Tag: Ecological Justice

The link between the resistance to facing climate change today and the arguments for slavery in the 19th century

Today I participated in a Diocese of London study day which was very good. I will blog about Rowan Williams address later as it has really challenged me, and spoken right into some of the things we have been discussing in Moot.

One of the sessions I went to today, was to listen to a leader of AROCHA the Christian Ecological justice organisation.  In that talk, they talked of the work of Jean-Francois Mouhot.  This study makes the connection of the historic arguments that American Evangelical Christians made – both theological and economic arguments – about justifying and keeping slavery.  I cannot believe I have never thought of this before.  It is so true.  Always we can’t do it because X country won’t do it, and arguments that our capitalist economic system could not cope with it, and a refusal to see the biblical evidence of the call to stewardship.   As the Clapham Sect and William Wilberforce had to sustain a continued battle in the country and parliament – so we need to sustain a consistent approach to this issue as we face major biocide and climate change in our current times.

To listen to a podcast of the work of Jean-Francois Mouhot, click here.  I will upload a link here to the talk in London later on.  It is extremely scary when you think about the link between this form of American Evangelicalism and its unthinking and unquestioning allegiance to capitalist economics which has very little to do with the bible or the basis of Christianity. Just think for a minute about the Evangelical Christian campaign that thinks it wrong to offer health insurance to the poor.  The London Seminar also argued that one of the main reasons why dualism was such a problem in modernity, was because it had to make a separation between humanity and natural justice and the planet to justify slavery in the first place.  So we have struggled with dualism from the enlightenment onwards, because of the need to justify slavery which as many of you already know, was the device that enabled a surplus to be made through oppression, which was the beginning of global trade and capitalism as we know it.

So it is with then the theological issues and economic arguments today.  Even more reason that we promote deeply biblical theological arguments for facing climate change, as well as committing to raise our voices and votes in the political system.

POSTED 20.09.12 BY: ianmobsby | Comments (2)

Justice Officer for the Moot Community at St Mary Aldermary

The Standing Group of St Mary Aldermary have agreed to the need for a new voluntary co-opted position onto the Guild Council, to help us shape up our activities around economic, social and ecological justice.  This role will include the practical advice about assisting the community to reduce our carbon footprint, recycling and fairtrade at St Mary Aldermary.  The role will also promote justice as a part of our New Monastic Rhythm of Life and an important element of the spiritual practices.

We have drafted a role description to be discussed at the Community Council this Sunday.  Please see below.


POSTED 23.06.11 BY: ianmobsby | Comments Off on Justice Officer for the Moot Community at St Mary Aldermary

In Denial of facing Climate Change?

I recently watched the horizon programme about what many in contemporary society distrust about science and scientists.  You can watch it here. What fascinated me about the whole programme, were the issues of what is real, cause and effect, and the inability of many of us face reality.  I was left again feeling that much of contemporary culture infantilises us, or somehow creates the conditions for an inability to take responsibility for our actions in and for our world.   I was left fascinated by the fact that we distrust the need for consenus, or for working things out together, and instead shrink to a totally individualistic and paranoid avoidance of facing things.  This connected to much of Adbusters current thinking, that we have shrunk to an obsession with ourselves, and a form of psycho-geography through technology such as face book and farmville as an escape.

When I studied to be an Occupational Therapist, we studied psychology, and the work of a number of key thinkers such as Freud, Jung and Erikson, and their work around our reluctance to face things that cause us pain or the need to change, with what they called maladaptive coping strategies.  Listening to the people on the TV programme reminded me of the use of denial, reaction formation and a host of other strategies designed to help us cope, but importantly here have costly consequences on mental health and the actual ability to perceive and respond to reality.

I was left concerned from the TV programme, that our individualism, psychological adolescence, paranoia and denial are a lethal cocktail that prevent us from facing up to what we have done to the world, and then making the change to live another way for the sake of our own health as a species and the planet. Are we humans locked into a cycle of our won collective madness?  FOr me this relates strongly to the call of liberation of the Gospel – to face our own brokenness and selfishness – Sin, to then face the need for forgiveness, and then the strength to face the consequences of that sin through action of repentance and making things right.

