15 October 2009

Holy Disorder - Blog Action Day

Today is Blog Action Day, when bloggers are asked to blog on Climate Change. To mark the day I am linking to this paper by Heino Falcke, part of which he read at the symposium in Utrecht where he received the ecumenical prize of the Council of Churches in the Netherlands. In the paper, Falcke is looking back at the Ecumenical Assembly in the GDR, which in many respects was a forerunner of the peaceful revolution of 1989. The assembly was challenged to face the global challenges of justice, peace and creation in the perspective of the GDR. The result was a catalogue of changes for the GDR and which provided a template for the demands of the citizens' movements and new political parties formed in mid-1989. But Heino Falcke points out now that the Ecumenical Assembly was not only directed at political changes in the GDR, but an "Umkehr", a turn to a preferential option for the poor, for non-violence and for the preservation and protection of life in the global context. Climate change was hardly known as a concept back in 1989, but this is what Falcke now has to say about the environment as seen through the texts of the Ecumenical Assembly of 1989:
The ecological situation was particularly dramatic in the GDR. Let me quote from text 11 "Energy for the Future": "The unprecedented high energy consumption in industrialized countries and energy scarcity in the Two Thirds World is leading to regional and global problems. Large-scale efficiency, combined with high risks of accidents and often cross-border pollution characterize the situation in the highly industrialized areas. The acute power shortage in the underdeveloped countries and the often very simple, inefficient burning of wood and dung contribute to desertification and other problems. Global deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels lead to dangerous changes in Earth's atmosphere. Technologies and strategies to meet energy demand have been developed only in the interests of industrialized countries. Factors such as their impact on humans and the environment and the availability in underdeveloped countries has hardly played a role. "Ot states later:" Energy use in the underdeveloped countries will increase significantly in coming decades. The absolute consumption of primary energy can and must be significantly reduced in industrialized countries during this period. This does not necessarily mean a loss of quality of life." At that time, the problem of" connectivity "of the technologies of developed countries to emerging economies had already been noted, something that is now seen as increasingly urgent with rapid economic growth in China and East Asia. These findings of the Ecumenical Assembly,of which I have quoted only examples, were almost completely displaced in the process of German reunification.


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