Waiting for freedom
Freedom in economic affairs has been blamed for much ecological damage. Why should this concern Christians if we know a ‘new earth’ is coming? Or have we read our Bibles through distorted lenses? Paul tells us creation is waiting to be freed, liberated from the bondage to decay – not destruction. What then is a responsible approach to creation care? To what end should we be acting now? What is the moral component of ‘climate justice’, the idea that environmental change has a harmful effect on those who have the smallest environmental footprint? How do we work out our responsibilities to future generations?
Chair: Jonathan Tame
Jonathan Tame (UK) trained as an agricultural economist and worked for the British government’s development agency in Cameroon, before joining a faith-based NGO in Lausanne. He developed a variety of training events on the relevance of Judeo-Christian thinking to different professions and domains of society. In 2009 he joined Relationships Global, three years later, he moved across to its sister organisation Jubilee Centre to take up the post of director.
Kathia Reynders (BE) has been on staff of the Schuman Centre for European Studies since January 2015, and holds a masters degree in international relations and studied for a second masters in environmental studies in Iceland. She plans to open an office of the Schuman Centre in Brussels in September this year.
Presentation 1 – Embert Messelink: The First Great Commission
JUST TWO WEEKS AGO, DUTCH NEWSPAPERS REPORTED ABOUT BIODIVERSITY IN THE PROVINCE OF FRIESLAND. IN THE LAST 25 YEARS, POPULATIONS OF THREATENED SPECIES WENT DOWN BY 50 PERCENT – MORE THAN IN ANY OTHER PLACE IN THE NETHERLANDS. THE AREA OF FRIESLAND IS MAINLY FARMLAND, MEADOWS. THESE USED TO BE HALF-NATURAL FIELDS WITH NUMEROUS INSECTS AND BIRDS. BUT NOWADAYS THEY ARE TRANSFORMED IN INDUSTRIAL, VERY PRODUCTIVE, BUT VERY SILENT FIELDS. Read more…
Presentation 2 – Kathia Reynders: The Pursuit of the Commons
IN 1968, GARRETT HARDIN PRODUCED A FAMOUS PAPER IN SCIENCE, CALLED ‘THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS’. HE ARGUES THAT FREEDOM IN A COMMONS BRINGS RUIN TO ALL, FOR IN A SOCIETY THAT BELIEVES IN THE FREEDOM OF THE COMMONS, EACH MAN IS COMPELLED TO PURSUE HIS OWN BEST INTEREST. HE ILLUSTRATES THIS BY A PASTURE OF LAND, OPEN TO ALL, WHERE HERDSMEN KEEP AS MANY CATTLE AS POSSIBLE ON THE COMMONS. A RATIONAL HERDSMAN, SEEKING TO MAXIMIZE HIS GAIN, WILL CONCLUDE TO ADD ANOTHER ANIMAL TO HIS HERD, AND MAYBE ANOTHER ONE, AND STILL ANOTHER ONE… BUT OTHER HERDSMEN WILL DRAW THE SAME CONCLUSION, LEADING TO OVER EXPLOITATION OF THE COMMONS. AND THERE EXACTLY LIES THE TRAGEDY. Read more…