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Treasure in the Field:
CEL’s 30th Anniversary Conference:
Bristol, 10 March 2012

SUMMARY

Christian Ecology Link are holding their 30th anniversary day conference ‘Treasure in the field : spiritual capital and sustainable living’ in Bristol on 10th March 2012.

Keynote speakers are Jonathon Porritt of Forum for the Future and Professor Tim Gorringe of the University of Exeter.

The all-day event at St Michael’s Church, Stoke Gifford, will explore alternative sustainable ways of being that will help to heal our ravaged world, with workshops facilitated by a range of Christian sustainability leaders such as Chris Sunderland of the EarthAbbey community and Jonathan Essex of the Greenhouse think tank.

PRACTICAL DETAILS

The ‘Treasure in the field : spiritual capital and sustainable living’ conference will be held on Saturday 10th March 2012, from 11am to 5pm at St Michael's Church, Stoke Gifford BS34 8PD - a short walk from Bristol Parkway train station.

Workshops: Green economics; consumer detox; eco-food growing; contemplative activism; democracy and sustainability and low-carbon living.

Further details can be provided by telephoning 0845 45 98 460, and a booking form can be obtained by sending an email to bookings@christian-ecology.org.uk or downloaded from http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk/treasure

The ticket price on the door is £15.00, with a discount for CEL Members to make it £10.00. Younger people under the age of 25 can attend the whole day for just £5.00.

MORE DETAILS on CEL’s 30th Anniversary Day Conference

Forum for the Future's Jonathon Porritt and Professor Tim Gorringe from Exeter University are the keynote speakers at Christian Ecology Link's 30th anniversary conference ‘Treasure in the field’ on 10th March 2012 in Bristol. Catholic environmental writer, Ellen Teague, will chair the morning discussions with Jonathon Porritt, Tim Gorringe and CEL’s Chair Paul Bodenham..

The all-day event at St Michael's Church, Stoke Gifford, will explore alternative sustainable ways of being that will prevent further damage to the environment with workshops facilitated by a range of Christian sustainability leaders: Tim Gorringe, Chris Sunderland (EarthAbbey), Jeremy Williams (Breathe), Edward Echlin (eco-theologian and author), Mark Letcher (Climate Works) and Jonathan Essex (Greenhouse think-tank).

Sustaining our Souls

In these volatile economic times, with pressing environmental problems resulting from pollution and increasingly difficult weather and rainfall extremes, what are the natural assets we can rely on to see us through ?

We are putting the resources of the world at risk by over-production, spending the natural capital on which our children depend - not to mention the other species in our trust. Whether oil, metal, water or nutrients, it’s time to ‘leave it in the ground’ and become treasurers, not consumers, of the earth. That requires investing in the resource of ultimate value - spiritual capital.

Treasure in the field : spiritual capital and sustainable living

Jonathon Porritt in his book ‘Capitalism As If The World Matters’, identified that besides financial capital, there is the natural capital of the mineral and biosystem resources of the earth, plus the capital of human skills and social organisation, together with the built environment, infrastructure and technology – ‘manufactured capital’.

And yet despite all this wealth, he identified a further crucial resource. ‘Although there are many for whom the very idea of spiritual capacity will trigger intellectual disdain or outright hostility, others have suggested that the Five Capitals Framework should really be a six capitals framework - with spiritual capital or moral capital designated as a separate capital stock of its own.’

Porritt argues that ‘spiritual capital’ developed through a spiritual ‘renaissance’ can help achieve true sustainability. He says, ‘Today's so-called “ecological crisis” is in essence a crisis of the human spirit. As we have degraded the earth, so we corrupted our souls, caught up in a frenzy of suicidal consumerism.’

The Great Transition to True Sustainability

The ‘Treasure in the field’ conference will look at the transition to a low carbon energy economy, the reduction of energy and material waste, and the re-localised life, with community-scale solutions. To achieve all these changes and to adapt to new realities, we need to build up our internal strength to enable us to maintain our personal motivation, to cope with setbacks and to avoid despair.

Chris Sunderland of the EarthAbbey community, one of the ‘Treasure in the field’ workshop leaders believes that ‘The environmental challenges that we face today are so profound they can only be properly understood in terms of spiritual transformation. My three watchwords for worthwhile development are deep, slow and real.’

