A Christian view on eco-social justice: Living Carbon Neutral Lives” 4 P´s ACTION”Acting on social andenvironmental needs:Planting and Producingto Protect the Planet = FOR PEACE
planting and producing to protect the planet “FOR PEACE – 4P´S”
CREATING A SHARED MORAL VISIONIt is difficult for people to grasp just how extreme ourecological crises really are. Problems such as climate change,loss of species, water shortages--are a type of problem thathuman beings have never faced before, because theproblems are global. Personal behavior has never beforehad global weather consequences.Therefore, there is no historical precedence in this type ofproblem solving to help us form useful responses. Inunderstanding these problems there are three realities thatneed to be understood:1. Our ecological crises are enormous and quickly getting worse.2. These problems are urgent and time is running out.3. There are alternatives, and a better future is possible.
Our Ecological Crises are EnormousScientific research now demonstrates that global warming isreal, catastrophic, and created by humans. Yet, even thoughscientists know global warming is happening, they cannotsay exactly how much it will warm, or how fast it willwarm, or what the local effects will be. These issues willdepend on how soon we convert to renewable energy, aswell as what chain reactions are set off by the warming.The 2001 report from the United NationsIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC)presented models that could establish statistically that globalwarming is happening and humans are largely responsiblefor it
Our Ecological Crises are Enormous Dr Pachauri, head of the IPCC, concluded his findings in January2005: "Climate change is for real. We have just a small window ofopportunity and it is closing rather rapidly. There is not a moment tolose. We are risking the ability of the human race to survive.“In addition to global warming, species extinctions have reachedcatastrophic proportions. In the history of the Earth, there have beenfive mass extinctions; the last one was the dinosaurs. Biologists arecalling what is happening now, the sixth mass extinction, and they arewarning that we could lose more than 25 percent of the species onEarth by the end of this century, creating unknown cascading effectsthroughout entire ecosystems.Worldwide, there are severe shortages of water. The world now drainsmore from rivers and aquifers than is returned by the Earth’s annualrain and snow fall. We are drawing down underground aquifers fasterthan they can be replenished, and many major rivers are so over-tapped that for part of the year, they run dry before they get to thesea.Therefore, these water shortages will cause food shortages. Watershortages also threaten the lives of all the Earth’s plants and animals.
Our Ecological Crises are UrgentMany of those who realize how serious our ecological crises are, donot realize how urgent they are. Our response needs to be total andimmediate.On January 25, 2005, the International Panel Climate Change (IPCC)Taskforce issued a new report called Meeting The Climate Challenge.The report says, “With climate change, there is an ecological timebomb ticking away. . .” They say that the point of no return withglobal warming may be reached in as little as 10 years (or less) withwidespread drought, crop failure and water shortages.The debate over global warming is no longer over whether or not itis happening; it is now over the degree of urgency and the scale ofthe problem. The National Academy of Sciences concluded recently that globalwarming could cause environmental collapse suddenly and withoutwarning. The longer we wait, the fewer options we will have andthe more we risk creating catastrophic consequences.
