I recently wrote three articles for a most interesting project by the Open University (OU) in collaboration with the British Council called 'Belief in Dialogue'. To give some idea what they're on (they're due to be published next month, God willing):
Sustainability: what's faith got to do with it?
The challenge of climate change often grabs the headlines, but is only part of sustainability matters. Other issues such as loss of biodiversity, mass extinction, pollution, depletion of carbon-based energy sources (e.g. oil, gas; sometimes referred to as 'peak oil'), pressure on potable water supplies and mounting food insecurity are also important. Some say faith has nothing to do with sustainability; some say they can sometimes be competing forces; some say that if sustainability is to be achieved, faith should stay away; some say faiths are at the heart of sustainability. Who's right? Can the different opinions all be somewhat true? This article discusses sustainability and what role faith would have in it.
Faith and community responses to global poverty
Some say global poverty is decreasing. The UN's Millennium Development Goals 2011 report expects that by 2015, the global poverty rate will fall below 15%. Others say overemphasis on daily income (e.g. number of people living on less than one dollar a day) is quite a narrow means of measurement of poverty and thus poverty is not really decreasing. At the turn of the twenty-first century, the richest 5% of people receive one-third of total global income, as much as the poorest 80%. This seems most unjust.
Climate change, faith and the global common good
Some say the best way to achieve the global common good is a free market; some say a free market in practice rarely gives a level playing field. Climate scientists agree climate change is happening and increasingly certain the human factor is exacerbating matters. What might be a response from faiths? What impacts does this have on the global common good? At heart climate change is a global problem. However, the directly and worst affected people are mainly those who contributed least to the problem. Through no fault of their own, entire civilisations in low lying areas of the world could soon be lost to the ocean due to rising sea levels. This makes it a moral question for us all, where the moral duty to resolve these issues falls squarely on the world’s largest emitters.