Joy In Enough Conference March 2014 – Menu of Reports

Tweeters:  The Hashtag for the Joy In Enough conference & process is #jie_

Economic growth has turned toxic – but there really is an alternative. And God’s people are called to the cutting edge of change. What might a genuinely sustainable economy look like? And how can the churches make it happen? Join us to map out the journey to a happier, healthier, and holier world.

  1. Introduction to the Joy in Enough Project, and links to the five working groups
  2. The original  flyer for the conference

    Reports from Sections and Working Groups at the conference will be added here over the next few weeks:
  3. Press Release: ‘Joy in Enough ‘ Christian manifesto: Economics, as if people and the planet mattered- Conference of 29 March 2014 at Birmingham – issued on 31 March
  4. Keynote Presentation by Dan O’Neill
  5. Learning from the conference, esp. WG1 by Phil Kingston
  6. Meditation: Joy in Enough – by Mary Grey
  7. Closing Reflection by Peter Grimwood
  8. An oasis of flowers – 35 wildflowers in flower in Birmingham car park edge -next to the JiE conference centre – and it’s still only March

           

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CEL E News: 169: 26 March 2014

For what ever you are doing in trying to look after the environment, or in trying to get your church and community to be more aware:   Thank you.

1. Joy In Enough: Hashtag and Press Release:
Hashtag:  #jie_      (note _)      Please use if tweeting about JIE
Press Release: http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/archives/7062

2. Global Day of Action on Military Spending : 14 April 2014
http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/archives/7047
http://demilitarize.org.uk/plan-your-action/

3. Prayer for Ruth: remember CEL member Ruth Jarman and the other
defendants in the fracking case at Brighton court this week.
http://investigatingbalcombeandcuadrilla.com/

4. Job with Climate Coalition: Online Communications Coordinator
http://www.theclimatecoalition.org/online-comms-job

5. April’s Prayer guide. – read online or print a copy for your church
http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/faith/prayer-guide

6. Rainforest Cards – help raise money to protect habitats
http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/archives/7015

7. The National Geographical Magazine – Climate Change issue:
http://info.geographical.co.uk/special_offers1/free_sample_isse/

8. Radio 4 Programme 24 March – Christianity and Environment
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03yn6xt 30min -listen now

9. Report of Bishop David Atkinson’s talk at Cheltenham CEL
http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/archives/7055

10. Noah Film : trailer and resources fro community groups, including
churches: http://www.damaris.org/noah
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*** IN DETAIL ***

1. JOY IN ENOUGH: HASHTAG AND PRESS RELEASE:

Hashtag: #jie_ please use this if tweeting about Joy In Enough
(Note #jie_ has an underscore symbol _ low dash at the end)
Press Release: http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/archives/7062

(We are sorry that there is not more space to squeeze in the
people who applied too late for the conference.)
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2. GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION ON MILITARY SPENDING : 14 APRIL 2014
http://demilitarize.org.uk/plan-your-action/

CEL are a signatory of the Call to Action for a Global Day of action
on Military Spending

There are great resources on the GDAMS UK website
to encourage local actions and the international site for solidarity
and other ideas.

Pax Christi are planning an action/event in London that will link up
various Government Departments – those that have money e.g. MoD and
those whose money is being cut e.g. Health, Environment etc… Please
do circulate the date and website… and use your social media
channels… face book/twitter etc to get the word out.

How would you spend £100 billion ? Rolling out community solar power ?
Or replacing Trident ? There is a strong environmental element to the
resources and proposed actions for this year’s Global Day of Action on
Military Spending.
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3. PRAYER FOR RUTH

We invite you to pray for CEL member Ruth Jarman who is in court at
Brighton 24-28 March for protesting at the proposed fracking site at
Balcombe last August. There are five people in the dock this week: Caroline
Lucas, Joe, Sheila, Ruth Jarman and another Ruth).
There is a blog about the case here:-
http://investigatingbalcombeandcuadrilla.com/ which is
updated as the case continues. See also:-
http://investigatingbalcombeandcuadrilla.com/2014/03/24/1588/
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4. JOB WITH CLIMATE COALITION

http://www.theclimatecoalition.org/online-comms-job
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5. APRIL’S PRAYER GUIDE – read online or print a copy for your church

http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/faith/prayer-guide

 

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6. RAINFOREST CARDS

Packs of 12 cards are available for £21-00 including p&p
http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/archives/7015

 

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7. THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICAL MAGAZINE CLIMATE CHANGE ISSUES:

For a sample online free issue of their March 2014 magazine:
http://info.geographical.co.uk/special_offers1/free_sample_isse/
Well worth reading
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8. RADIO 4 PROGRAMME 24 MARCH – CHRISTIANITY AND ENVIRONMENT

You can listen to this online. 30min.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03yn6xt
It includes some interesting discussion on Christianity and Care of
the environment, and a section of Fracking.

