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Aug 14, 2011
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.

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Posted: Aug 14, 2011 9:30am
Feb 26, 2011

Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will
worry about itself” (Matthew 6:34). These words of Jesus do not release us from our responsibilities to future generations. We know that if we eat sour grapes (radiation, ultraviolet rays, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, etc.), not only our teeth but also "the children’s teeth are set on edge" (Jeremiah 31:30). Therefore, we should have as much awareness as possible of our responsibilities. We are no longer allowed to postpone performing our responsibilities to “tomorrow.”

For a copy of the full talk, go to the Muslim World League speech by Encounter between Ecology and Eschatology, a consideration of Ecological Eschatology, submitted by Katsuhiro KOHARA, Professor of the School of Theology, Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Study of Monotheistic Religions (CISMOR), to Conference On 'Dialogue, A Common Human Bond', sponsored by Muslim World League, Taipei - Taiwan, Rabi'I 18 and 19, 1432H/ February 21 and 22, 2011G.

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Posted: Feb 26, 2011 2:34am
Feb 24, 2011

Sometimes 'non-greenies' think that 'us greenies' want to 'deprive' people of the 'good things' and live in a cave... but that's *not* what it's about as this new report by the UN international Labour Organisation (ILO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP):

Green Economy Report
Green Economy Synthesis Report

Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradicationremind us that "investing in a green economy can produce growth, create jobs and contribute to development and poverty reduction." - good news all around!
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Posted: Feb 24, 2011 12:40pm
Feb 24, 2011

Sometimes dicussions about climate change can sound so abstract, or distant. A powerful reminder that it's actually (already) affecting real people in very real ways, it's good (well, it's bad, but good to know IYKWIM) to visit this site from time to time:

Worldview of Climate Change

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Posted: Feb 24, 2011 10:24am
Jan 23, 2011
Hadn't expected this (I mean, not surprised at Beddington, as he's said it before), but the Guardian dedicating a whole article to cheerleading GM: I am referring to 'Genetically modified crops are the key to human survival, says UK's chief scientist'

The whole article focuses on Sir John Beddington's opinion - cheerleading GM - with only one (inaccurate/ incomplete) sentence to 'balance' it ("Such remarks will enrage many environmental groups, who believe it is wrong for the west to impose a technology it has developed on the third world."); this *endless* pushing of GM does not only enrage "environmental groups", but farmers, anti-debt groups, religious groups, poverty alleviation agencies and many, many more. Also, the objection is not that the "third world" shouldn't benefit from a 'western technology' (how silly would that be - technology transfer - under just conditions! - is actually something that these groups actively advocate for!), but because (amongst others):

- The potential abuse of power that this technology and gene patent laws give the breeding companies (the crops are purposefully made sterile), thus making farmers subservient/ at the mercy of GM companies
- It has been proven that it does *not* systematically increase yields (as promised by GM)
- The 'benefit' of being able to use more pesticides mainly serves to increase profit of GM-linked pesticide sellers and pollute fields and rivers plus poison farmers, *not* benefit food output
- It is *not* a solution for the emotive 'world hunger' (as a humanitarian aid worker I know that many die of hunger surrounded by food... because they can't afford to buy it, because 'globalisation/ free trade' make it difficult for farmers to compete with cheap imports; because people lack access to simple solutions to store excess food; because farmers and local traders face trade barriers to export; because land is leased to rich foreigners...)
- Funding for biotechnology reduces the money that is available for researching other technologies that would probably be more beneficial, cheaper and more sustainable (if probably less profitable for shareholders).
- GM is not safe (several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system)
- If Beddington doesn't want 'environmentalists' from stopping GM, then Beddington should also listen to his intended 'beneficiaries' of the technology: e.g. the 'global south' do *not* want it

I could go on forever, but will leave it at this. I could provide several reputable sources for all (and more) arguments above if you wish. I'll mention just one: The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) is a major World Bank and UN funded study that has been endorsed by 58 governments, including the UK. Its findings are that small-scale sustainable agriculture (using local variaties) is the way forward if we are going to provide food for the Earth's growing population in a time of climate chaos and is dismissive of GM for some of the above mentioned reasons.

I hope in the future The Guardian (and all) will provide more balanced reporting!

I wrote a variety on the above in an e-mail to the Guardian Environment Editor.

