New Year Thoughts from the Editor

New Year Greetings to all the readers of this blog.

We launched the JRI Blog towards the end of 2013 so as we reach the start of 2015 we have been going for just over one year. That makes us relative newcomers. The Realclimate blog, which is one of my favourite resources for topical comment on climate issues, has just celebrated its tenth anniversary!

First of all then, many thanks to all those who have contributed posts over the past year. We had initially envisaged that the majority of contributions would come from the community of JRI Associates; however many of our posts have come from guests who share our concern for a biblical and scientific approach to the environment and particular thanks are due to them.

During 2014 we have touched on several topical issues, for example anthropogenic climate change, genetic modification and fracking among others. Hopefully in the year ahead we can build on this beginning and explore some of these issues in greater depth through informative and thought-provoking articles. That will in part depend upon continued input from our existing contributors together with others from within the JRI community.

What then are the issues that should be engaging our attention during 2015?

I consider that raising awareness and improving understanding of the need to tackle anthropogenic climate change should remain near the top of the list as we progress towards the UNFCCC talks in Paris towards the end of 2015. When the Baptist Union President recently issued a call on the BU website for baptists to support the call to pray for the climate several of the responses questioned whether this was an appropriate cause in which baptists should be involved. So there is still much for us to do at local church level to help people to grasp the importance of the issue.

However we also need to recognise that climate change is only one of the nine “Planetary Boundaries” identified by Rockström et al in 2009 as defining a safe operating space for humanity. Several of these boundaries have either already been crossed or are significantly challenged. Even should the Paris talks reach an agreement on effective action to curb greenhouse gas emissions and to take appropriate steps to adapt to the impacts which are already in the pipeline, there will be many other hurdles to surmount to make the transition to a sustainable society and we must not lose sight of these. Underpinning many of the other issues is the failure to recognise that God has placed us on a finite planet and therefore permanent growth in consumption of material resources and release of waste is not sustainable.

Peter Lornie – JRI Blog Editor

Peter Lornie is a physicist by training and is now semi-retired after a career in industry. He is Secretary of a Baptist church in Essex.