CEL Info Officer Jo Abbess sent me this link with graphs showing how
UK oil, gas, coal, nuclear and renewable energy production has changed
during 1965-2012

http://www.bgs.ac.uk/ukmf/downloads/Trends%20in%20UK%20Production%20of%20Minerals_08012014.pdf
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9. REPORT OF BISHOP DAVID ATKINSON’S TALK AT CHELTENHAM CEL

http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/archives/7055
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10. NOAH FILM:

at this website you can see a trailer and get /order resources
http://www.damaris.org/noah
It is possible to order a free pack of resources about this.
e.g. The Leader’s Guide -Providing all you need to put on an event
around the film (for a few friends or a large group) it contains
template posters, invitations, themed recipes, quizzes, discussion
questions and background information. It will be available for
download as a pdf or you can request a free printed book with a DVD of
all the resources. There are Supplementary Resources for Churches who
want to delve more deeply into the spiritual issues raised by the
film.

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If you do not wish to receive CEL E-News Please let me know.

Do encourage other people and children to learn the names of wild
flowers and trees, and enjoy the outdoors… If you don’t know their
names – Make a start.

I remember my grandparents in Weardale helping me, as a child, dye
Easter eggs using the lichen “Stony Rag”. Now I am, with the help of
friends, discovering the hidden beautiful world of lichens.
http://rainforest-save.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/ingleton-churchyard-lichens-all-sites.html
.. but flowers are a lot easier!
Best wishes
Judith Allinson
Web editor

http://www.greenchristian.org.uk

________________________________________________________________

* CHRISTIAN ECOLOGY LINK – Support in greening your church and world.
Information and Resources (leaflets) available from 0845 4598460.
10, Beech Hall Road, Highams Park, London, E4 9NX
info@christian-ecology.org.uk
Company Reg. No. 2445198 Reg Charity No. 328744.
Visit CEL’s website www.greenchristian.org.uk for:
Daily prayer guide (produced monthly); UK Events List;
Green sermon notes; Resources list; Useful links.
‘Joy in Enough– Awakening to a New Economics’ Conference, Now fully
booked – 29 March, 2014 Birm’h'm www.greenchristian.org.uk/joy
CEL Retreat: Noddfa, Penmaenmawr, N Wales 24-26 Oct 2014
www.greenchristian.org.uk/archives/6720

________________________________________________________________

 

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Press Release: It’s time for a new economics: Conference will break new ground in Christian economic witness

MEDIA RELEASE from CHRISTIAN ECOLOGY LINK

24 March 2014

It’s time for a new economics:
Conference will break new ground in Christian economic witness

At a conference in Birmingham on Saturday 29 March, Christian Ecology Link (CEL) will launch a two-year project which could transform the churches’ witness on economics and the environment. Joy in Enough will challenge the assumption that ‘growth is good’. According to CEL, campaigns on both inequality and ecological degradation will only be effective in the long-term if they also demand a shift to a sustainable economic model.

‘Joy in Enough: Awakening to a new economics’ takes place at Carrs Lane Church Centre, Birmingham, and is organised by CEL, in association with A Rocha and the student campaign network Speak. It will rethink how, as well as achieving social justice, the economy could also respect the earth’s natural limits and set people free from the obligation to consume.

CEL’s chair, Paul Bodenham, says:

“We can’t have endless growth on a finite planet – it’s as simple as that. Maybe it’s a controversial message just as growth is returning to the UK economy. But look at the reality. Climate change is already hurting the poorest, and yet governments are at a loss about how to cut the rich world’s consumption of fossil fuels as much as scientists are demanding. Household debt is rising again and threatening another crash. The economic model is broken. There is an urgent need for the churches to advocate alternatives, and the Bible seems to offer a vision which can help us turn things round.”

Clearly many Christians agree – the conference was fully booked two months in advance. Those who attend will hear keynote speaker Dr Dan O’Neill, Chief Economist at the Centre for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy, outline how society can flourish without economic growth. Working groups will engage in theological reflection on a range of issues, from global competition to the impact of consumerism. The outcomes of the conference will be developed into a manifesto which CEL hopes will renew the churches’ vision for sustainable economic solutions to the needs of both people and planet.

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Notes to editors

Full details of the Joy in Enough project, the conference and the working groups which have prepared for it are available at http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/joy-in-enough

Steady State Economics is one of the alternative economic paradigms which will be considered at the conference. For further details visit http://steadystate.org/

A report of the conference will be distributed by press release on Monday 31 March

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“We cannot continue to exceed the planet’s boundaries”- Bishop David Atkinson at Cheltenham

“In wisdom God made all things”

 Martin Davis recalls the talk given by Bishop David Atkinson to the meeting organised by Cheltenham Christian Ecology Link

My photograph shows Bishop David Atkinson, of Southwark driving off from Cheltenham this morning after spending the night with us. David was here to talk to Christian Ecology Link yesterday evening: the title of this post is the one he took, leading into a meditation on Psalm 104  (“one of the great nature poems of the world”), used as a backdrop to some sobering reflections upon our present relationship with the created world.

