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Texto Previo para Ciudad del Cabo 2010

El Desafío de la Mayordomía Ambiental

Autor: Las Newman and Ken Gnanakan
Fecha: 29.07.2010
Category: Cuidado de la Creación

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Publicado originalmente en inglés

Nota del editor: El presente Texto Previo para Ciudad del Cabo 2010 fue escrito por Las Newman y Ken Gnanakan, como una reseña del tema a debatirse en la sesión Multiplex sobre “La crisis ambiental, el evangelio y el testimonio cristiano”. Los comentarios a este texto realizados a través de la Conversación Global de Lausana serán remitidos a los autores y a otras personas para ayudar a dar forma a su presentación final en el Congreso”.

 La crisis ambiental global es una sombría realidad que nos impulsa a actuar. Estamos amenazados por el cambio climático, por el agotamiento de los recursos terrestres y marinos, por reservas de agua dulce cada vez menores, por una situación energética crítica, por la extinción de la biodiversidad y por ecosistemas devastados. Con una población creciente que consume en exceso recursos naturales y hace uso excesivo de los combustibles fósiles, nuestros insostenibles patrones de consumo elevan la amenaza a niveles aún más alarmantes. La creciente pobreza ha producido una manifiesta desigualdad en el mundo, sometiendo a la humanidad a un riesgo que podría ser fatal.

Más recientemente, el cambio climático ha planteado una advertencia al bienestar de los humanos y del medio ambiente no humano a través de impactos sobre la vida humana, la biodiversidad y el funcionamiento del ecosistema. Es interesante que recientes llamados a reconocer al cambio climático como un serio peligro hayan encontrado diversas respuestas. Por un lado, hemos tenido escépticos que han descartado el tema como no importante y, por otro, hemos tenido profetas de desastres que han exagerado las afirmaciones en beneficio propio.

Si bien la amenaza es global, lamentablemente los impactos de la crisis ya están siendo sentidos por algunas de las comunidades más pobres del mundo. Y estos impactos –inundaciones, sequías, cosechas perdidas, enfermedades y aumento del nivel del mar– están aumentando a una velocidad alarmante. Un dato importante es que estos impactos se sentirán más fuertemente en más de cuarenta Pequeños Estados Insulares en Desarrollo (PEID) en los océanos Atlántico, Índico y Pacífico; en el grupo de 50 Países Menos Adelantados (PMA) reconocidos por la ONU, principalmente en África, pero también en Asia; y en varios otros países africanos altamente vulnerables. En contraste con el resto del mundo, estos cien países en condiciones desventajosas tienen una población combinada de casi mil millones de personas, pero producen sólo 3,2% de las emisiones globales de gases de efecto invernadero. (1)

Todos, ricos y pobres, debemos actuar juntos para lograr cambios. Hay costos a pagar. Pero surge la pregunta: ¿Qué pasa con los países más pobres? ¿Acaso esperan los megacontaminadores como Europa y Estados Unidos que países más pequeños, como Bangladesh, Guatemala o Zaire compartan estos costos por partes iguales? La pregunta ha surgido en muchos debates, y el papel de las Naciones Unidas ha sido clave para poner el cambio climático en la agenda de todos los países.

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Palabras clave: LA MAYORDOMÍA AMBIENTAL

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PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo HLMissionary (1)
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica

From Bible studies to making changes in our lives at the family and local levels, addressing the creation care crisis does demonstrate how seriously we Christians follow God’s mission for the world.

I like the tangible steps every one can do that are listed at the end of the article.


08.10.2013
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo William_Lauesen (-1)  
Bahrein

An interesting mix in the paper. The first pages starts with what we all know from the media – we’re in a terrible crisis. (I guess I’m one of the bad ones who isn’t convinced – read my comments on the “Science of Global Climate Change”. Funny how we all know it but people keep telling us anyway. Maybe it’s the unconvincing evidence and lack of visible problems so far?) Then the second half page talks about how we should take all the machinery of our family, church and community and put it to work to stop climate change. A real call to arms! (Or else a virus trying to take over the cell for its own purposes.)

