Churches and Sustainable Communities conference (part 2)

Here’s is part 2 of Richard’s week-long blog posts on the JRI/Redcliffe environment day conference last Saturday – an excellent summary of Tim Gorringe’s thought-provoking and stimulating talk.

Bread ovens and bicycles

Yesterday I began a mini-series of blog posts reflecting on a conference I went to at the weekend exploring the role of Churches in developing sustainable communities and today I will continue by reflecting on the second session on the subject of “Community, Church and Transition”.


One of the biggest movements in sustainability at the moment is the Transition Network which is a network of villages, towns and cities around the world, all trying to increase their community resilience.  This involves recognising that fossil fuels are going to continue to get more and more expensive and that communities of all sizes need to be more resilient against fluctuating oil prices and consequently food prices, resource availability etc.  Although Transition initially began in response to the challenge of Peak Oil (the idea that global oil production has reached its peak and is now declining and any future extraction is going…

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Kafkaesque Questions

Vinoth Ramachandra

The continuing disclosures, thanks to Edward Snowden, of the global extent of American spying programs are faintly humorous. One would love to know, for instance, what possible benefits American governments have gained from ten years of listening in to Angela Merkel’s phone-calls, and how it has served the public interest (which, after all, is what governments are for)?

This is the kind of question that should be raised in the media, let alone in introductory university classes in moral philosophy. A truly fascinating question has to do with the central (and sometimes exclusive) place many ethicists and moral philosophers give to the notion of individual “autonomy”. This, it is often claimed, is what grounds the language of human rights. However, Ms. Merkel’s autonomy was in no way violated by the secret surveillance on her. She was not constrained or restricted in any way. And, yet, most of us sense that…

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10 Reasons why partnership working doesn’t happen

Resistance & Renewal

Shaking handsEveryone in government and charitable agencies is quick to say how committed to partnership working they are. Everyone agrees on the need to join up, work together and be smarter, but so often it doesn’t happen. Here’s my top ten reasons why:

1. We don’t do the arguing at the start
Us British are not very good at disagreeing. When you’re planning on working together you’ve got to uncover the sticking points before you get going and work things through when you’re not in the pressure of having to deliver. It takes time (see 3) and risks the relationship, but wouldn’t you prefer to find out how people cope with disagreement upfront?

2. People can’t imagine what partnership would look like
Actually working closely with another organisation is really different from just speaking to them once in a while. It’s so alien a concept that it’s difficult to imagine how…

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