“What is nature but the creation of God,” he began; hence his astonishment that a journalist – seeing him at a presentation given by Al Gore some while back – should ask, “What possible interest could the Church have in the environment?”

But it’s merely a measure of the general disconnect between our faith and our responsibility to bequeath a better world to future generations. As Professor Mary Grey commented on the Operation Noah Ash Wednesday DeclarationWe will encounter [the issues raised by this Declaration] in the form of a question when we face God’s judgement: “What did you do to cherish my creation in its hour of danger?”

We cannot continue to exceed the planet’s boundaries and expect all humanity to flourish. Realising this means we need to address difficult questions: how are our pension funds invested? Should we fly? Ought we really to light up the church spire? Where is neo-liberal economic theory going?

As was clear from the wide-ranging discussion that followed, all of us can’t answer all of these questions, but each of us can tackle some of them. There’s a variety of gifts: we can bear the same witness in our different ways. And muddy carrots keep one earthed. What more natural for believers in an infinite God than to live with the understanding that resources are finite! We need to discover the possibility of living differently in a way which is joyous.

Altogether, an excellent evening, which encouraged all of us to follow David’s example and accept, in our teaching, preaching and living, the challenge of integrating Christian belief with concern for our world and its future!

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Global Day of Action on Military Spending : 14 April 2014

How would you spend £100 billion ? Roll out community solar power ? Or replace the Trident nuclear missiles ?

Although the Chancellor of the Exchequer handed out an extra £140 million for flood defences this week in his Budget, Government Departments such as the Environment Agency face further cuts under the Austerity regime. Yet George Osborne left the Ministry of Defence budget alone.

Whilst he froze the Carbon Price Floor, which was designed to give a strong negative signal on greenhouse gas emissions, he made gestures of support to new development of the fossil fuel industry in the North Sea : “we will review the whole tax regime to make sure it is fit for the purpose of extracting every drop of oil we can.” This is being done to protect energy security of supply – something strongly urged by the Ministry of Defence.

He reiterated support for new nuclear power in the UK – something inextricably linked to weapons development.

He also announced a generous £7 billion of support for “energy intensive” manufacturers to offset the impacts of their rising energy bills – including those that produce iron and steel – part of the supply chain for weapons makers.

Pax Christi are encouraging us to consider the options and take action in support of this year’s Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS).

There is a strong environmental element to the resources and proposed actions for, and the Steering Committee of Christian Ecology Link have agreed that we officially support this event day.

Please consider how you could mark this day, either in your parish/community or at a national event.


From: Pat Gaffney, General Secretary, Pax Christi
Date: 13 March 2014

The Global Day of Action on Military Spending – 14 April 2014 – is
fast approaching. As CEL are a signatory of the Call to Action I am
writing now to invite you to do all you can to promote the day within
your networks.

There are great resources on the GDAMS UK website
http://demilitarize.org.uk/plan-your-action/ to encourage local
actions and the international site for solidarity and other ideas.
http://demilitarize.org/

We are planning an action/event in London that will link up various
Government Departments – those that have money e.g. MoD and those
whose money is being cut e.g. Health, Environment etc…

Please do circulate the date and website… and use your social media
channels… face book/twitter etc to get the word out.

19 March is Budget Day.. keep an eye out for the results.. and link
these with the concerns of your own organisations and the GDAMS call
to action!


Cut Military Spending – Fund Human Needs !

http://www.paxchristi.org.uk
https://twitter.com/paxchristiuk


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Enough – An Essay from John Smith

Enough
October 2013
John Smith
We cannot be what God wants us to be without caring for the Earth.

At a time when our society is moving from an age of prosperity (or excess) to an age of austerity (or sustainability), new and old moral economic principles may need to be emphasised.

The churches are well placed to support an idealism of restraint, which could have a major effect for good on our society, the land, ecology and economics. Religion can and has been an important agent for change. “Enough” is a political, community and personal ethic which, if embraced and explored by moral agencies both secular and religious, can empower human beings in their politics and communities, as they care for the planet and our human societies by restoring a measure of equity between communities and nations. Enough is a principle, which if adopted, can ensure that economics is contained within the limits of ecology; a fundamental principle for a good future.