Alternatives are PossibleCreating solutions requires a total system response.Ecology now is also a system of social, economic, and politicalthought that sees environmental destruction as only one moresymptom (along with poverty and the unequal distribution ofwealth and power) of our entire unhealthy modern world-viewand belief system.None of our current theories are adequate to deal with theenormity of our ecological crises.“… the environmental establishment is inherently incapable of trulyaddressing the climate challenge in all its magnitude because wecannot achieve a rapid, world-wide transition to clean energywithin our current market-based economic structure. If one honestlyacknowledges the scale and urgency of the problem, it becomesclear that it cannot be effectively addressed without major structuralchanges to global economic dynamics.” Ross Gelbspan
The Ecological Crisis is a Spiritual CrisisThe primary issue in our ecological crises is a re-definition andclarification of our values, beliefs and behaviors--which is inherently areligious process.However, if religious communities are to lead in this socialtransformation, the God proclaimed in a political argument must bedemocratic in method (non-authoritarian) as well as pluralistic incontent (capable of working with all religions).The religious message should affirm the reality of the sacred or thelanguage of the Spirit, which can inspire compassion and cooperation.This requires rethinking everything—including the very nature of faith.This effort focuses on a sense of the Earth as sacred, an idea that canboth include and transcend all religions. This allows the needs of theEarth to create a natural shared value system, and become the newmeasure of our values. By advocating ecological issues jointly, allreligions become more effective in creating change
The Ecological Crisis is a Spiritual Crisis Now, to address our ecological crises, we need to measure morality by ourcollective behavior and the frequent unintended, yet immoral, consequences.Economic growth has reached a dead-end and we can no longer achievesalvation through material progress, and being enslaved to a materialisticdefinition of the world has left us spiritually impoverished.To pull away from materialism and consumerism, we need to find non-material forms of fulfillment, and shift our spiritual focus from individualsalvation to planetary salvation This will require us to see the planet as oneglobal interrelated community of people, animals, and plants.Choosing the values of life and care, and overcoming materialism, requiresthat we respect the mystery in human life and resist the secularization ofexperience. Even though our culture is completely secularized—the sacred hasnot disappeared. We need to recognize and name concepts of the sacred sothat they can again determine social action.Our future depends on how creative we can be together, and how quicklywe can learn.
Consequences of global warmingGlobal Warming will Global Warming willChange Weather alter the oceans.Patterns. The entire ecosystem of The warming should create the North Sea is in aan overall trend toward state of collapse,both increased and “record seaincreased evaporation. temperatures are killingWhere precipitation isgreater than evaporation, off the plankton onthere will be floods. Where which all life in the seaevaporation is greater than depends, because theyprecipitation, there will be underpin the entiredroughts. The increased marine food chain. Fishwarming and the stocks and sea birdunpredictable changes willgreatly impact agriculture. populations have slumped.”
Consequences of global warmingGlobal Warming will Global Warming Will CauseChange Ecosystems and Ice to Melt and Seas to RiseHabitat.In addition to habitat loss The ice sheets in the two polesfrom urban sprawl and and Greenland, and in mountainpollution, warming will also glaciers around the world, arebe a major factor. “A quarter melting. If the sea level rises inof all species of plants and the range expected by the IPCC,land animals, or more than a many island nations, as well asmillion in all, could be all low-lying coastal areas, willdriven to extinction.” be under water. The affects ofMassive extinctions have sea-level along the coast willoccurred five times during cause flooding, erosion, andthe earths history. The last saltwater intrusion into aquifersone was the extinction of and freshwater habitats.the dinosaurs, 65 millionyears ago. Scientists arecalling what is occurringnow, the sixth massextinction.
Consequences of global warmingGlobal Warming will ChangeWeather, Creating moreExtreme Storms. Global Warming will beAs the atmosphere warms, the at public health issue .climate not only becomes hotter Warming will increase thebut more unstable, creating more spread of infectiousextreme precipitation events. diseases, and heat stress, and also malnutrition because of its impact onGlobal Warming could agriculture.Create Abrupt Warming.A recent report by the NationalAcademy of Sciences, Abrupt ClimateChange: Inevitable Surprises, said“Large, abrupt climate changes have Global Warming mayrepeatedly affected much or all of the Create Abrupt Cooling.earth, … Available evidence suggests Global warming could, inthat abrupt climate changes are notonly possible but likely in the future, as little as a few years,potentially with large impacts on trigger abrupt cooling inecosystems and societies.” Europe.
Making eco-justice decisionsNorms for decisions that address eco-justice issues:Sustainability :provide for long-range needs of humans andlong-range preservation of natureSufficiency :grant all forms of life the right to share in thegoods of creationParticipation :involve all people and represent all lifeforms in decisions that affect their well-beingSolidarity :recognize the kinship of all life forms and assistthose who suffer most from environmental degradation
An Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation The Earth is the Lords, and the fulness thereof Psalm 24:1 As followers of Jesus Christ, committed to the full authority of the Scriptures, and aware of the ways we have degraded creation, we believe that biblical faith is essential to the solution of our ecological problems.
