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Passionist Life Building Back Greener: The Green Christian Conference

Building Back Greener: The Green Christian Conference

Passionists UK Building Back Greener: The Green Christian Conference

Nov 10 2022, 01:53 PM

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Green Christian’s annual conference Building Back Greener, which took place in Birmingham on 7-8 October, explored the need for a new approach to economics.

Speakers surveyed principles for economics and consumption rooted in the Christian tradition, such as sufficiency and justice. They contrasted with then-Prime Minster Liz Truss’s vision of “growth, growth, growth”, at the Conservative Party conference-—also in Birmingham. They underpin Green Christian’s Joy in Enough project and Plenty!, a training programme aimed at churches and groups of Christians which was launched in June 2021.

Speakers included:

Paul Kingsnorth: Writer and former deputy editor of The Ecologist, who warned of grave societal threats posed by technology.

Christopher Southgate: Theology professor based at Exeter University, who gave an Introduction to his view of Green Theology with particular reference to climate change.

Molly Scott-Cato: Professor of Green Economics at Roehampton University and a former Green MEP, who spoke about the need for “system change, not climate change”, and for an emphasis on well-being rather than continual and unsustainable economic growth.

“Our attempt to separate ourselves from ‘nature’ has been a grim failure, proof not of our genius but our hubris.”

Paul Kingsnorth, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist and Other Essays

In a series of workshops, participants considered Christianity’s historic engagement with economic issues such as tax, debt, inequality, tenants’ rights, consumption and the dignity of labour. 

The Joy in Enough project team plan to take forward insights on the economy gained at the conference to challenge policy makers and church leaders to promote a new economy based not on ever-increasing consumption but on what Kathryn Tanner has described as God’s “economy of grace”.

In a post-conference statement, Professor Tim Cooper, a trustee of Green Christian and former researcher at the New Economics Foundation, said “an uncritical approach to economic growth does not align well with the teachings of Christ and the New Testament epistles, which warn of materialism and call for an ethic of sufficiency.”

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