9 to April 23), enabling Christians to care for God's creation and seek climate justice for the world's poor. Be the change, by living more simply, justly and sustainably in a changing climate. This year, thousands of Christians around the world will take the Carbon Fast. Get involved!

Viv Benjamin is National Advocacy Coordinator for TEAR Australia. Viv coordinates TEAR campaigns that enable Christians in Australia to respond to issues of climate change, poverty and injustice. Before joining TEAR, Viv directed the *MAKE*POVERTY*HISTORY* Roadtrip, worked for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), and served 5 years as National Advocacy Director for the Oaktree Foundation. Viv attends St Hilary's Anglican Church and lives in Melbourne.

Deb Storie
Natural Disasters? A call to move beyond humanitarian response to corporate repentance
Christian Humanitarian and Disaster Response agencies frequently claim the Noah and Joseph narratives from Genesis as their 'biblical basis.' In this workshop we will explore the complexity of these narratives: Does Joseph provide an example we should follow? How might Noah's flood have been averted? Moving from narratives to action: How ought our global context inform and shape our responses to the Bible? How might these (and other) biblical stories inform and shape our responses to the world? How might we move from humanitarian response to corporate repentance?

Deborah Storie is a PhD candidate at Melbourne College of Divinity/Whitley College, Chair of the Board of TEAR Australia, and a member of St Hilary's Anglican Church Kew. Deborah has worked in Rural Community Development and Disaster Mitigation and Response Projects in Afghanistan, and has consulted in a wide range of development contexts. She enjoys the Australian bush, using Public Transport, and working as a veterinarian at the RSPCA

Paul Tyson
Jacques Ellul’s theological vision of the socio-cultural drivers of ecological disaster

This workshop will seek to unpack some of Jacques Ellul’s insights into the manner in which our modern technological society is deeply ingrained in the subordination of both humanity and nature to efficient use. Ellul maintains that our way of life is characterised by structural instrumentalism which is underpinned by twisted theological assumptions, and these are the key drivers that propel us towards environmental desolation. The notion that will be floated in this workshop is that no adequate fine tuning of our present way of life will be equal to the task of addressing climate change, but rather what is needed is the comprehensive sociological and theological conversion of our society. The discussion phase of this workshop will seek to tentatively explore how the church might proclaim and embody a prophetic message of repentance and conversion in these matters.

Dr Paul Tyson is a lecturer at the Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, School of Theology and Philosophy.

Mick Pope
Communicating for change: talking about climate change in the church

The topic of climate change or global warming is a touchy one in the church, with a variety of positions held for a variety of reasons. This workshop will be an interactive discussion on the issues surrounding talking about climate change in church including: why people don’t accept it, how to communicate the issues, where to go for answers to tough questions, catering for different audiences, Scriptures to use, etc.

Dr Mick Pope is a lecturer in meteorology and a Masters student in theology. He is the coordinator of Ethos Environment.

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