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Christian Discipleship in the Environmental Crisis

10 July 2020

An exploration of ‘fullness’ as an environmental ethic

We are facing an environmental crisis of proportions greater than any generation before us. This paper sets out the key elements of the current environmental situation and considers the biblical concept of ‘fullness’ as an ethic for Christian discipleship.

 

How do we understand the vulnerability of the Earth? The Stockholm resilience centre set out nine planetary boundaries (Steffen, et. al. 2015). These are boundaries of change to earth systems such as our climate, biodiversity and land use. It is proposed that within these boundaries, there is a safe operating space for humanity; but outside these boundaries, we are in danger of damage that is irreparable. The areas at most risk are: biodiversity, as in a WWF (2018) report that there has been a 60% drop in vertebrate species since 1970; biogeochemical cycles, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, primarily from fertilisers, which are causing whole areas of oceans to die through algal bloom (Stevens, 2019); land use change, reducing the amount of land available to wild animal and plant species; and finally, climate change where, if our current global economy continues unchecked, we are likely to see a rise in temperature at a speed unknown in the fossil record (IPCC, 2014).

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