'Big ideas' needed for a more just world
Politics needs big ideas and less short-term thinking, says the Bishop of London, in launching Tearfund’s new report and campaign, calling for a restorative economy ...
Politics needs big ideas and less short-term thinking, says the Bishop of London, in launching Tearfund’s new report and campaign, calling for a restorative economy.
The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dr Richard Chartres said: “We live in a century of mingled promise and peril. The decisions we take now and the way we live now will have an impact on our children and on generations to come – for good or ill. The scars visible on the earth are the accumulating signs of a world in crisis – conflict, corruption, climate change. Yet with these crises, we have made the mistake of concentrating only on short term issues.”
The Bishop of London has written a foreword to Christian relief and development agency Tearfund’s ‘Restorative Economy’ discussion paper which suggests that the development success of the past 50 years will be jeopardised by increasing levels of consumption.
Paul Cook, Tearfund's Advocacy Director, said: “We’ve come a long way. Globally, levels of poverty have halved in the last 25 years alone. Life expectancy, health and education indicators are better than ever before, and technology has helped save millions of lives and improve productivity, especially for smallholder farmers in poor countries.
“But if we don’t fundamentally change the ways we produce wealth and create prosperity, we will undo all this progress and push millions of people back into poverty.”
The report argues that high levels of consumption and carbon emissions have stretched the earth’s systems to breaking point, and that the impact – already being felt among some of the world’s poorest communities – is most likely to affect people in the UK who are currently children, as well as generations to come.
There is a scientific consensus that an increase in the earth’s temperature by more than 2 degrees will cause irreversible damage to our food and water systems, inequality and poverty levels. The latest data confirms that we are experiencing a mass extinction and that the world’s vertebrate species population has declined by 52 per cent in the last 40 years.
Calling on Christians, among others, the Bishop of London will launch the Ordinary Heroes campaign to encourage people to make small but significant changes in their lifestyles. As well as calling for policy change, the campaign seeks to encourage a grassroots movement of people to take responsibility for bringing about change.
“Ordinary heroes are people who do simple but bold things to change their own economy,” says Paul Cook. “Some people will fly less or consume only fairly traded products, others choose to use renewable energy in their homes or invest their savings in ways that avoid exploiting others.
“Using our power as voters, campaigners and consumers is extremely important, and part of our calling to pray and work for the Kingdom of God on earth – a world of peace, justice and hope.”
The campaign draws on the Biblical concept of Jubilee, which promotes a rhythm of productivity, rest and community to counter debt and exploitation.
More information about the Ordinary Heroes campaign at www.tearfund.org/heroes
ABOVE: Bishop of London Rt Rev Richard Chartres. Photo: Tearfund/Clive Mear