This is what is needed:

  1. Long-term (more than just 100 years – try 1000s or 10,000s of years) historical trend data.
  2. Competent economic analysis by economists uncommitted for or against climate change. They will measure these threats or risks against other world problems such as poverty and disease (which are all problems waiting to be solved – with various solutions having various costs – how much does it cost to have less corruption and stable laws allowing growing economic activity that will increase wealth and reduce poverty and disease?)
  3. How do you balance the threat of climate change over the next 100 years with the threat of people dying without Christ in the next 10 or 50 years?

Let’s not pretend that environmental stewardship is the greatest problem we face. It’s not. Let’s not forget that while scientists should seek to improve their “long-term weather forecasts”, while economists should also seek to improve the clarity of their advice long-term and short, while politicians should seek to create better societies with level playing fields for growing wealth to solve the myriad problems, the church should seek to take the Gospel to every people. If we don’t do it, no one will.


14.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 1 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo Christine_Tennant (3)  
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica
@ William_Lauesen:

I’m sad to read that you think it’s EITHER we care for the environment OR we carry the gospel to all the nations. It is not an either/or scenario, but rather a holistic understanding that "the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof." We can be good and faithful stewards of the gift of creation that God has entrusted to us while simultaneously living to disciple the nations. Regardless of what science presents, or your opinion of the legitimacy of environmental science’s findings, the Bible gives us ample reason to take creation care seriously. My concern for creation is not based on science, ultimately, but rather on scripture. One need not put one’s trust in science to have a reason for caring for creation!


15.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo William_Lauesen (-1)  
Bahrein
@ Christine_Tennant:

I agree with you Christine! Caring for the environment is biblical, a part of God’s command, and it’s not either/or. I was seeking to provide balance to one extreme (as I indicated in my comments about the paper) by advocating the other, not the best way to go: we should indeed seek the biblical balance. I do believe that preaching the Gospel is a priority, and it at least used to be the main reason for the Lausanne movement. Meanwhile, we have lots of other things to do as well… 


I wonder if you caught my point about recyclables – it comes down to economics, and how to use economics (and without overdoing it, the government) not to prohibit disposables but to include the fair cost to the environment (clean-up and damage and so on). We do have to be careful to find the appropriate balance, rather than going from one extreme to the other!


10.07.2012
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo PAHayes (0)
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica

I agree "we should commit to re-reading the Bible from a enviromental perspective."  For those who are interested in small ways of incorporating this idea in your churches, there is The Green Bible, which offers references on God’s care and concern for his creation.


07.04.2011
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo tswood (0)
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica
@ PAHayes:

It is time to see our environment as a creation. God told Adam to be fruitful and multiply and take care of the land. We are handling on side very well; however, the one is lacking.


08.07.2012
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo padre_todd (0)
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica

I very much agree with your statement, “in the face of the challenges of both the environmental crisis and the failure of global leaders to come to any clear agreements, the role of the Christian community becomes even more urgent.” As a pastor, I have been saddened by the “why bother” attitude among many American Christians regarding care for our planet. Many seem to feel that since God will one day create “a new heaven and a new earth” then our present planet does not need our care.  Unfortunately, many American Christians do
not understand how our lack of care for this planet affects the lives of people around the world.  This is especially true in the developing world.  Many years ago, I worked in Haiti as an Agronomist. I wish I could take my entire congregation to Haiti for a week so that they could see for themselves how deforestation and pollution seriously affects that country. I believe that a week in a developing country among the poorest of the poor would make the majority of my congregation into environmentalists.  We need to care for the planet because it is the creation of our Lord and the home of the Lord’s greatest creation; humankind. 


04.10.2011
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo tswood (0)
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica
@ padre_todd:

I hate to say it; however, I am one of those individuals who don’t really care about the environment. I know, that’s sad but I never seen it the way that this paper has shown it. It has really openned my eyes to it being God’s creation just as much as I am.


08.07.2012
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo alearner (0)
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica

I was glad to learn this topic was included at Lausanne.  I totally agree with the author that Christians are "compelled to act".  I am also saddened that the issue of the care and stewardship of our environment has become a polictical issue.  Must polictics invade every aspect of our lives? It is about time that we put our political differences aside and begin to work together as this paper suggests. 