Enough is an evolutionary principle, one of the biological laws. Nature is not red in tooth and claw but operates on a colligative principle, a system of partnership as well as competition within an ecosystem. The territorial imperative, used by most species, ensures that living by enough enables survival. Homo sapiens may be the exception. Cooperation for some species is vital, such as the communities that create coral reefs or lichens, or the vital interactive nature of insects and plants they pollinate. Others live in a dynamic balance between the hunter and the hunted such as the wolf pack and the elk herds.

The balance of nature can be seriously disturbed, even leading to extinction, by the thoughtless introduction of species from other ecosystems such as cane toads and rabbits into Australia, grey squirrels and Japanese knotweed into the UK, hedgehogs on a Hebridean island or bluebells from Spain, or by eliminating a key species such as mammoths or wolves. The introduction of unnatural materials such as non-biodegradable plastic will also cause major environmental changes, notably the gyre in the Pacific. Human beings, as economic creatures, are not recognising the principle of enough to their and the environment’s long term disadvantage. Such a disregard cannot be ignored without eventual collapse. It is vital to recognise that the economy must be contained within the ecology of the planet, not vice versa as we in the First World are now doing.

So what is enough? Animals, birds, insects and plants survive on a territorial basis. Ecosystems are complex and sensitive and ‘enough’ has evolved as part of that sensitivity. Enough and survival are damaged by the human-induced processes of habitat destruction, introduction of invasive species, pollution, competing pressures of human numbers and hunting and overharvesting the generosity of the land and seas. Humanity is now using 40% of the annual terrestrial plant growth, 60% of the annual freshwater run off and 35% of the oceans’ productivity as well as irreplaceable oil, gas, coal and other materials. That is close to and in places beyond the limits of sustainability and threatens many species and habitats with extinction through the effects of climate change. There is a loss of species with a reduction of diversity, all caused by human activities.

The Political Challenges for Christians and Those of Goodwill.
Christians in the rich First World need to live by the challenge of enough.

Can our planet cope with the growing number of the human species, now at 7 billion and projected by the UN to increase to ten billion before the end of this century? Can we balance our national, community, personal and political ecologies to solve the huge problems of sustainability and climate change? Can we live in contentment and sanity and help our neighbours of the Third World, those who do not have enough? Can we use the time to do the things we enjoy and not commit ourselves to a needlessly growth economy working and earning to buy what are unnecessary and possibly polluting trifles?

The practise of being not doing needs time for that freedom to be learned and used. Many people constantly complain of what they cannot afford, yet do not need. Others with high incomes and many without see ‘retail therapy’ as a source of pleasure as they win bargains for material goods that are not essential. Many cheap goods are manufactured in slave like conditions overseas. Fairly traded and local goods are morally worth supporting, even though they are more expensive. The advertising industry, always seeking to promote such desires and debts, stimulates the need for such gratification for profit. Happiness has been proved to rise when we have enough, but that satisfaction declines under the constant pressure to acquire more and more. Keeping up with the Joneses wastes the time and resources we need to spend on important parts of our lives and at the same time these unsustainable activities damage the planet. Starkly, if we take more than our share then there will not be enough for the natural world on which we depend, the wildernesses which we need, or for future generations on whose capital we are now living.

Yet the mirage of economic growth is raised by politicians as an anodyne and solution, despite the paradox that economic growth is unsustainable, at the same time as negative growth destabilises economies. How does Homo economicus cope with these challenging contradictions?

Moderation and Sustainability
The Bible constantly urges us to live by the principle of enough. The Mosaic law condemns greed whereas the simpler and humbler Gospels and more esoteric Epistles suggest that excess is a sin. Moderation is not meekness but a relationship; an essential part of a successful community, as Benedictines find. Moderates who choose and have enough are generous, forgiving, concerned for the other and live healthily.

Another paradox is that with seven billion humans, and rising, is there enough employment to go round? Keynes thought that with increased prosperity the need for work would reduce and hours would be devoted to culture and other activities as far as the UK is concerned. This is happening in some economies but not in the UK.

Enough means repairing, reusing and renewing not misusing, serving not exploiting and being accountable for our goods and our giving.

Enough as a religious principle reconsiders the ground rules of economic performance to one of need from one of greed, from one of excess to one of rights of more than humanity, to one of freedom from oppression and the grind to earn for what we do not need. The poor will always be with us, but some religious, such as the Franciscans and Pope Francis choose poverty as a calling. God, as creator of the ecological system, charges humanity not to abuse it and offers the principle of non-violent dominion as a standard for human lifestyle. Jesus, as a servant leader, taught about a kingdom of right relationships with God, with the Earth and with our neighbours in the rest of creation. These principles are the basis of a quality of life for all creation not just a few lucky humans in the First World. Part of that relationship is the need for rest or the Sabbath, alongside a natural gratitude for kindness, peace and enough. Part of that is also the need to live sustainably generation by generation and not indebt our descendants by our excesses.

