Archived Briefings

The briefings that follow are older (pre 2005) and consequently out of date in some respects. A different page details the current range of JRI Briefing Papers.

1. Christian challenge of caring for the earth
by Sir John Houghton. This is the first JRI briefing and represents a foundational statement in its Christian perspective on environmental challenges. A clear understanding of the responsibilities we have been given coupled with trust in God’s presence and trustworthiness makes stewardship both exciting and challenging.

2. Global pollution and climate change
by Sir John Houghton, author of Global Warming: the Complete Briefing (Cambridge University Press) now in its 4th edition. This concise four page briefing presents the science of climate change, the variety of its global impacts, international policy, and mitigation.

4. Biodiversity Loss
by Dr John Sale. Explores various approaches to valuing biodiversity, and considers threats at global and national scale. The author is a consultant on biodiversity conservation in Africa and Asia, both as an academic and a UN Chief Technical Adviser on postgraduate training and research on wildlife. He is the author of numerous papers on mammal biology and conservation of tropical species and habitats, ranging from elephants and rhinos to orang-utans.

11. Renewable Energy
by Professor John Twidell. Energy is at the heart of Creation: it sustains all aspects of life in our world. This eight page briefing considers the environmental dilemma, and the options. Professor John Twidell is Director of the AMSET Centre and Visiting Professor in renewable energy engineering at the University of Reading.

6. Christians and Genetic Manipulation
by Professor Sam Berry. As Christians, we properly recoil from the idea of ‘playing’ God. But we should be enthusiastic about accepting our God-given responsibility for the genes of his marvellous creation as genetic stewards, gardeners, farmers, land-owners, and caretakers.

5. Genetically Modified Crops
by Dr Lucy Thompson. This briefing discusses the science of genetically modified (GM) crops, amd its beneficial applications. It also looks at controversies including concerns for human health and for wildlife habitats.

12. Whale and Dolphin conservation
by Dr Ray Gambell. Introduces the science of cetacean distribution and numbers, the history of whaling regulation since the 1930s, dolphin catches, and the status of policy arguments circa 2000. The issues of accidental or inadvertent killing, and the effects of pollution and other environmental problems on cetaceans are explored. The author was at time of writing Secretary of the International Whaling Commission.

10. Christian Lifestyle
by David Thistlethwaite. Subsequent to a consultation on Lifestyle organised by JRI and SAGE Oxford, concludes that the Christian way is not to live in guilt, nor to aim at minimal existence as the final virtue, but to come into a full sense that, meant as we are to live here, we have a job to do. The author is an artist (see Art in the Country) and a JRI Associate.

Environmental decision-making in a technological age
This briefing resulted from a Consultation held at St. George’s House, Windsor Castle, in April 2002. It examined the role of religious assumptions in environmental decision-making, and focused on two aspects of human influence on the environment: the increasing demand for energy and the need of the agriculture to provide food while minimising environmental damage.

After Kyoto *
by Sir John Houghton. A brief summary of the background and outcomes of the meeting in Bonn of 178 nations that agreed details of the Kyoto Protocol process.

State of the Planet *
A response to a BBC series by David Attenborough.

Environmental Stewardship
THis briefing resulted from a Consultation on contemporary applications of ‘Stewardship’ held at St. George’s House, Windsor Castle. Participants included Professor Robin Attfield (Cardiff), Professor Sam Berry (UCL), Professor Calvin De Witt (Wisconsin), Sir John Houghton, Professor James Lovelock, and Revd Dr Murray Rae (King’s College London).

Sustainable Development : Can it be made to work in the real world?
The six BBC Reith lectures in 2000 were given by Chris Patten, Tom Lovejoy, Sir John Browne, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Vandana Shiva, and HRH the Prince of Wales. This eight page briefing is a summary, analysis and response to the lectures from a Christian perspective.