05.03.2011
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo PAHayes (0)
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica
@ alearner:

Alearner,


I agree with your statement concerning politics.  Once the environment became a political issue, the concern was less about a call to action.  One side diminishes the concern while the other side tries to through money at the situation and not offer real solutions.


14.04.2011
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo willie_williams (0)
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica
@ PAHayes:

many people including christains don’t what is happening serously because it has become an political matter, therefore they see it as being all about money the way most politics are.


25.04.2012
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo brucec (0)
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica

How many times do we overlook the fact that we were put here to take care of God’s creation?  We get busy as churches doing this and doing that, but forget what we are here for.  We have to make sure that we not only reach people with the gospel, but that we help take care of their world.  I saw a documentary about a place in Nigeria where oil was contaminating the water supplies and ultimately taking away the people’s livlihood.  Where is the church?  Where are God’s people.  This article serves as a wake-up call for us to take care of this place we call the earth. 

Let is start at home in our churches and communities and then let us do whatever we can to be good stewards of the environment.  Thanks for the paper!


08.12.2011
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo willie_williams (0)
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica
@ brucec:

you are so right, we as Gods people must take care of the earth because the earth is whats substaines us all. I don’t beleive like some people that God will allow us to destroy the earth, be he does want us to not abuse it as well as other people.


25.04.2012
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo PAHayes (0)
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica

I appreciated the statement, "We are believers in a "Creator" and a "Redeemer" God and hence have a great responsibility to act on God’s behalf in our world today."  I have recently heard that many believers feel as if our current environmental state may simply be a part of the process towards the end times.  This excuse is used to not take an active part in rectifying the mess we have created.  Yet we must remember that dominion over the earth is the a God given responsibilty for humanity and not to be taken lightly.


01.04.2011
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo David_Nunes (0)
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica

Jason Schmidt shared a link on pollution. More information about the image is available at: http://gcmd.nasa.gov/records/GCMD_GlobalSatellite-DerivedParticulateMatter2001-06.html

What you need to know is the following:

  • The image represents average fine particulate (PM2.5) from 2001-2006 near the surface
  • It is a hybrid of satellite imagery and model output
  • Satellites have a difficult time measuring PM2.5 especially through clouds, near the ground and over bright surfaces (e.g., sand, snow, etc.)
  • PM2.5 is both man made and natural
  • PM2.5 plays a role in climate change, but it is complicated
  • PM2.5 is mostly a health issue
  • Not all PM2.5 has the same impact on human health
  • There are many other pollutants to consider with discussing climate and health impacts
  • The product is still underdevelopment

From the article: “Wind, for example, lifts large amounts of mineral dust aloft in the Arabian and Saharan deserts. In many heavily urbanized areas, such as eastern China and northern India, power plants and factories that burn coal lack filters and produce a steady stream of sulfate and soot particles. Motor vehicle exhaust also creates significant amounts of nitrates and other particles. Both agricultural burning and diesel engines yield dark sooty particles scientists call black carbon.”

I live in the “yellow” blob on the west coast of the United States. We measure the highest concentrations of PM2.5 in the United States, but for some reason the eastern U.S. looks a lot worse. Either the air agencies on the east coast don’t have monitors in the correct locations or something isn’t right with this image.


24.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo russpierson (0)
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica

This is a formal review of this conversation for a doctoral class at George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Oregon USA. See more at dmingml.com

DMIN517 / Engaging Leadership Concepts / Jason Clark
Russ Pierson

Photo © 2010, All rights reserved by stephendun

Climate Change of Another Kind, Deux:
A Review of “The Challenge Of Environmental Stewardship”
by Las Newman and Ken Gnanakan
#dmingml #capetown2010

Baby, you can drive my car ….[1]

The epigraph here, by the Beatles, works at two levels: first, it suggests the automobile as a symbol of modern society (and which begs the question of our environmental stewardship); and second, one of the authors, Dr. Ken Gnanakan, was an original member of the “Trojans,” often referred to as “the Indian Beatles,” and who were an immensely popular music group in their native India in the 60s. Gnanakan is a Christian writer, educator and environmentalist who leads the ACTS Group of Institutions, which includes schools at every level, up to and including The William Carey University. Writing with Gnanakan is Dr. Las Newman, a Jamaican Anglican who has long been involved with The International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES). These are immensely respected leaders and educators who live and work primarily in third-world countries.

