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Climate change in Switzerland

It seems strange to put Switzerland in a line with other countries affected by climate change: not because we don’t suffer from climate change as well but because we, as Swiss people, should be very aware of how our problems stand in relation to our wealth.

Stolen dreams, stolen generations

Human trafficking continues to remain one of the most grievous assaults on the fundamental rights and inherent dignity of people. The crime, also known as modern-day slavery, is dehumanising in the sense that it corrupts one’s identity as being made in the image of God, instead reducing one to a mere commodity or object.

Water on Wall Streets: understanding the evils of water futures markets

I teach water law, especially the water laws of the western United States.  Every year we discuss the question of water marketing, which is a well-established practice now in the somewhat arid western portion of the United States.  Naturally, students and others ask about the recent development of a futures market for water in California. Here is my answer: the creation of a futures market for water is the ultimate act of commodifying water in California. It is dangerous, inequitable, and quite contrary to the rule in water law that prohibits financial speculation in water. 

Peace on the Korean Peninsula – NOW!

“We pray – Peace now – End the War!” This is the motto for the “Light of Peace” Prayer Campaign for the Korean Peninsula. “Peace now!” Now we are caught in the global coronavirus pandemic. The airtime in TV and radio is occupied by news related to the spread of the virus with many bad consequences for health and wealth of humankind. In this crisis we tend to forget other urgent needs. One of them is the call for peace for the Korean Peninsula.

Tax justice in a time of COVID-19 crisis

When the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, was recently admitted to hospital with COVID-19, spending a few days in intensive care, a number of British politicians and journalists talked about how the virus was the great leveller. Everyone from street cleaners to world leaders could get the disease; no-one was immune, therefore, we must all follow the same social distancing guidelines. But as Iñigo Aymar of Oxfam has pointed out, COVID-19 is not so much the great leveller, but the great revealer.

In times of global crisis, time to formulate the narrative of the way out

In just a couple of weeks an invisible virus got the world economy on its knees and made 2020 the year of postponement. Not only concerts and conferences, sports and theaters have been suspended or postponed. Even pivotal UN meetings have been postponed and among them the UNFCCC COP 26 in Glasgow. A meeting that should have at its best ramped up the ambitions to cut the world’s emissions of greenhouse gases. Incredible amounts of money have been thrown in by different governments of the world to keep the economy from a total collapse. And no one seems to be against it.

COVID-19 reveals and deepens inequalities; where is the Economy of Life?

Television, FaceBook and WhatsApp chats bring news from Manila, much of it disheartening. In the early stages of the pandemic with nearly 1,500 cases as of this writing, the Philippines has already lost 12 frontliners to COVID-19 (comprising one-fifth of total fatalities), one of them a young Methodist doctor. This is disastrous for a country that has only 1.3 doctors per 1,000 people (in part due to the exodus of medical professionals to “greener pastures” abroad).

Finding hope amid ashes in Australia

As you’ve undoubtedly seen on the news in recent weeks, our beautiful country of Australia is suffering under a terrible fire season this summer. People are suffering and look in awe at the terror of the fires, and they live in the bondage of fear.

Indigenous peoples teach us about climate justice

As the earth undergoes the extreme stress of 21st century living, we are met with the consequential crossroads that will shape the rest of our lives and the future of humanity. How can we make such monumental decisions when this much is at stake? Which way do we go forth, and how shall we live our lives in the years to come? The answer may be as simple as urgency.

Phenomenal woman

Without peace, there is no justice. Too often, we pursue justice at the expense of peace, and peace at the expense of justice. To conceive peace apart from justice is to compromise the hope that “justice and peace shall embrace” (Ps 85:10). When justice and peace are lacking, or set in opposition, we need to reform our ways. Let us rise, therefore, and work together for peace and justice.

Deepavali lights celebrate the victory of justice

The festival of lights called Deepavali (or Diwali) in India is deeply connected with the idea of hope, aspiration and abundance. Deepavali is the celebration of victory that is promised to a person who leads a morally responsible life. It is a victory of justice, represented by the oil lamps that cast away the darkness of oppression.

Is there any room for talk of transition in the Christian message?

These days everyone uses the words “change” or “transformation” yet they are used to describe very different things. The French president Emmanuel Macron speaks of the transformation of the French economy through the liberalisation of labour laws, and in his book “India Transformed” Rakesh Mohan describes the benefits achieved by 25 years of neo-liberalism. So what do church-related aid organisations like Action de Carême, Pain pour le prochain and Etre partenaires mean when they use the word “transition”? Is this concept really part of the Christian message?

A new moment for Colombia

We have been breathing joy, optimism and excitement to promote a new way of being a country. 26 September was a very busy day for all of us who were invited to attend the official ceremony of the signing of the Colombia peace agreement, in Cartagena. As I met other participants, a strong common feeling of hope was present in every shake of hands, every hug and every look.

We're the economy, stupid.

The economy is what the bankers do. Or all these business people. It’s about profit, efficiency, rationality, and all these things they invent at the stock market that no normal person would understand. That’s what one could easily think when reading the economy section in newspapers or listening to economists.

What dazzles is inequality

There is a financial wealth that goes beyond what we imagine, believe or are even able to understand, there is an economic system that devours lives and uses them as raw material for its insatiable appetite for growth and excessive development.

What could the World Council of Churches do regarding global migration?

It's true: migration is a common phenomenon in human history. People have always been moving from one place to the other either forced by circumstances or by choice. However, in our post-colonial, post-cold-war world of globalization, with increased inequality both with in countries and between countries as well as with increased awareness and enhanced transport, the scale of human migration continues to grow every year.