So I was left interested here between the challenge to Science to speak clearly and without manipulation, and the Christian call for us to face the way we are destroying our planet through over population and over exploitation of the worlds natural resources and over pollution, to then be able to put things right relationally, spiritually and environmentally

POSTED 27.02.11 BY: ianmobsby | Comments (2)

Save Our Woods Campaign – ecological justice

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has joined celebrities including the actors Dame Judi Dench and Richard Briers, and the authors Bill Bryson and Joanna Trollope, to fight plans by the Government to sell off publicly owned woodlands. Proposals in the Public Bodies Bill would allow the country’s most ancient woodlands to be sold to private companies and other organisations. Dr Williams and the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Michael Perham, were among 95 signatories to a letter to The Sunday Telegraph this week, which described the plans as “unconscionable” and “ill-conceived”. “Only 18 per cent of English woodland remains under state protection,” they wrote.

“It is our national heritage; we are an island nation, yet more people escape to the forest than to the seaside. Our forests nurture countless species of native plants and wildlife. We have relied on them since time immemorial, yet we are only a heartbeat in their history.” Yesterday, the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs issued a consultation document, which included the proposal that “heritage forests”, such as the New Forest and the Forest of Dean, be transferred to charitable trusts and “not simply sold off to the highest bidder”.

The document proposes that “commercially valuable forests . . . be leased to commercial operators”. It claims that “leasing rather than selling will allow the lease conditions to ensure that the public benefits of these woodlands are preserved”.  Speaking on Radio 4 yesterday, the former chairman of the Forestry Commission, Lord Clark, said that the consultation was “bereft of ideas” and a “confidence trick”.

This recent action just shows the arrogance and class-centred approach of this Government, selling off Forest to the privileged.  Where have I heard that before?

Save Our Woods and 38 Degrees have set up a petition which I strongly suggest you join in.  Moot always has had a focus on ecological justice.  To see info on the Save Our Woods Campaign click here, to sign the growing 38 Degrees Petition sign here.  The more we get involved in these sort of campaigns, the greater the views of the electorate are represented in these appalling bad decisions.

More than 236,000 people have so far signed a petition against the nationwide sell-off, and in a survey last week, 75 per cent of those questioned were opposed to it.

POSTED 28.01.11 BY: ianmobsby | Comments (1)

The threat of renewed international whaling

A massive new threat against whales has recently surfaced that would wipe out the international ban on commercial whaling.

A ‘behind closed doors’ proposal between Japan, Germany, the United States and other governments would legitimize the cruel commercial slaughter of our ocean’s great whales for the first time since 1986 — undermining decades of hard-won protections for whales.

A number of animal welfare organisations are organising a petition – sign it here

POSTED 05.05.10 BY: ianmobsby | Comments Off on The threat of renewed international whaling

The Outrage of Japanese politics and CITES – The fate of the blue fin tuna

Last week the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), met concerning issues around the possible extinction of the blue fin tuna, sharks, corals and the resumption of whaling. For months the Japanese Government has been lobbying hard in African and other countries offering trade and development funds in exchange for voting NO to a ban on fishing the blue fin tuna and other endangered species – which now face extinction and where whale species are again being threatened.

Not a single marine species got any protection despite being depleted to 20% or even 10% of their natural abundance.