Writing primarily to the first-world nations, Newman and Gnanakan warn:

While the threat is global, sadly the impacts of the crisis are already being felt by some of the world’s poorest communities. And these impacts—floods, drought, crop failure, disease and sea level rise—are escalating at an alarming rate. Importantly, these impacts will be felt most in more than forty Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans; in the UN-recognized group of 50 Least Developed Countries (LDCs), mainly in Africa but also in Asia; and in a number of other highly vulnerable African nations. In contrast to the rest of the world, these disadvantaged one hundred countries have a combined population of nearly one billion people, but produce only 3.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Rich and poor, we must all act together to bring change. There are costs to pay. But the question arises: What about the poorer countries? Do the mega-polluters like Europe and the US expect smaller countries like Bangladesh, Guatemala or Zaire to share these costs equally? The question has surfaced in many debates and the United Nations has played a pivotal role in making climate change an issue for all countries to address. [2]

In short, “the developing nations have not caused this pollution for the past 150 or so years, and thus it would be unfair to ask them to cut back at the same rate for the mistakes of the currently industrialized nations.”[3]

The authors get right to the point. In response to the facts, and as an answer to the question, “what shall we do?” they offer the following propositions:

  1. We should all commit to re-reading the Bible from an environmental perspective….
  2. We should become Stewards of the Environment….
  3. We must make our church, Bible college, seminary, university or any other institution a vehicle for right teaching about the environment and about how to address the environmental crisis….
  4. We must mobilize community awareness, education and action in our immediate communities….
  5. We must advocate alternative energy sources, encourage wise consumption patterns, ensure appropriate public transportation policies, responsible health and tourism industry and take all other steps to make our village, town or city an ideal eco-habitation.…
  6. We must set up or support poverty alleviation projects of all kinds to help decrease the gap between the rich and poor.…
  7. In the task of world evangelization we must let the message of Jesus about how God cares for his creation speak to all about God’s love for the world.  Let us make Jesus to shine amidst the environmental crisis we face today.[4]

These are reasonable men offering simple advice to their brothers and sisters in the faith among the rich nations of the planet. In making their point, they note that the most “… disadvantaged one hundred countries have a combined population of nearly one billion people, but produce only 3.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions.”

Their voices are well worth hearing.

But as I implied in my response to another Lausanne Conference paper, The Science of Global Climate Change, what we apparently need—especially in the West—is a climate change of another kind!

Unfortunate comment after unfortunate comment are offered in response to these papers from Western (or transplanted Western) voices. A sampling:

… pollution is greatest in areas of the world where the Kingdom has the least impact.

 How do you balance the threat of climate change over the next 100 years with the threat of people dying without Christ in the next 10 or 50 years?

James G. Watt, President Ronald Reagan’s first interior secretary, when he famously made this argument before Congress in 1981, saying: "God gave us these things to use. After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back."

The rich nations have nothing to do with poverty of many countries.[5]

With the near wholesale sell-out of the U.S. Evangelical church to the Republican party over the last three decades, we have lost our way. I would like to say we can’t see the forest for the trees, but there aren’t many trees left!

We need to stop using politics as a lens for our interpretation of scripture. As Annie Dillard wisely suggests,[6] when it comes to the environment, our fear of pantheism has turned into pan-atheism. Jesus neither sided with the Herodians colluding with Rome nor with the zealots hell-bent on revolution. He took his positions not from the political schematics of the day, but from the Scripture, and out of His relationship with the Father.

“Right” isn’t always right, and “left” isn’t always wrong. Nor the other way around. Let’s change this climate.

* * *

[1] Paul McCartney and John Lennon, Drive My Car (Los Angeles: Capitol Records (U.S.), 1965).