Traherne, an early spiritual guide, has the idea of ‘felicitie’, which includes delight, pleasure, happiness, beauty, bounty, enjoyment, blessing, amiableness, satisfaction, contentment, peace sweetness, treasure and goodness. This is at the heart of the current eco-spirituality movement and part of its essential sustainability and “enoughness”. All of these ‘felicities’ enhance the concept of enough and can be the result of its community and individual adoption, leading to joy and wellbeing. There is a necessary communal partnership between humanity and creation that will end the damaging competition that we now adopt in our competitive economies of more and more and more.

Transition: From the Personal to the Political, the Individual to the Community.
The development of ‘enoughness’ moves from the personal development offered by John Naish where he breaks free from the world of more to the localisation of the economy and community development. The growth of this movement is now global in the Transition Town movement, paralleled by the Downshifting and Downsising ideals in the USA, Australia and elsewhere.

A local economy can find more jobs, especially local ones, than a multinational whose profits go elsewhere. Local currencies such as the Totness and Bristol pounds stimulate community wealth and wellbeing with small scale breweries, cheese makers, bakers, farmers markets; fairtade applied locally as well as internationally is morally essential. Community industry, craftsmen and women can prosper in such economies and a spirit of localism is encouraged, which reduces travel costs and increases community resilience.

Market gardens, garden food exchanges and local energy generation are just a few of the ways by which Transition Towns prosper and community is encouraged. The establishment of a community centre as a focus for many developments such as credit unions, woodworking, painting and pottery demonstrate the variety of opportunities that the ideal of enough, developed locally, can stimulate. There are now both national and local organisations for these movements where ideas, inspirations and learning support can be found.

Equity
A more equal society is one that lives in harmony with itself. There are proven advantages of such an approach, namely; better health, longer life, less violence, lower birth rates, healthier children, low obesity rates, less mental illness, fewer prisoners and a wider social mobility. There is however more positive attributes; prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance, all of which recognise the natural limits of enough by which a humanity that wishes to survive and thrive, must observe. Equity is therefore a vital component of a good future.

Contraction and Convergence: Practical Sharing
In order to achieve a global limit on the use of the commons there is a need to limit and ration not only the use of the planetary commons but also the waste (CO2 etc) created by burning fossil fuels and the consequent global warming. What is suggested is that eventually every individual is given a carbon limit and that this limit will be reduced over several years to bring equity to everyone. This will mean that over the agreed period the heavy polluters; USA China, Europe etc, will bring down their carbon emissions to a common level with which the planet can cope and which will not increase the threat of global warming. This will entail a greater sacrifice by the rich nations and a reflection by those less economically disadvantaged on how they could achieve a sustainable economy, which will be the aim of all.

This proposal has been seen as too idealistic. Would the rich nations reduce their economies to achieve such ends? Probably not, but an agreement to reduce carbon pollution to uniform and planet coping levels, which would include mitigation and adaptation, would cause the human prospects to appear to be more optimistic and show that the ideal of enough is much more than a personal aspiration. It has both national and global implications.

Justice and the Golden Rule
Enough is a principle that raises the questions of equity and justice and the Christian command to love our neighbour as our self. It also asks anew the question “who is our neighbour?”, and given the recognition that all creation is our neighbour there are few if any non-neighbours in our world today. Jesus spoke of humility and simplicity in the gospels and spoke as Socrates did to the common people asking them to question, think and follow those who are good and to live that moral courage that can remake civilisations.

Enough People?
The UN has forecast the global population to rise to nine billion by 2050 and 10 billion by the end of this century, from seven billion now and six billion in 2000. There is a limit to the agricultural productivity of the planet. Moreover, the impact of such human population levels on the planet’s biodiversity are already leading to extensive extinction. Can such human numbers be managed, recognising that the current increase is not only due to new births which are currently stabilising, but also a rapidly increasing longevity.

Also, the wealthier the family the more stuff is consumed, more meat is eaten and more waste is made. The planet is stressed with such excess. The answer is to consume less in the richer economies of the world, where material consumption is far above the level that can be sustained for everyone. A new discipline of enough will have to be adopted or even enforced.

Consumption
Consumption is something we all do. We consume goods and services, the goods are the commons on which we depend like clean air and fresh water. We live in a finite world and it is important that all people are treated equitably. Sustainable consumption is good when it enlarges the capabilities of people without adversely affecting the well being of others and the planet. It is as fair to future generations as to present, respects the carrying capacity of the planet and encourages the emergence of lively and creative communities. Thoughtless consumption will waste the planet as well as its people and biodiversity. This can be changed.

