Creation is not for sale
Seminar on the occasion of the celebration of the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation
What space does the neoliberal globalisation offer today to the Earth and its inhabitants?
There are indicators:
Land grabbing is rampant by corporations and sovereign wealth funds which mainly operate in Latin America, Africa, central Asia Countries e Southeast Asia. It increased after the financial crisis (2008). There are no official fìgures but according to recent studies about 15,418,676 hectars in Africa are under the land grabbing process (source CESI). In Europa 3% of the landowners holds about 50% of the agricultural areas.
Concretization is one of the consequences of the debt mechanism. It concerns the 7% of the Italian territory, equivalent to 21,100 square kilometers (source Ispra).
Damage to the ‘ecosystem services’ is obvious. The amount is a figure between 538.3 and 824.5 million euro, translated into a loss of natural capital per hectare between 36,000 and 55,000 euro per year.
Biodiversity is greatly endangered. In the last three centuris forests have been reduced by 40% (source FAO) and the extinction rate under human responsability is 1000 times more than from natural causes (source Millennium Ecosystem Assesment).
Climate change is irreversible. By now the concentration of carbon dioxide is permanently over 400 parts per million and the alterations of the water cycle are increasing.
We human beings are causing the collapse of the Earth.
In 2016 the Earth Overshoot Day was the 8th August. It was the 13th August the year before (source Global Footprint Network).
There are people who believe that a ‘technosphere’ will substitute the natural biosphere. They also believe that the humans are called to dominate the world.
That’s why a reformation in Christianity, its spirituality and its theology is needed to emerge from the crisis which is not only economic.
According to the trinitarian theology, creation is a trinitarian process. The principles of life is the reciprocity of relationships and it is not the unilateral dominion.
The so-called natural theology in not a way to God beside the revelation in Jesus Christ, but it means that every human experience can have an experience of God. Today it is urgent to rediscover the cosmic dimension in christology and integrate the respect of all creatures in the worship of God.
God is the centre of the world, not humans, nor nature. All the creatures are partners in the alliance with God. Whoever destroys living beings or dumps on the future generations the costs is destroying the alliance with God, the Noachic alliance.
Bonhoeffer wrote that only those who simultaneously love the Earth and God can believe in the Kingdom of God To do so anthropocentrism must be abandoned and one must return to cosmocentrismo.
We cannot judge the Christian ethic by the solutions but by the premises because it is shaped to the life and the teaching of Jesus. What is concretely our responsability toward the world? Examples.
- In 1982 the UN presented the World Charter of Nature. On that base the Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 started to write the Earth Charter finalized in March 2000 (www.earthcharter.org ). People of good will are committed to integrate it into the different legislations and praxis of every country and business.
- In 2013 the US also expressed a Declaration on the rights of farmers (A/HRC/WG.15/1/2* ).
- In 2016 the green economy in Italy produced 249,000 new jobs that can be added to the three million persons already working in that area. Their contribution to GDP in 2015 is about 190.5 billion euros, (13% of the total).(source Fondazione Symbola).
We believe that the divine mission for life in fullness calls Christians and the churches to commit themselves to an ecumenical process of ‘peace, justice and saveguard of creation’. Hearing the radical voices of the Reformation we try to liberate ourselves from a world economic system that produces land grabbing and devastates God’s creation. In the Bible we can find relationships and values of ‘enough’ that make possible a more sustainable way to live on the Earth.
- The human being does not stand alone but is a part of a social network. In bantu language the word ‘Ubuntu’ means ‘I am what I am because you are what you are’. In a Christian community the communion as a component and a limit is called love (At 4,31-35).
- In our societies the experiences of fair and sustainable consumption in increasing, confronting the dominant culture of consumerism. Here we like to remember the experience of eco-congregation network coordinated by GLAM that started in 2009. Il cannot be postponed – it is time to take this alternative approach as the only possibility for humanity.
We commit ourselves to struggle alongside with movements that experience more healthy relations between humans and the Earth, advocating for sustainable policies and rules and promoting educational training.
We address Christian people and the churches to encourage them to continue to look at social and environmental justice as a key aspect of their mission. We need to share proposals in a liberating perspective.
We need to update the critical and emancipatory meaning of the Reformation affirmimg that the nature world, the creation, is unavailable to and cannot be submitted to any monetary system. The creation is not an exchange value nor are human beings that yearn for liberation from the condition of commodity into which they have fallen. Liberated by God’s Grace.
GLAM was established in February, 2001 by the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy. It took the place of a previous commission in response to the work of the second European ecumenical assembly in Graz (1997) with the purpose of sensitizing the churches to problems caused by economic injustice and the destruction of the earth.
The commission follows the work of the Ecumenical Council of Churches(www.oekoumene.org ) and that of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, now World Communion of of Reformed Churches (www.warc.ch, now www.wcrc.ch ) and Lutheran World Federation (www.lutheranworld.org ). These organization called for action to contrast the dominance of the economic interests of a small minority on the right to life of all of creation. GLAM is member of the European Christian Enviromental Network (www.ecen.org )
Involved with the themes of economic justice and care for creation, the commission is at the service of churches and individuals who intend to confront these issues from a stance of faith. Our work is networking in and outside of the churches, on national and international levels, attempting to provide tools for their use.