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Erik is a public policy professional and owner of the online training course in democracy and civic action: www.3ptraining.com.au The Blog …explores ways to create a sustainable and just community. Explores how that community can be best protected at all levels including social policy/economics/ military. The Book Erik’s autobiography is a humorous read about serious things. It concerns living in the bush, wilderness, home education, spirituality, and activism. Finding Home is available from Amazon, Barnes&Noble and all good e-book sellers.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Saints and Sustainability

Shortly before Christmas I gave a public lecture at the Cathedral on environmental values, deep ecology, creation care and sustainability. The talk considers where the notion of inherent or intrinsic value comes from, how it has played out in Western Civilisation, and where we are positioned currently.

The lecture is too long to repeat the whole text but the text, video and audio can be found here:


Click on the link or paste into your web browser.

Following is some introductory text from the talk, and some key Bible passages for reference.


I am a Christian environmentalist, and until recently a Green voter. While I am now in the season of family life I was at the pointy end of the environmental struggle in Tasmania for much of the 1990’s.  It was such a strange experience that I wrote a book about that and other things.  It’s called Finding Home.  It looks like this, and you can purchase a copy through Fullers, the Hobart Bookshop, Amazon, or Barnes&Noble.

What made the experience strange was that I lived in two camps, one evangelical and one environmentalist. 

I found most Christians, at least the evangelicals I encountered, were hostile to the environmental movement.  It was seen as a distraction from saving souls at best and idolatry and nature worship at worst.  Civil disobedience was frowned upon or seen as rebellion and therefore sinful - a sign perhaps of being socially maladjusted.

For their part many if not most environmentalists were hostile to Christianity – certainly the evangelical brand that I came from.  In short, Christianity was blamed for modernity which was seen as the cause of our over exploitation of the earth.  More importantly perhaps, Christianity was blamed for a set of values that places man at the centre and ascribes value to nature only to the extent that it can be exploited for human use.  In other words, Christianity denies any intrinsic value in nature.  This, it is claimed, has led to unrestrained exploitation of the natural world and the current ecological crisis.

Now I could cite a bunch of proof texts to argue for a Biblical environmental ethic, but I am going to take that as a given.  I want to examine the above critiques from the point of view of where value comes from, and look at how the notion of inherent value has and continues to change the world…..

Some Bible Passages:

Genesis chapters 1 and 2 – God declares all creation as good before humans come on the scene.

Genesis chapter 9 verses 9-17 – Post flood God makes a covenant with all creation.

Job – There are numerous passages in which God boasts about creation

Exodus chapter 23 verses 10-12 – Gleanings were left for the poor and for the wild animals. Every seventh year the land was to lie fallow, and all beasts of burden must rest on the seventh day of the week.

Leviticus chapter 25 verses 4-7 – repeats the command to leave the land fallow every seventh year. “You may eat what the land yields during its Sabbath…for your livestock also, and for the wild animals in your land all its yield shall be for food.”

Romans chapter 1 verse 20 – “Ever since the creation of the world His eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made…”

Revelation chapter 11 verse 18 – “The nations raged but your wrath has come, and the time for judging the dead, for rewarding your servants, the prophets and the saints and all who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”


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