The Third World and Not Enough
It is calculated that two billion human beings live in poverty and do not have enough. Many in the Third World live in poverty and starvation. Our First World concern for our cars, our heating and our lifestyles is fuelling climate change and increasing the stresses on a third of our fellow human beings. Then there is the economic need to support Third World agriculture so that children can go to school, simple health measures can be afforded and there is some dignity in a lifestyle without a slide into poverty. The solutions are not easy but enough should be an equitable principle for all nations as is fair trade. There needs to a period of ‘catch up’ when the First World slows down its development and allows the Third World to develop and use the limited commons of the planet in a sustainable way.

Information
Modern living is bedevilled by too much information, so much that most individuals have not the time to cope with the quantity. Information overload is now a recognisable medical condition. Its symptoms are stress, insomnia and damaged relationships. Recent studies have shown that the condition, called ‘info mania’, is more damaging than cannabis abuse. Within all this we are replacing correspondence with emails, activity with video games, abstract thinking and philosophy and in-depth reading with sound bites and too much television which is known to be bad for the brain. Mobile phones provide immediate access with texting as well as instant communication.

Information is vital, but we need to be able to choose and set time budgets for our info-consumption. It is important to rediscover the space that the modern media encroaches on and revive our data addled brains. Local news is important as this encourages community, whereas national news can increase uncertainty and fear. Emails and mobile phones provide instant communication. Is this always necessary? It is a sheer impossibility to keep up with the mass of today’s electronic media. Why try? Be selective. Retreat from communication for a while. Right information in ecology is a moral need but too much mis-information leads to confusion, indecision and error. Silence and listening are important skills to be cultivated.

Food and Diet
A balanced diet is essential for life. Too much and we become obese, too little and we starve. Colin Tudge suggests that the ideal diet is one low on meat and that farming even with the increase in human population could easily meet the requirements for a healthy diet. He recommends eating meat no more than twice a week and that our bodies have evolved to be healthy on such a balanced diet. We need to think about what we eat and its quantity. As human beings we evolved to eat irregularly. As food is now more easily available in the rich First World, we tend to gorge and become obese. There are other matters; that we eat too quickly, known to be bad for our digestion. Fatty, sugar rich diets are unbalanced and addictive. Mealtimes should be sacred times, special time round the family table where food is shared, not bolted down in front of the television. A healthy lifestyle promotes good eating, sleeping, loving and living. These are principles of enough. The Eucharist symbolises the relationship between food with the creator, Jesus and humanity. Ideally a meal is an occasion we share.

De-cluttering
Many of us own too much and we are constantly adding stuff to the collection. There is a need to de-clutter for a simpler life. This can be a spiritual discipline and ‘in a world where people seek peace from the cacophony of pressurised living, Christ’s followers need to be attractive’. De-cluttering can help this. There is a need to have enough to be comfortable, but today most of us have much more than we need, whereas in the Third World many people have less than enough. We need to purchase for sustainability and fair trading. The rich First World buys 90% of the world’s consumer goods and we are the stressed ones! Is there a connection here?

Covetousness is banned by the 10th commandment. Extravagance does not bring joy. Excessive consumption is bad for the individual and the planet, yet people can suffer from a ‘shop until you drop’ addiction. There is a spiritual dimension here with a need to practise restraint, not only for our own development but also for the community, which we choose to share.

One of the consequences of all this is too much rubbish. Waste is a growing problem as we fill the reducing available landfill space and pollute the atmosphere with carbon, but we are constantly encouraged to buy more and more of what we do not want and certainly what we do not need. In particular, plastic, which is oil-based, does not easily degrade and is polluting the planet. Quality long-lasting useful goods are replaced by poor manufacture, unrepairable machines and rubbish.

Overwork
Working more than 37-40 hours a week is damaging. People who work more than 41 hours a week are more likely to have high blood pressure than those who do less. Humans need leisure as well as work. Workaholics are often earning more to purchase the luxury goods they don’t need. There is need to pursue and expect a work/life balance, having time for work, family and leisure and for enjoying life and food. The more we work, the more we are stressed and the more likely we are to make mistakes due to that stress. The Sabbath as a day of relaxation, relationships, non-purchasing and rest was a religious imperative and as of social value is missed. J. M. Keynes, the economist, wrote that as the economy improved and efficiency and robotisation increased we would spend less time working and more time in creative pursuits. This development is seen in some successful European countries.

There are however ways that we do not have enough. These are often the spiritual and religious elements. In our learning, humanity can never know enough as we each seek to learn more about the world in which we live. There is a need to grow in knowledge of God’s creation and know a gratitude for all its blessings.