Because we worship and honor the Creator, we seek to cherish andcare for the creation.Because we have sinned, we have failed in our stewardship ofcreation. Therefore we repent of the way we have polluted,distorted, or destroyed so much of the Creators work.Because in Christ God has healed our alienation from God andextended to us the first fruits of the reconciliation of all things, wecommit ourselves to working in the power of the Holy Spirit toshare the Good News of Christ in word and deed, to work for thereconciliation of all people in Christ, and to extend Christs healingto suffering creation.Because we await the time when even the groaning creation will berestored to wholeness, we commit ourselves to work vigorously toprotect and heal that creation for the honor and glory of theCreator---whom we know dimly through creation. We andour children face a growing crisis in the health of the creation inwhich we are embedded, and through which, by Gods grace, weare sustained. Yet we continue to degrade that creation
These degradations of creation can be summed up as 1)land degradation; 2) deforestation; 3) species extinction;4) water degradation; 5) global toxification; 6) thealteration of atmosphere; 7) human and culturaldegradation.Many of these degradations are signs that we arepressing against the finite limits God has set for creation.With continued population growth, these degradationswill become more severe. Our responsibility is not onlyto bear and nurture children, but to nurture their homeon earthWe recognize that human poverty is both a cause and aconsequence of environmental degradation.
Many concerned people, convinced that environmental problems are morespiritual than technological, are exploring the worlds ideologies and religions insearch of non-Christian spiritual resources for the healing of the earth. Asfollowers of Jesus Christ, we believe that the Bible calls us to respond infour ways:First, God calls us to confess and repent of attitudes which devalue creation, andwhich twist or ignore biblical revelation to support our misuse of it. Forgettingthat "the earth is the Lords," we have often simply used creation and forgottenour responsibility to care for it.Second, our actions and attitudes toward the earth need to proceed from thecenter of our faith, and be rooted in the fullness of Gods revelation in Christ andthe Scriptures. We resist both ideologies which would presume the Gospel hasnothing to do with the care of non-human creation and also ideologies whichwould reduce the Gospel to nothing more than the care of that creation.Third, we seek carefully to learn all that the Bible tells us about the Creator,creation, and the human task. In our life and words we declare that full goodnews for all creation which is still waiting "with eager longing for the revealingof the children of God," (Rom. 8:19).Fourth, we seek to understand what creation reveals about Gods divinity,sustaining presence, and everlasting power, and what creation teaches us of itsGod-given order and the principles by which it works.
Thus we call on all those who arecommitted to the truth of the Gospelof Jesus Christ to affirm the followingprinciples of biblical faith, and to seekways of living out these principles inour personal lives, our churches,and society.
The cosmos, in all its beauty, wildness, and life-giving bounty,is the work of our personal and loving Creator.Our creating God is prior to and other than creation, yetintimately involved with it, upholding each thing in itsfreedom, and all things in relationships of intricatecomplexity. God is transcendent, while lovingly sustainingeach creature; and immanent, while wholly other thancreation and not to be confused with it.God the Creator is relational in very nature, revealed as threepersons in One. Likewise, the creation which God intended isa symphony of individual creatures in harmoniousrelationship.The Creators concern is for all creatures. God declares allcreation "good" (Gen. 1:31); promises care in a covenant withall creatures (Gen. 9:9-17); delights in creatures which have nohuman apparent usefulness (Job 39-41); and wills, in Christ,"to reconcile all things to himself" (Col.1:20).
Men, women, and children, have a unique responsibility to the Creator;at the same time we are creatures, shaped by the same processes andembedded in the same systems of physical, chemical, and biologicalinterconnections which sustain other creatures.Men, women, and children, created in Gods image, also have a uniqueresponsibility for creation. Our actions should both sustain creationsfruitfulness and preserve creations powerful testimony to its Creator.Our God-given , stewardly talents have often been warped from theirintended purpose: that we know, name, keep and delight in Godscreatures; that we nourish civilization in love, creativity and obedienceto God; and that we offer creation and civilization back in praise to theCreator. We have ignored our creaturely limits and have used the earthwith greed, rather than care.The earthly result of human sin has been a perverted stewardship,a patchwork of garden and wasteland in which the waste is increasing."There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in theland...Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it wasteaway" (Hosea 4:1,3). Thus, one consequence of our misuse of the earthis an unjust denial of Gods created bounty to other human beings, bothnow and in the future.
