A Political Theology of Climate Change
Talk and Book Launch with Michael Northcott
Wednesday 14th May 6.30pm
The Pearce Institute, 840-860 Govan Rd, Glasgow G51 3UU (near Govan underground station)
We were delighted to host CHE fellow Michael Northcott for the Glasgow launch of his latest book ‘A Political Theology of Climate Change’ Thanks to filmmaker Stuart Platt for producing this video of the event.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the only international treaty relating to reducing greenhouse gas emissions but it is not working. This is because national greenhouse gas emissions is the wrong target. Emissions are not the driving force of climate change but fossil fuel extraction. Once fossil fuels are extracted from sovereign territories they will be marketed and burned. But sovereign nations will not give up rights to license fossil fuel extraction because for the last one hundred years they were the dominant source of national wealth. Hence the current UK government’s determination to extract shale gas, and methane from coal beds, despite dangers to the environment.
In this lecture Michael Northcott argues that exemplary action by individuals, communities and nations – or what the Christian tradition calls political messianism – is capable of resolving the problem. Hence the efforts of climate activists and religious groups to make the social case for disinvesting in fossil fuel extraction. In a global market economy this is the only collective action solution to reducing the risk of dangerous climate change. National emissions targets, and carbon emissions trading, will not.
About Michael Northcott:
Michael Northcott is Professor of Ethics in the University of Edinburgh and a fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology. He is best known for his research and writing on the ethical and theological implications of climate change and the ecological crisis. He has authored or edited ten books and over eighty research papers. He has been visiting professor at Claremont School of Theology, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Flinders University, Melbourne University, and the University of Malaya. He is also an Episcopal Priest and in that capacity helps out in rural churches in Dumfrieshire where he also has a smallholding and enjoys mountain biking and hill running.
Video by Stuart Platt of Gerry Hassan’s 16th April 2014 talk at CHE in Govan on his latest book Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland
We are pleased to have Gerry Hassan joining us at the next in our series of public talks. Gerry will be sharing the ideas contained in his new book, ‘Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland’. Join us for an evening exploring Scotland’s radical stories and future.
About ‘Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland’
Caledonian Dreaming examines the state of contemporary Scotland, the context of the independence referendum, what it means and its wider consequences. It challenges some of the central assumptions of public life and politics and identifies six myths that define modern Scotland – from the notion that it is a land of egalitarianism to the idea of educational opportunity and that power is regularly held to account.
Hassan analyses the strange condition of the United Kingdom – a place of increasing inequality, right-wing politics and limited democracy – and one with a growing obsession with celebrating and manufacturing the past. He forensically examines the shortcomings of Scottish society – from the ‘missing Scotland’ of voters disconnected from public life to the collusion of Labour and SNP on most issues bar independence.
Yet while Britain’s political classes and elites are unwilling or unable to challenge the current state of the UK, Scotland has the potential to become a modern, progressive, democratic country – aided by the creative energies and passions unleashed by the independence question.
Hassan critiques many of the prevailing ways of thinking about Scotland and politics – from that of ‘official Scotland’ to the left, nationalists and ‘civic Scotland’. He concludes that the conventional ways of doing politics and social change are increasingly being challenged, and that in places, a culture of self-determination is emerging which offers the prospect of a very different Scotland.
“An intelligent, brave and much needed contribution to the debate around the referendum in Scotland” Elaine C Smith
“This is a remarkable book – balanced and brave, insightful and incisive, intelligently blending the personal and the political.” Sue Palmer, Author, Toxic Childhood
About Gerry Hassan
Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. Hailed by the Sunday Herald as ‘Scotland’s main public intellectual’ , Gerry has written and edited a dozen books in the last decade on Scotland and the wider world: from the setting up of the Parliament, to its record, policy, indepth studies of the Labour Party and SNP, and looking at how we imagine the future. Gerry’s activities include facilitating events, discussions and conversations which bring people together in Scotland and across the world.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/429294220506351
VIDEO- Alastair McIntosh on From Island Spirituality to American Exceptionalism: Some Religious Roots of Violence in Our Times
Enjoy this video of CHE fellow Alastair McIntosh sharing the ideas contained in his most recent book.
Alastair McIntosh was raised in a deeply Presbyterian community on the Isle of Lewis. In this talk about his new book, Island Spirituality, he explored the profound values and experiences that get behind the stereotypes of island religion and how they have informed his work. Also, how aspects of European Puritan thought raise questions about the political doctrine of Manifest Destiny and American Exceptionalism – an argument that found recent prominence in President Putin’s address to the American people about war in Syria.
Alastair is a Scottish writer, broadcaster and activist on social, environmental and spiritual issues. A Fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology, a former Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde, and an Honorary Fellow in the School of Divinity (New College) at Edinburgh University, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the College of Social Sciences at Glasgow University, he holds a BSc from the University of Aberdeen, an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in liberation theology and land reform from the University of Ulster.
His books include Hell & High Water: Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition on the cultural and spiritual dimensions of climate change, Rekindling Community on the spiritual basis of inter-relationship, and Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power on land reform and environmental protection – the latter described as “world changing” by George Monbiot, “life changing” by the Bishop of Liverpool and “truly mental” by Thom Yorke of Radiohead.
For the past 9 years he and his wife, Vérène Nicolas, have lived in Govan where he is a founding director of the GalGael Trust for the regeneration of people and place. A Quaker, he lectures around the world at institutions including WWF International, the World Council of Churches, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the UK Defence Academy (on nonviolence). His driving passion is to explore the deep roots of what it can mean to become fully human, and use such insights to address the pressing problems of our times