[2] Las Newman and Ken Gnanakan, "The Challenge of Environmental Stewardship," in The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization (Cape Town, South Africa2010).

[3] Ibid.

[4]John Houghton, "The Science of Global Climate Change. Facing the Issues. What Are the Issues?," in The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization (Cape Town, South Africa2010).

[5] Comments are available for public review at http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/conversations/detail/10656.

[6] Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk : Expeditions and Encounters, 1st ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1982), 87.


24.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo ChrisSmith (2)
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica

I am so glad to read others’ objections to the voices at Cape Town speaking of ’climate change’ as if it were true. Thank you @Doug Nichols for standing up for the truth. It appears to me from this gathering that Christians in different regions of the globe are hearing widely varying information on this topic!

@Jason Schmidt, I particularly appreciate the evidence presented here that pollution is greatest in areas of the world where the Kingdom has the least impact.

We are called to spread Christ’s Kingdom, reconciling the whole world to God through Jesus Christ. Creation awaits its full reconciliation at the Resurrection, but we who await the Resurrection should be stewards of the planet.

@Lex Loizides, for an eschatology which matches up both with careful stewarding of creation and with recognition of Christ as Lord and the only ultimate redeemer of all creation, I heartily recommend Surprised by Hope, by N.T. Wright. It is an amazing revelation of what the Church has lost over the past few centuries on the subject of the Resurrection to come.


19.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo Christine_Tennant (3)  
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica

I am so grateful this issue is being addressed at Lausanne. I am so grateful for the growing number of Christians who are expressing serious concern and humility when it comes to the environment.

When I was in college at a conservative Christian college in 1993, I was chastised for my environmentalism. I saw my concern for the environment then as I do now: related to good stewardship and a humble gratitude for the earth and all that is in it.

 I so appreciate the admonition in this paper to “re-read the Bible from an environmental perspective.” Of course, when we do, we will suddenly realize that we must make some major changes in our lives – and, an even greater challenge – in our churches.

A small example: my home church in the U.S. goes through an alarming amount of disposable goods, be it styrofoam cups and plates, paper, or plastic utensils. Attempts I have made to curb such usage and encourage reusables have been met with everything from stark opposition to a half-hearted endorsement that failed to be implemented.

When I was in Africa in 2005, the churches I visited used reusable plates and cups. Each person was trained to wash his or her plate and cup for the next time. This practice is by necessity, of course; they cannot afford to buy so many paper and plastic goods. But we who can afford the convenience of disposables, do, and generate much waste in the meantime.

This is just a small example, of course. But it is indicative of how many people in the church view environmentalism. Either they villify environmentalism as a secular worldview, denying the return of Christ, or they say, “It’s fine, as long as it’s not inconvenient. But if it requires an extra step on my part, count me out!” This breaks my heart, because I see it not as simply bad for the environment, but, more importantly, a sign of poor stewardship of God’s good gifts. I see it as a lack of respect for God.

I really appreciate the point of view presented in this paper and look forward to more conversations about this topic at Lausanne.


15.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 1 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo RyanHannah (1)   
Malawi

A reflection on your paper ...

American Evangelicals and the Environment

Some of the most influential formative years of my life were spent living at a conference center in southern New Jersey.  The property was huge with lots of woods and three fresh water lakes.  I spent countless hours running through the woods, making forts, fishing in the lakes and camping.  That love of the outdoors has stuck with me.  There are few things I love more than hiking a mountain or running a good trail.  I love being outdoors. 

So, how do I feel about the environment?  Until a few years ago, I’d say I was indifferent.   At some point, I don’t remember when, I was confronted with the inconsistency of loving the outdoors and being apathetic about the environment.  There was need for some self reflection and an understanding of what was impacting my thinking.  I came to the conclusion that I was indifferent for two reasons, one theological and one ideological. 