Never Enough and Being Grateful
There are areas of our lives where enough is never enough. Knowledge and research, which can be shared, and spirituality are thoughtful areas where enough does not prescribe a limitation. Time given to the spiritual quest invites meditation and prayerfulness. Gratitude is crucial to contentment as it does not alienate us from others. Giving time to thankfulness and love are attitudes that go beyond shopping, work and status. Wishing for what we don’t have can be replaced by thoughts and actions which reflect the blessings and the relationships we do have. Community and leisure and caring for others can be life-enhancing, given the time to share with others by unselfish and good living. The arts and sports can add to the quality of the sustaining life. Humans need to be mindful of the reality of creation and the sustainability of living materially by enough and no more. Choosing to live fully within each day that is given needs knowledge, thought, compassion for others and a commitment to a future of goodness, beauty and truth. Christians should be the people of the common good, for whom there is life beyond that of acquisitions and who are grateful for our many blessings if life.

Sustainability and Enough
The concept of sustainability is one that believes current human needs should not live at the expense of future generations and the rest of creation. Christians need to promote the sustainability of all creation; the natural feedback processes that sustain life as defined in the Gaia theory. For enoughness the economy must be contained within the limits of the planet’s ecology.

Shrinking the Footprint
Churches are now seeking to address the issue of climate change and whether they can demonstrate ways of practising enoughness and ‘shrink their footprint’. They are asked to check the need for lighting, inside and out, heating and insulation and the lifestyles, including shared transport, of the congregation. One task of churches, as moral exemplars in their communities, is to demonstrate and teach the vital principle of enough.

Politics: Measuring and Having Enough
Good politics is about the good life or achieving the common good. There are basic goods, which are good in themselves like enough good food, clean air fresh water, even a faith in a loving God; all matters that should be universal to all. The Skidelsky’s list of seven ‘basic goods’ comprises health, security, respect, personality, harmony with nature, friendship and leisure. Such measures lead to happiness and good will, all obedient to a moral law if they are to be fulfilled. It is therefore the state’s priority to create the material conditions of the good life. Growth, if is to be undertaken, should be a means to these common goods and not to increase pollution. The goal of the common life should be an equality that supports our collective existence or community, with no huge divisions between the rich and poor. Religion can provide inspiration for this with a new individual or collective leadership for the common good as a basis for community. A new Benedict is needed, according to MacIntyre who suggests that we are entering a new age of darkness where we need new forms of community where the moral life can be sustained and encouraged. This would appear to be evolving in the Transition Town, Downsizing and Downshifting movements across the globe with over a million examples of these community initiatives.

Conclusion
As Christians we should live by ‘enough’. It is a practical ethic to be considered individually by each of us, as well as in community, nationally and internationally. What is enough for me and what is not enough for me, followed by what is enough for others and how can we help all creation to give and live sustainably, are survival questions we must address. The religious need to determine their limits as part of their spirituality as the Franciscans and Benedictines do. If the human future is to be as successful as it could be, then the principle of enough will need to be accepted globally, politically by nations and regions, in communities and by individuals as a foundation of their life ethics. The church should be seen as supporting these movements, even inspiring them.

Contemporary non-violent revolutions such the Transition Town and Occupy Movements by ordinary people who are against being governed by the rich for the rich indicate that we are living in interesting, changing, confused and hopefully non-violent times. Colin Tudge writes that the future is either dire or glorious. At the moment it is hard to be more precise. He takes it we prefer glorious. If that is to be achieved the future will have to be based, for all humanity and perhaps all creation, on the principle of enough. It is a principle the religious, the churches and those of goodwill should encourage, for upon this gift depends the future of our civilisation and our faith should be based.

We Need to Ask Many Questions
What is enough food and meat for me?
What clothing do I need?
What space, energy materials do I need?
What makes me happy or fulfilled?
Do I buy fairly traded or ethical branded goods?
When is my knowledge enough?
Is there a limit of enough to my spiritual development?

Many other questions will occur as we limit, change or expand our lifestyles based on the ethic of enough.
Do we live non-violently?
How can we live in a sustainable community of enough?
What does enough mean to politics?
How can human intelligence and God’s common purpose be fulfilled?
How can enough become a global movement?

Sources
Ardrey, Robert. The Territorial Imperative; A Personal Inquiry into the Animal Origins of Property and Nations. Fontana ed. 1969.
Barton, Andrew. Decluttering: A Spirituality of Less. Grove Booklets, 2006.
Berry, R. J. ed. When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework For Environmental Sustainability, Apollos, 2007.
Dietz, Rob and O’Neill, Dan, Enough is Enough, Earthscan, 2013.
Hopkins, Rob. The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependancy to Local Resilience. Green Books, 2008.
Jackson, Tim. Prosperity Without Growth, SDC, 2009.
MacIntyre, Alasdair. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. 2nd ed. Duckworth, 1985.
Meyer, Aubrey. Contraction and Convergence: The Global Solution to Climate Change. Green Books, 2000.
Mothers Union. Fair Enough? Ways to Live for Justice. MU, nd.
Naish, John. Enough: Breaking Free From the World of More. Hodder, 2008.
Royal Society. People and the Planet. RS. 2012.
Ryan, Anne B. Enough is Plenty: Public and Private Policies for the 21st Century. O Books, 2009.
Skidelsky, Robert and Skidelsky, Edward. How Much is Enough? The Love of Money and the Case for the Good Life. Allen Lane, 2012.
Taylor, John V. Enough is Enough, SCM, 1975.
Tudge, Colin. So Shall We Reap. Allen Lane, 2003.
Wilkinson, Richard and Pickett, Kate. The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always do Better. Allen Lane, 2009.

