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My experience in Fiji

My name is Tobias Nissen, I am an 18-year-old UK / Danish dual national who has lived in France my whole life. I attended school in Geneva, Switzerland and during my final years of education, I wrote an essay about the effects that climate change is having on low-lying Pacific countries. From this point on my interest in the Pacific region grew, and when I received the opportunity to work as an intern for the Pacific Conference of Churches, in Fiji for 2 months, I knew that it would be an experience that I couldn’t miss.

Webinar raises awareness on stigma surrounding menstruation

At a webinar organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC), Norwegian Church Aid, and the International Partnership of Religion and Sustainable Development to mark Menstrual Hygiene Day on 28 May, participants, including representatives of various faith communities, brought to light the challenges regarding access to menstrual products, education about menstruation, and period-friendly sanitation facilities.

Reflecting on California groundwater abuse

I live in western Oregon, part of the Pacific Northwest long regarded as a verdant paradise, courtesy of rains and snowfall that can exceed 100 inches each year.  The snowfall in the mountains sustains our rivers through the dry summer.  But our climate has been profoundly disrupted.  Where I live, summers are far drier and hot.  But just to the south of us, this climate change has caused a drought worse than any drought in the past 1200 years.  Scientists call it a “mega-drought,” a severe drought affecting massive areas of the western United States for more than two decades.  

Urgency to act now for climate justice

Participating in the COP26 in Glasgow resembled a reunion of sorts. After the pandemic cancelled meetings of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Working Group on Climate Change and led to the rescheduling COP26, it was wonderful to catch up with my ecumenical friends who are devoted to the work of climate justice.

COP26: historic moment into what really matters to sustain life

The highly anticipated, long awaited COP26 began 31 October. It has now been six years since the adoption of the Paris Agreement at COP21 and much remains to be implemented in order to fulfil the promises agreed to at that historic moment by the member states. We knew then that the road ahead would be challenging and that changing our systems would require a radical shift in policies and behaviours—but we were hopeful. 

Let the food systems nourish people and the planet rather than feed the profits of the privileged

The food system is a complex web of activities involving production, processing, transport, and consumption. Key issues concerning the food system include how food production affects the natural environment, the impact of food on individual and population health, the governance and economics of food production, its sustainability, and the degree to which we waste food.

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.

Bethany Seminary students creatively explore hospitality in the neighborhood—and across the world

These days, we are all swimming in the murky waters of theological, political, and social division. Swamped by waves of conflict and pulled down by undercurrents of dysfunction, it is reasonable to fear for the future of our communities of faith. But thats not the end of the story. As president of Bethany Theological Seminary, an agency of the Church of the Brethren, I have found a deep, clear reservoir of hope in the witness and work of our students and alumni.

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. 

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).

An unfamiliar sense of vulnerability

News of the bushfires that have ravaged Australia in recent months has been seen by millions around the world. Words like ‘unprecedented’ have been used to describe this national disaster, which has claimed the lives of 34 people and an estimated 1 billion animals.