Theologically, evangelicals understand that one day Christ will return.  An allegorical reading of the book of Revelation understands that his return will be preceded and accompanied by disaster.  A new heaven and earth will be created.  With this understanding, it is not too far a stretch to arrive at indifference about the environment.  “If it is all going to be destroyed anyway, why should we worry too deeply?”  This thinking is well encapsulated by James G. Watt, President Ronald Reagan’s first interior secretary, when he famously made this argument before Congress in 1981, saying: "God gave us these things to use. After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back."  (see http://bit.ly/9heHK5)

Ideologically, those who have traditionally pushed a strong environmental agenda have often been politically liberal and disagree with evangelicals on a host of issues.  Environmentalism has been on the opposite political/ideological stage as most American evangelical and has become guilty by association.  Many American evangelicals would align themselves with the Republican party and believe issues related to the environment and global warming are politically motivated. 

After some reflection, I decided that these were not sufficient reasons to carry on in indifference to the world that God created.  While I believe that Christ will return, I also believe that man was made a steward of the earth and we have a biblical obligation to take care of it.  Am I worried that many who care about the environment differ significantly with me on other issues I care deeply about.  No, they have their reasons to care about the environment and I have mine.  


10.08.2010
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo Gottfried_Muller (4)  
Alemania
@ RyanHannah:

Thank you, Ryan!


24.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo LeeAnne (0)  
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica
@ RyanHannah:

You bring up the elephant in the room. A common evangelical viewpoint that I have observed that effects the environmental stance of some is that the state of the earth should be expected to move toward crisis as the Day of the Lord nears. I think this view needs to be acknowledged and Biblically addressed.


09.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo Lex_L (6)  
Sudáfrica

May I recommend an excellent paper here from the Newfrontiers family of churches?

This is called ’Towards a Christian approach to the environment’ and is by Martin Charlesworth.

http://www.newfrontierstogether.org/Groups/134550/Newfrontiers/Resources/Articles_and_Papers/Theological_Papers/Towards_a_Christian_Approach/Towards_a_Christian_Approach.aspx


08.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo JasonSchmidt (0)
Bangladesh

In your paper, you call Europe and the US “mega-polluters.” You also approvingly site the Kyoto Protocol where it was “argued that the developing nations have not caused this pollution for the past 150 or so years.” The facts contradict your claims.

Satelite imagery from NASA (http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/483897main_Global-PM2.5-map.JPG) shows the areas of the globe with the worst pollution. Interestingly, the worst polluted areas roughly conform to the countries in the 10/40 window. Although the phrase “10/40 window” has largely fallen out of favor with missiologists, this area has been known as the least evangelized places in the world.

One of the authors, Ken Gnanakan
 gives Bangalore, India as his location. Having spent time in India, then, surely you realize that these accusations do not conform to the facts. The environmental squalor that characterizes the countries of South Asia cannot be blamed on foreign countries.

You cast Bangladesh, along with countries like Guatemala and Zaire, in the role of victim, as if these countries suffer from the sins of wealthy nations. Sirs, this is not true. Europe and the US, which have strict laws for auto emissions, Bangladesh does not, and whatever laws they do have are not enforced. Instead, most vehicles here billow noxious fumes. Thousands of coal-burning brick factories belch black smoke into the air daily. The air is so bad in Dhaka, the capital, the Lonely Planet guide describes the air as “chewable.” Dhaka ranks as the second “least inhabitable” city in the world, according to The Economist magazine.

Public dust bins are not used or non-existent in Bangladesh. Whenever I’ve gone out of my way to put litter in a wastebasket, Bengalis laugh at me because they throw trash wherever they are. They urinate in public. They overfish their own waters. They pillage their own forests. They ignore fertilizer safety precautions. The damage to their environment comes predominately at their own hands.

By repeating pop media’s demonization of rich nations and victimization of poor nations, you perpetuate the problems. For example, Bangladesh is already on the receiving end of thousands of dollars of aid—aid that comes from the very countries you blame for their problems. Dependency has proven profitable and as a result, they have little motivation to change their circumstances. I’m not defending the irresponsible practices of rich nations, but their sins do not absolve poor countries of their culpability or responsibility. 


06.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo Standhope_Williams (0)
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica

In their paper, Newman and Gnanakan asks the very pertinent question: What shall we do? The seven areas of possible action which they identify to address the global environmental crisis, represents a clarion call to all peoples of the christian faith. It is a call which echoes the command given to us by our Creator in Gen.1:26 to take good care of His Creation.