Posted in Climate Change, Discussion, Economics, Energy, Food | Leave a comment

Rainforest Fund Greetings Cards

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A selection of Mark Boulton’s cards

Could you use this fun and enjoyable way of raising money and raising awareness for saving wildlife habitats for future generations?

 

This is also a way of supporting  CEL’s 100 Churches Rainforest Fund Project

 

A selection of  beautiful nature cards has been made available for you to sell at local events, or to keep and use for yourself. The cards, left blank inside are suitable for birthdays, condolence,  congratulations, Christmas, Easter and other occasions 

 

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A selection of Judith Allinson’s cards

The pack of 12 cards is available for £21, including postage and packing. The cards are sold in some local shops for £2-00 each. The money raised supports three wildlife charities: World Land Trust, Cool Earth and A Rocha Ghana (which is a Christian charity). (Reduced rates can be arranged for larger quantities)

 

Some cards are printed, some cards are hand mounted photographs.

 

The cards are made by two CEL members, Mark Boulton and Judith Allinson, using their own photographs.

 

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Bird’s-eye Primrose

Mark Boulton has worked on international conservation projects in several African countries and now lives in Britain where he has just built an Eco-House. He is currently Chair of the pioneering Stratford & Evesham Methodist Church’s EcoCircuit Programme.

 

Judith Allinson (who has spent time in West Africa and seen both rainforest and the way the land is under threat) is a botanist who runs grasses and flowers courses in the Yorkshire Dales and carries out botanical survey work. Her church sells her greetings cards.

 

If you would like a pack of cards, please contact Judith Allinson

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Get climate change back on the political agenda

The Diocese of Sheffield – Media Release

Get Climate Change back on the political agenda -  Bishop of Sheffield speaks out on issues in Presidential Address

The Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Steven Croft has spoken out on the need to combat climate change, and the importance of “Christians and others taking action to raise this agenda once again in the political life of this country”.

In his Presidential Address at the first Sheffield Diocesan Synod of 2014 (8 March), Dr Croft said “Here is a mystery.  The world grows warmer.  Yet climate change has disappeared from the political agenda since 2010 in this country and around the world.”

Dr Croft made reference to Beveridge and Temple’s naming of the ‘five giants of evil’, squalor, ignorance, want, idleness and disease, from the 1940s. He said these are still with us and “remain the enemies of human flourishing”.  However, “there is a sixth giant to be named and to be fought”.

He told the gathered representatives that this sixth giant is “the giant of climate change which threatens the stability of life on this beautiful earth for our children and for our grandchildren.  The damage this sixth Goliath will do to this beautiful earth if unchecked is beyond our imagination.”

Speaking on the penultimate day of Climate Week, Bishop Steven referred to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report (September 2013) that has stated the global average temperature seems likely to rise by from as little as 0.9 degrees centigrade to as much as 5.4 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. The Bishop commented “probably within the lifetime of my children and certainly within the lifetime of my grandchildren”.

During the Synod, Climate Ambassadors were commissioned to work with churches across the Diocese.  Their remit is to help communities lobby their MPs to get climate change back on the political agenda.  A campaign called Hope for the Future has been set up nationally to achieve this target.  It is aiming for every MP to receive at least ten letters on this subject by the end of July.

Michael Bayley is the Diocesan Environment Officer for Sheffield.  Speaking on the campaign, he said:

“The Hope for the Future campaign is about us, ordinary people, giving the politicians the support and courage they need to do what many of them know needs to be done, so that we can all have hope for the future.”

Referring to the General Election in 2015, the Bishop said:  “This is, therefore, a key moment in the electoral cycle of our nation to raise the profile of climate change in public debate, in the manifestos of the main parties and in the national and international policies which will follow.”

Bishop Steven concluded the address by stating that by taking action together “climate change can be reduced and, God willing, reversed for the sake of future generations.”
ENDS

Note: The Diocesan Environment Officers in Yorkshire and the North East of England have combined to develop a simple campaign under the title Hope for the Future. This is a church-led ecumenical campaign aiming to lobby MPs to put the Committee on Climate Change Recommendations in their manifestos.  Further details of the Hope for the Future campaign can be found at  www.hftf.org.uk

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