Gods purpose in Christ is to heal and bring to wholeness notonly persons but the entire created order. "For God was pleased tohave all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile tohimself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, bymaking peace through his blood shed on the cross" (Col. 1:19-20).In Jesus Christ, believers are forgiven, transformed and broughtinto Gods kingdom. "If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation"(II Cor. 5:17). The presence of the kingdom of God is marked notonly by renewed fellowship with God, but also by renewedharmony and justice between people, and by renewed harmonyand justice between people and the rest of the created world. "Youwill go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and thehills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the fieldwill clap their hands" (Isa. 55:12).We believe that in Christ there is hope, not only for men, womenand children, but also for the rest of creation which is suffering fromthe consequences of human sin.
Therefore we call upon all Christians to reaffirm that allcreation is Gods; that God created it good; and thatGod is renewing it in Christ.We encourage deeper reflection on the substantial biblicaland theological teaching which speaks of Gods work ofredemption in terms of the renewal and completion ofGods purpose in creation.We seek a deeper reflection on the wonders of Godscreation and the principles by which creation works. Wealso urge a careful consideration of how our corporateand individual actions respect and comply with Godsordinances for creation.We encourage Christians to incorporate the extravagantcreativity of God into their lives by increasing thenurturing role of beauty and the arts in their personal,ecclesiastical, and social patterns.
We urge individual Christians and churches to be centers ofcreations care and renewal, both delighting in creation as Godsgift, and enjoying it as Gods provision, in ways which sustain andheal the damaged fabric of the creation which God has entrustedto us.We recall Jesus words that our lives do not consist in theabundance of our possessions, and therefore we urge followers ofJesus to resist the allure of wastefulness and overconsumption bymaking personal lifestyle choices that express humility, forbearance,self restraint and frugality.We call on all Christians to work for godly, just, andsustainable economies which reflect Gods sovereign economy andenable men, women and children to flourish along with all thediversity of creation. We recognize that poverty forces people todegrade creation in order to survive; therefore we support thedevelopment of just, free economies which empower the poor andcreate abundance without diminishing creations bounty.We commit ourselves to work for responsible public policies whichembody the principles of biblical stewardship of creation.
We invite Christians--individuals, congregations and organizations--to join with us in this evangelical declaration on the environment,becoming a covenant people in an ever-widening circle of biblicalcare for creation.We call upon Christians to listen to and work with all those whoare concerned about the healing of creation, with an eagernessboth to learn from them and also to share with them our convictionthat the God whom all people sense in creation (Acts 17:27) isknown fully only in the Word made flesh in Christ the living Godwho made and sustains all things.We make this declaration knowing that until Christ returns toreconcile all things, we are called to be faithful stewards of Godsgood garden, our earthly home.
Action planPolicy: We seek to change the systems that foster the degradation ofcreation and to rectify the injustices that result from it. And we seekto alert our members to environmental legislation that protectscreation and to encourage their active participation in thedevelopment of public policy. We encourage members to participatein civic activities that foster environmental health. We seek to let ourcare for creation be known to others.Goals: To promote eco-justice and care for creation beyond the wallsof the church through hands-on involvement, political advocacy,publicity, conferences, websites, and publications.Actions: suggested actions to take to fulfill these commitments: Ecological justice in local, regional, national, and global issues Invest in the future of Earth community. Urge the endowment committee to invest your congregational endowment and other funds in social justiceSOCIAL CARBON NEUTRAL: AN OPTION IN BRAZIL
SOS SEMI-ARID –Social CarbonNeutral brazilPlanting &Producing to Protect the Planet www.sos-semi-aridbrazil.blogspot.com firstname.lastname@example.org