I was born and grew up in a low-lying coastal country on the South American Continent. By nature of its Geography, it has been designated a SIDS Country by the UN. This country has experienced the devastating effects of El Nino and La Nina. With increased intensity and frequency, these two climatic phenomena has adversely affected local and global productivity over the last decade. Many Environmentalists has attributted this to Climate Change. As a result, many small and poor  nations continue to be overwhelmed by the twin effects of Climate Change and Globalization.

Eversince the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, when over 100 world leaders met to examine the global environmental problems, I wondered what was the church’s input. Perhaps it is time for the true ’Stewards of God’s Creation’ to mobilise at their own ’Earth Summit’and to emerge with a truely Biblical response based on an Environmental Impact Study which calls the church universal  to act.   


06.10.2010
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Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo David_Benson (2)  
Australia

Thanks Las and Ken ... such a crucial issue for Christians to consider today.  As others have acknowledged, we must be careful in recognizing both the continuity and discontinuity with secular and pantheistic concerns to address climate change.  Rhetoric and ideology that our present human efforts are “the last chance to save the climate" encourage a kind of fear and humanism that isn’t fitting for followers of Christ who has stepped into this world and taken on flesh.  He has begun to renew the world--of which we are now called to be a sign--and will one day set all things right.

Of course, this is no justification for sloth.  But it is a call to carefully and faithfully evaluate both the secular ideology behind much of contemporary environmentalism, and the confident scientific pronouncements often build upon methodological atheism.


27.09.2010
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Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo RagamuffinRese (3)  
Estados Unidos de Norteamérica
@ David_Benson:

I really appreciate your balanced review.  I agree with a call to responsible stewardship and any means to bring the redemptive power of the resurrection life of Christ to address these issues. 


However, so much of what is being touted as solutions are, in the final analysis, bids for the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few.  This will not serve any good purpose for anyone.


Many in this green movement have labeled humans as parasites (the disturbed man who resorted to violence at the Discovery Channel HQ was one) hardly in agreement with scripture’s view of humanity as God’s image-bearers.


Creation groans for the revelation of God’s children according to Paul. The present situation is part of that groaning. I journaled in the 1980’s while living in the Western USA about the signs of this world marching toward the apocalypse - the tumbling and cracking of mountains and towering trees on hikes provoked these thoughts.


This is an issue that can either clarify our relationship to creation or an unhealthy syncretism of pantheism and faith will emerge with detrimental consequences for all.


04.10.2010
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Responder Señalizar 1 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo Lex_L (6)  
Sudáfrica

Hi Las and Ken,

Thanks for putting the paper together. I probably am a little behind in terms of the biblical thinking that has taken place around this issue and therefore had an expectation of a specifically Christian approach to this important issue.

I perfectly understand the impulse for a call to action in your paper - but I, and probably many others, would also like to hear more from Scripture.

How about filling in some of the questions about eschatology, about ’earth passing away’ and there being a new heavens and a new earth? What are your views on such verses in Scripture? How can we harmonise those verses with the attempt to maintain this earth?

I think there are lots of people who would be helped by such questions being answered. We mustn’t assume that there is already theological consensus.

’What shall we do?’

Some of the statements in your paper need explanation and expansion in terms of how you connect them with current environmental concerns. For example, ’the prophets of the Old Testament spoke about the need to renew the land’ and tell us ’the ways in which this should be done.’ Your reference isn’t to the law here but to the prophets.

’We...read how Jesus and the apostles approached the issues of the environment in the New Testament.’ That is an intriguing statement that needs to be supported and enlarged and defended. Give us examples.

At this stage, you don’t tell us - but what you have served us with are exhortations: become stewards of the environment, ’take whatever action is needed’, make our church a vehicle for ’right teaching’ (again, as yet, no definition), mobilise community awareness, advocate alternative energy sources etc.

All these things may well be correct, commendable and necessary - but in a specifically Christian context I would suggest that you instruct us with a Scripturally sound eschatalogical approach to the environment issue - and equip us to deal with non-believers who may be sceptical about the church’s concern with this present age.

