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Friday, June 15, 2012

New research on traits linked to sustainable behaviour

An interesting article in the Huff Post on why people 'go green'

The new research has found that "countries in which the populace was concerned with having high social cohesion or having tolerance and respect also scored highly with regards to environmental and social sustainability. People who value social responsibility among business leaders and those societies that had higher trust in one another were also more likely to be more focused on sustainability.
On the other hand, some traits tied to sustainability were less than obvious. For example, sustainable habits and practices were tied closely to countries where high levels of pay were important to people. Conversely, populations that were considered "unselfish" or focused on equality for all were not as likely to practice sustainable behaviors."

Although this research is based on country wide traits, I think it gives some encouragement for the likelihood of sustainable behaviours in churches. After all, one of our biggest assets is our social capital, including things like social cohesion, trust, tolerance and respect within our communities. Also, we believe in the importance of social justice and responsibility so I imagine we value this among business leaders.

I am less surprised than the author of the article about the link with high levels of pay as there is often a link between environmental concern and wealth. Though one should be careful in saying this because the poor definitely care about the environment - they feel the direct affects of degradation of the local environment long before the rich, but often they don't have time to think about broader environmental issues when they are struggling just to survive.

The last point though, about countries with a focus on equality being less likely to practice sustainable behaviours, I find a bit more confusing. Perhaps this is more coincidence than correlation, as more selfish countries like the US and Aus are richer and thus tend to focus more on sustainability.

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Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+