Lots of other relevant research and info on Political CleanUp.
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Posted: Jan 23, 2011 6:33am
Nov 6, 2010

Some time ago I exchanged some messages with Arwa on Islam and vegetarianism, some of which ended on her website. Finally managed to put up my 2p response on the website, copied hereunder:

Re: "I see the problems of stating that Islam promotes vegetarianism as it simply does not" - I agree the Quran doesn't state 'thou shalt be an exclusive vegetarian'; however, there are at least 4 verses in the Quran which positively encourage the non-animal food blessings...:

6:99 - "(God) is the One Who sent water down from the sky. Therewith We brought forth plants of all kinds and from them the verdure and We brought forth from it the clustered grains, and from the palm-tree its spathes with bunches of dates (hanging) low, the gardens of grapes, olives and pomegranates similar and different. Look at their fruit, when they bear it, and their ripening. Verily, in that there are signs for people who believe."
16:10-11 - "(God) is the One Who sends water down from the sky. For you this is a drink and out of it (grow) shrubs in which you let (cattle) graze freely. Therewith for you He makes sown fields, olives, palm-trees, vineyards and all kinds of fruit grow." [the cattle here could be ploughing animals]
50:9-11 - "We caused to grow gardens, grains for harvest, tall palm-trees with their spathes, piled one above the other-sustenance for (Our) servants."
6:141 - "It is He Who produces gardens, with trellises and without, and dates, and tilth with produce of all kinds, and olives and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and different (in variety): eat of their fruit in their season, but render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered. But waste not by excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters."

... and none that encourage meat ... just that certain animals are definitely haram/ forbidden and that if you want to eat those which are not haram, then kill it properly, e.g....:

6:142 - "Of the cattle are some for burden and some for meat: eat what Allah hath provided for you, and follow not the footsteps of Satan: for he is to you and avowed enemy." - Satan mentioned in same sentence as meat eating... so eating too much of it can be easily done, and things like factory farming (where vast majority of meat nowadays available in many countries now comes from!) should be a definite no-no!
22:36 - "The sacrificial camels we have made for you as among the symbols from Allah: in them is (much) good for you: then pronounce the name of Allah over them as they line up (for sacrifice): when they are down on their sides (after slaughter), eat thereof, and feed such as (beg not but) live in contentment, and such as beg with due humility: thus have We made animals subject to you, that you may be grateful. "

My 2p. In peace, Rianne

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Posted: Nov 6, 2010 1:28pm
Jan 1, 2005

I wish all a happy, healthy, peaceful and sustainable 2011.

I like this quote as a resolution for 2011:

"The more our world functions like the natural world, the more likely we are to endure on this home that is ours, but not ours alone."
~ Janine Benyus

In peace, Rianne

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Posted: Jan 1, 2005 8:38am

 

 
 
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Author

Rianne ten Veen
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Solihull, United Kingdom
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Feb
1
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Message to the President, and to the Congress:It's very simple. We can aim for a UNIVERSAL Standard of $15 an hour Minimum Wage for ALL - that would be {frugally} a living wage these days. One should not have to be employed, and on government assistan...
Jan
28
(2 comments  |  discussions )
    & nbsp;   &n bsp; Leonard Peltier ( LPDOC ) :     & nbsp;   &n bsp;   Remembering Pete Seeger     & nbsp;   &n bsp;   ...
Jan
26
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This is my Message that I send every week or so, to the President, my Representative, and my two Senators. {And in this instance, to the Vice President also.} The Majority of the people of this country, approve that the President {and Vice Presiden...
Jan
23
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We declare that no man nor nation nor race have a greater right than others to enjoy the fruits of their work, as the ecological sphere is our common condition of life http://www.beat s4change.org/aims.htm Nous déclarons qu'aucun...
Jan
21
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    & nbsp; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - Honored & Remembered      i'm sharing this link to quotes and images of MLK     & nbsp; to inspire     & nbsp;  ht...
Jan
18
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I feel Care2 members should KNOW about the "work from home" ads, RECRUITING "MULES" TO CARRY OUT ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES. Just like the Drug Cartels do... A person who was recruited unwittingly by one of these ads, was given in a seattleweekly.com article ...
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Every week or every other week, I send a Message to the President and to my Representative and Senators. This is the text of my latest: I have just sent the following message to President Obama; and I believe all Congresspersons need to hear it also...
Jan
5
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This is a more-or-less weekly message I send to the President and to my Legislators. The following is the version of it I sent to Governor Inslee. This is to notify you of a message I have just sent to the President and members of Congress. Since th...
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This is a very simple video report One man with a radiation detectorhttp://www.youtub e.com/watch?v=LcQLxT49ZP0 7 mins... [This link was sent to me by a friend...]
Jan
3
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Jesse Willms, the Dark Lord of the Internet - Taylor Clark - The Atlantic Society & Culture  (tags: Spam, spammers, scammers, cons, fraud, creditcardfraud, care2spam, darkweb, deepweb, tor, silkroad, RBN, FCC, buyerbeware, work-at-hom...