It is amazing that there has been so little outrage about this. It amazes me how greed blinds people and countries. Stewardship of the world as an economic and spiritual discipline is needed now more than ever. Only 40 of the approximately 150 countries in Doha backed the move. “It is very much up in the air. There’s a lot of jockeying,” said Patrick Van Klaveren of Monaco, which is leading the charge for a ban. “Japan’s lobbying is formidable. Three or four people from the Japanese delegation are constantly criss-crossing the Convention, arranging meetings.” On Sunday, Japanese delegates met with some African nations, said a negotiator from west Africa. “We are used to it. They do the same thing before each meeting of the International Whaling Commission,” the body that oversees global whale populations, he said. Van Klaveren said that Tokyo was also targeting developing countries, “scaring them about what could happen to their (own tuna) stocks, along the lines of ‘your turn will come’.”  For more information on this, do see the Greenpeace update.

POSTED 27.03.10 BY: ianmobsby | Comments (1)

Easyjet, the crisis and the animal kin(g)dom

Maybe it was that steward’s piggy nose. Maybe it was those passengers behaving like headless chickens just “to get that window seat”. But going on a plane had never quite felt like such a flying circus before.

Since I was not travelling for work and therefore not trying to get as many bonus miles as possible, I chose to fly Easyjet. While some were on a journey to the shopping mall, I was on a spiritual one. Some were looking for sales; I was looking for salvation. But because religion is increasingly pick-and-choose, this probably amounts to the very same thing: we hope to find something better somewhere else, something that fits us better, whether it’s clothing or religion.

What we already have is simply not enough.

But thanks to low-cost airlines, that can be remediated to now. Shopping in London was not good enough? Easyjet flies to Milano too. You did not find what you were looking for spiritually? Easyjet has just started flying to Israel.

We have become like migratory birds, not able to stay in a place when it gets dark and cold.

At a time when national airlines are near bankruptcy, low-cost ones have hardly been affected: this year, Ryanair reported a substantial increase in profits and while Easyjet suffered losses, these were only due to high fuel costs. As a matter of fact, the total number of passengers has even slightly increased over the past 12 months.

But with low-to-middle income families staying at home and firms having to cut down on their travelling expenses, it was not the usual whale I was sitting next to. This time, it was a fishy business man.

POSTED 26.11.09 BY: paulabbott | Comments (1)

Wild Wednesday: Martin Newell joins us to discuss radical discipleship and political action

I am pleased to say that Martin Newell of the Catholic Worker community and the Trident Ploughshares, who we interviewed for the podcast last week, is coming to chat through the implications of this form of radical discipleship on Weds 4th Nov, London Centre for Spirituality Bookshop 7.45pm. For more info on Martin, see the blogpost below.

POSTED 30.10.09 BY: paulabbott | Comments Off on Wild Wednesday: Martin Newell joins us to discuss radical discipleship and political action

Podcast interview with a Christian activist

In this month’s podcast, Ian Mobsby interviews Martin Sewell, who is an ordained member of the Catholic Worker Movement, and a political activist. Martin talks about his sense of vocation, identifying with a monastic rhythm of life, where going to prison can be seen as an extended version of a monastery cell. Martin talks with passion about the cost of this form of discipleship, particularly around the area of just resistance, and shares his hopes for what might be. To listen to the podcast, click here

POSTED 22.10.09 BY: paulabbott | Comments (1)

Monbiot on Population growth

I’ve just come across a great article by George Monbiot on the subject population growth.

Published in the Guardian, he shows how climate change has nothing to do with population growth, but is in fact related to consumption and wealth of and by the rich.

You can read the full article, but consider this quote:

“People breed less as they become richer, but they don’t consume less; they consume more. As the habits of the super-rich show, there are no limits to human extravagance. Consumption can be expected to rise with economic growth until the biosphere hits the buffers. Anyone who understands this and still considers that population, not consumption, is the big issue is, in Lovelock’s words, “hiding from the truth”. It is the worst kind of paternalism, blaming the poor for the excesses of the rich.

So where are the movements protesting about the stinking rich destroying our living systems? Where is the direct action against superyachts and private jets? Where’s Class War when you need it?

It’s time we had the guts to name the problem. It’s not sex; it’s money. It’s not the poor; it’s the rich.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Read the full article in full.

POSTED 29.09.09 BY: paulabbott | Comments (3)