‘Locally United’

To put true sustainability into action Jonathan Essex of the Greenhouse think tank proposes that ‘We can live within limits globally if we create and share that possibility from household actions to community actions and council commitment. Let’s practice the Art of the Possible. Local actions, political influence and campaigns can work together to transform not just what happens in one place – but believing sufficient change is possible and committing this into action is the only way we can change the world.’

Edward Echlin, author of the book ‘Climate and Christ’, and a facilitator at the conference, claims that for sustainable sufficiency in food production we need ‘Hands and hearts in the soil, even in high rises - that's where that parsley pot comes in!’

Shaping Up

Over 100 people have already signed up to attend the day conference, being held in Stoke Gifford on 10th March, and we still have a few spaces left to fill.

 

ENDS

Notes for the Editor

  1. An email invitation has been sent to British university chaplains across the denominations :-

Christian Ecology Link invite you to take part in our 30th anniversary
day conference ‘Treasure in the Field : Spiritual capital and
sustainable living’, to be held on Saturday 10th March 2012 between
11am and 5pm, at St Michael’s Church, Stoke Gifford, not far from
Bristol Parkway train station.

We have invited a range of thought-provoking speakers and workshop
leaders. There will be plenty of space for interaction, and we think
you will be both encouraged and challenged by the conference.

The keynote speaker in the morning is Jonathon Porritt, founder of
Forum for the Future. Jonathon has been a patron of CEL for over
twenty years. Tim Gorringe, Professor of Theology at Exeter University
will respond to Jonathon’s talk.

Paul Bodenham, CEL’s chairman, explains the conference theme : ‘We are
spending the natural capital on which our children depend – not to
mention the other species in our trust. Whether oil, metal, water or
nutrients, it’s time to leave it in the ground and become treasurers,
not consumers, of the earth. That requires investing in the source of
ultimate value: spiritual capital.’

In the afternoon, workshops will explore alternative ways of living
leading to a sustainable future for our ravaged world. Tim Gorringe
explores the contradiction of infinite growth on a finite planet and
transition town thinking. Chris Sunderland from EarthAbbey reflects on
the contemplative heart of environmental activism. Jeremy Williams
from Breathe suggests a radical change in our consumerist culture is
vital to any hope of a sustainable future. Edward Echlin argues small
scale, biodiverse, organic food production is not only the best way
food growing preserves soil and stabilises climate but is also the
most productive. Mark Letcher explores low-carbon living in an overall
context of faith. Jonathan Essex asks if democracy can deliver
sustainability.

The conference tickets cost £15 (£10 for CEL members), however a
concessionary price of £5 is offered to students and young people
under the age of 25.

Booking forms and further details can be found on
http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk/treasure

  1. Here are some relevant Internet web links :-

Forum for the Future
http://www.forumforthefuture.org/

Jonathon Porritt
http://www.jonathonporritt.com/

Tim Gorringe
http://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/theology/staff/gorringe/

Paul Bodenham
http://www.operationnoah.org/node/126

Chris Sunderland
http://www.greenbelt.org.uk/?a=985

Jeremy Williams
http://jeremywilliams.org/about/

Edward Echlin
http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk/echlin-climate-christ.pdf

Mark Letcher
http://www.climate-works.co.uk/about-us/staff/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5UdiQX7n5Y

Jonathan Essex
http://www.greenparty.org.uk/region/southeast/people/jonathan-essex.html
http://www.bioregional.com/about-us/our-people/jonathan-essex/

 

Since 1982 CEL has been working with Christians, churches and the green movement to witness to hope in the ecological crisis. You can become a member for £18 a year, or £10 if you are on a low income (less with a standing order).

To find out more before committing yourself, visit our extensive website: http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk and http://www.greenchristian.org.uk, sign up for our free monthly news e-mail through info@christian-ecology.org.uk or contact us for a free introductory pack on 0845 45 98 46 0

Christian Ecology Link is a Registered Charity no. 328744,and a Company, reg. no. 2445198, registered at 76 Old Eign Hill, Tupsley, Hereford HR1 1UA

 

 

 

 

 

 

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