So perhaps there is more work to be done on this one before we get to the congress itself but I look forward to hearing you guys on this.

Thanks again for your continuing hard work on this topic.

Lex


22.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo Lex_L (6)  
Sudáfrica
@ Lex_L:

Here’s a helpful response (via my facebook page) from Steve Bussey (Salvation Army, New York):


Hi Lex,

Good questions.

You might want to check out the book "Redeeming Creation" (forward’s by Jame Sire). This provides a good biblical basis for the debate on stewardship.
...
http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=1872

While we might be waiting for a new heaven and new earth, as all creation is groaning and longing for the day of redemption, shouldn’t we continue to fulfill the original job description of stewardship first given to Adam in the garden?

Why do this when a new earth is part of the eschatalogical fulfillment that comes with the return of Christ? I wonder whether this might be for the same reason why we pray for the sick (in spite of us awaiting new bodies)? just a thought...

Finally, on Monday, the Railton crew was in the city attending the Micah Challenge meetings in which the Church is seeking to respond to the UN’s commitment to the Millennium Development goals. One of those commitments is to stewardship of the earth.

At the meeting, an Anglican Bishop from southern Malawi spoke on some of these issues. He said for example that Oceania is disappearing as the islands sink because of preventable environmental issues. As a result of this, thousands of people could potentially lose their homes. As a result, individuals are seriously effected by our choices related to environmental mismanagement. This results in displacement, increased poverty, xenophobia, etc. As a result, environmental issues are also fundamentally human issues...

Just a few thoughts. I think it’s a critical topic for us as believers, but would agree that our motivation for these responses need to not simply reflect the rhetoric of the secular environmental movements, but needs to be based on sound biblical doctrine - a well taken point!


23.09.2010
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Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo Moloki_Motaung (1)  
Lesoto

The harmony between God, man and the environment is shown in the creation story in the book of Genesis. God commanded man to multiply and to tender the land. Among some environmentalists, the creation story is the basis for ecocentricism. Under this mode of thinking, man acknowledges his dependency on the environment, he recognizes that by taking care of the environment he is effectively investing for his own survival. The antithesis of designing with nature is the technocentric view which is manipulative and regards environmental resources as neutral stuff to be exploited. The author of this paper brings a very interesting challenge of a holistic and balanced biblical teaching that touches on all aspects pertaining to humankind. There are many real world issues that people face daily that have not received appropriate treatment from church pulpits and theological seminars. Our environment is such issue.

Secular movements have made noticeable and often positive impacts on some real world issues based on strong humanitarian convictions. There are number of activities today, that are anti-God i.e. clearly destructive to what God has designed such as the balance of nature. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ we should be in the forefront in educating the world on how to sustainably manage the resources entrusted to us. It is a shame that in general, the real stewards of the earth are simply following behind popular activists who have their own agendas. The Christian church needs to re-examine its role in standing for complete justice for man and the environment. The least developed countries whose contribution to the total emission of the “Greenhouse Gases” is insignificant must adapt to the effects of climate change. These countries are not in a position to adapt without the support from developed countries that are culprits of global climate change. The church should intervene so that as world citizens we should take responsibility of our actions. 


19.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo JudithJ (2)  
Jamaica

I would like to invite us to begin the conversation on the environment using research and other existing material (eg. UNDP Millennium Development Goal #7 & IFES Symposium consensus paper on Faith and the Environment) as the foundation or platform for our discussions on this topic so we may advance the discussion beyond what exists.  We could therefore more quickly come to consensus and provide some answers for the way forward. 


17.09.2010
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Responder Señalizar 0 Pulgares arriba Pulgares abajo Shannon_L (0)  
Canadá

This is an important topic for Christians to walk through.  Stewardship is a lot more then just money.  We are caretakers of God’s creation that we see around us and to ourselves. 

I like the idea of reading scripture with an environmental eye.  I think we would see some things in a new light, that would inspire us and change the way we consume.

I think consumption is the biggest problem.  Not just in food, but resources.  It’s hard to retrain ourselves that enjoying what we have should be taken in small amounts rather then over indulgence.


17.09.2010
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