Saturday, March 26, 2011

Earth Hour and thankfulness

For Earth Hour I spent the hour quietly chatting with my wife, reading Genesis 1, Psalm 104 and thinking.

It was kind of odd really, no internet, no TV and reading by candlelight. It wasn't easy, thought it wasn't all that difficult. It made me thankful for electricity. Certainly the goal is not to be ashamed of electricity or the advantages it brings - heating, cooling, refridgeration, power during operations, etc. The point of these occasions is not shame per se of great discoveries, but of their profligate misuse while much of the world does not have the advantage of it. We look to undo the environmental damage of too much carbon released by our burning of fossil fuels, limiting our own emissions and enabling the developing world to attain a better standard of living, hopefully leapfrogging our own carbon fixated stage. One hour will not do that - but just as baptism introduces someone to the church community, and repentance leads to a new start in life, so Earth Hour should be a step forward, a time to reflect, be thankful, repent and move forward.

I read somewhere of someone wanting to celebrate Energy Hour by turning on all of their appliances. Such facetiousness other than reflecting a degree of scepticism towards the science of global warming and the event, mistakes as I pointed out above shame for excess with shame for possessing these assets at all. Thankfulness is expressed in care and conservation of valuable resources, not in profligacy and waste - this is carbon gluttony.

It is worth noting that few Christians I know are primitivists in the sense that they want to go back to living in caves wearing skins, or at least eking out an existence on the land and living by candlelight at night. Yet Luddites are interesting in critiquing technology for its own sake and evaluating its impacts on their lives (and those of others). The happy middle (oh good Anglican that I am) is neither sackcloth and ashes nor 'peace peace, when there is no peace', but facing up to the issues before us and seeing how we can best care for creation, love neighbour and preserve civilisation as God's people in the world.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

EU used to Carbon tax, why can't we be?

ABC article here shows EU used to carbon tax and that debate here is pure politics. I wonder though whether or not the price of carbon in Europe is meaningful? But still, it all puts into perspective the nonsense spouted here

Monday, March 7, 2011

Consuming creation conference de-brief

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who came and participated at the Ethos Environment conference, Consuming Creation with Prof Michael Northcott. We had 72 for the Friday night dinner and lecture, and 55 for the Saturday lectures and workshops.

Michael stretched our vision, highlighting the connection between climate change, meat consumption, lifestyle, trade and neo-liberalism. The workshops ranged over a number of important theological and practical considerations. I hope as a follow up people will get behind the TEAR carbon fast for Lent (see here) and Ethos Environment's Day of Prayer on Climate Change, with more details to follow.

My special thanks for Michael and everyone who organised a workshop or gave a response, to the caterers at Hotdish for yummy food. 50 minutes was too short for workshops, but we had so many great offers it would have been a shame to turn any of them back.

Hopefully audio of lectures will be available at some point - watch this space.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

2011-2020 United Nations Decade of Biodiversity

The document for this is found here.

For Christians skeptical of 'ecumenism' it is worth noting we share the planet with everyone else made in God's image and in the Spirit of Jeremiah 29:6-8 should be working for the good of the planet and the people with whom we share it. This is to say nothing of acting as Good Samaritans to protect the food stores, water reserves and purifies, buffers against land slides, etc of the world's poor. A casual glance at Psalm 104 will also show that the biodiversity of creation is a hymn of praise to God, and hence our preservation of it. To be truly Christian is to be truly 'green' without a hint of paganism.