Friday, July 13, 2007

food and climate change

I have spent a chunk of today doing environmental ministry things, some of which meant catching up on reading and following links.

One of the things that caught my attention is what isn't there. When I visited the site for the Church of England's "Shrinking the Footprint" campaign I found nothing about agriculture and food systems, even though I know there is much consciousness and concern about these topics in the UK, including among people of faith.

When I read the National Council of Churches "Faith Principles on Global Warming" I found the only specifics mentioned were energy consumption and carbon emissions. And this with all the work they have done on food and farming issue awareness from a faith perspective.

And when I followed the link from the NCC eco-justice notes for last month to the blog "Ride for Climate USA", recounting the cross country ride of the former managing director of Interfaith Power and Light, I learned that he had been ignorant of the issues around coal extraction in Wyoming (even though the state council of churches has been working on them for some time) and could tout "cow power" in Wisconsin without mentioning what methane contributes to the climate change picture.

Meanwhile, from secular sources I get invitations to events that tell me how I can vote against climate change three times a day (in my food choices), learn of the complex role conventional agriculture plays in climate change, and explore research into the impact more sustainable practices could make.

What's wrong with this picture? Is it because church bureaucrats are basically urban? Do denominations and organizations own stock in the agribusiness multinationals? Are we afraid that outing the contribution of conventional agriculture to climate change will diminish the sources of food for the poor? Or is it, as I fear, that we are too used to issue-of-the-month-club thinking and organizing, and unwilling to engage systemic complexities in our advocacy ministries? And are we vying for turf on our issues? Mine is the banner issue, yours subsidiary, or viceversa? rather than recognizing the connections?

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