Scarcity or Abundance by MikeJenny

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									                                                                                                      John Modra
                         ISCAST CONFERENCE – OCTOBER 2010

                                 Scarcity or Abundance?
    The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and
                                   sojourners with Me. Leviticus 25:23

                                                 Abstract
How do we proclaim the abundant life in the face of scarcity? Is it possible to unpick the elements
of unsustainability in the way we use the earth, and then do something positive to change the
situation? Can anything good come out of our Western Heritage? How should we objectively view
the relationship between exploitation, economics (oikonomia, chresmatistics) and environment?
Are there any real brakes on the drivers of need, speed and greed?
This paper will explore a positive response to these questions by looking at how our own particular
worldview has worked to balance tensions in the management of land and land use, in particular.
The city worries about sustainability because, within the confines of its two column ledger world, it
would have nothing within a few days of supply failure. The educational paradigm of the city
makes the majority of modern urban cultures very vulnerable to fear and fanaticism on
environmental issues. The country, on the other hand, is not in such a panic and neither is Scripture
- and for good reason.
By recognising the reality of elastic strength within the solid structure of the created order, I hope to
demonstrate that we can all continue to look forward to both scarcity and abundance by applying
science and big picture thinking to the questions of living within limits. Confidence in these
complex matters can and should be based on a commitment to the sort of objective scientific
assessment outlined in the appendix 1 and its application to planning and public administration in a
sensitive, but not sentimental, manner.
As resident aliens, I suggest we rest briefly to reflect and enjoy our unsteady but safe homes in
resilience land, just as our forefathers in the faith have always done before us.

                                               Introduction
The technology of building resilience is a major growth interest area for scientists and policy
makers in our day. The idea is rightly seen as a way of helping poor rural communities to prosper
and develop. The voluntary and coercive drivers of sound policies in this area are often well
summarized in Scripture, making it easy for some of us on ground agents of change to reject the
sort of superficiality, speculation, disintegration and distraction that comes with development of a
new field of study and practice.

Scripture teaches us, not only not to worry, but how not to worry.2 It’s never just been about the
individual, but always about the journey together; when we have land and when we have not; we
have been taught to tread lightly both when we have abundance and when we have little; we do
things together, sharing life in common.3 Previous development theories have often focused too
heavily on technological matters. This worldview gives us a unique approach to technology which
means we deliberately don’t let it dominate our thinking.4

While this is a huge topic, I hope to indicate how a better appreciation of the integration of
ownership, stewardship, authority and responsibility can result in sound development practice in


1
  Science summary table is listed in Appendix 1 “ Capability to Sustainability guidelines”
2
  Many principles of sound land and resource transfer and management for example are effective enough to be carried
through the centuries to our own day.
3
  We live in 2 kingdoms (K1 and K2) Paul summarizes in Romans 12 and 13 how “the rules “are a bit different in each.
4
  J. Ellul “The Technological Society” Have we a better observer on this matter than this Christian sociologist?
environmental sustainability. Because the West is affected by many heresies5 in the area of care
and communion, I have also tried to name them in a scientific context. My aim is to challenge us to
avoid the disintegration of sound practice that has come from giving too much attention to “the
schools of mere description”6 who tend to idealise, individualise, compartmentalise and
sentimentalise the components of the needed scientific, political and theological tensions.


                  Technology7 needs to be the servant of faith, not the other way around.
     By recognising the limits that God puts on us, and those of governments, I believe we can help
      support more practical approaches to improving rural resilience by targeting over-ambitious,
    fanatical 8and inappropriate 9 technological approaches that characterize those around who do not
                                    know or accept those sorts of limits.



    The following table shows 5 categories of risk and resilience that can be established scientifically

     Land Use          Applicant           Wider                    Resilience             Support/Education
      Limits            Issues         Resource Issues               Aspects                  /Coercion
                                                                                              Support and
     Very minor if     Low Cost to     Very high efficiency                                     Defend
         any           develop and     and sustainability
                                                                 Highly Elastic                You may be
          1            manage                                        Prosperous            learning from them

            2
            3
    Significant                        Some long term                                           Education
    limits if long                     risks. Management        Elastic limits close         Conditions likely
    term risks/costs                   input and skill           Some risk of failure
    are considered                     required
            4                          High design and
    Powerful cost      Very            establishment costs      Little room to move.            Education
    and risk           difficult to    and /or high risk of                                     /Coercion
    pressures          develop and     failure /high                 Inelastic                   Support
                       /or manage.     management input.
                       High long       Biodiversity risks
                       term costs.
           5
    Powerful cost      Extremely       Unsustainable. Very             Broken                  Coercion
    and risk           difficult to    high long term
    pressures          develop and     offsite costs /or                                          Stop
    Generally not      maintain        externalities for
    even feasible.     without         both owners and
                       offsite /ext    community or
                       ernal effects   biosystems .




5
  The typical danger with heresies is they look like the best things – somewhat idol like .
6
  Term of the science philosopher A.N. Whitehead who correctly anticipated nearly 100 years ago, the doldrum element
in science education in our day
7
  Whether of law or practice, or whatever
8
  My definition http://fanaticism1.blogspot.com
9
  http://quickfiz.blogspot.com
                                                        Preface

The last thing I want to do in this paper is to resist the most welcome pattern of Christians leading
the way in acting locally and globally for the environment 10. However, because the wider church
has unthinkingly adopted many quite dull and dumb politically correct ideas, it now runs significant
risks of being much less effective in these matters than it has been in the past.11 I know this because
I have witnessed it constantly in my work area. One of these fashionable, but flawed concepts is the
idea that scarcity rules the world. While we need to work with scarcity, ultimately there is no
contest, because the author of abundance is not powerless.12

The focus of this paper is on the science of “resilience protection”.131415

Theological imperatives
With so many books and so much talk how do we decide which examples in the Bible to follow? My
foundation in this paper is the basic Christian traditional one : it is no more than that agreed by the
Council of Nicaea (that all the essential stuff is there) and re-expressed in more detail through the
reformation reviews in our past .What is not specifically addressed in the 66 books is therefore open
to disagreement ( where necessary) by Christians.16 The only reminder I have found helpful is the
corollary that , with so many books, authors and narrative the telling of “what believers do” is not
necessarily to be interpreted as a model for us . For example in the records of the early Christians
listed in Acts,17 I feel sure that both Luke and Paul had a view on what the new Jerusalem
Christians had decided to do to have complete sharing of property, but for whatever reason they
decided not to tell us what that was.18 It seems likely to me that Luke was intent on doing his
scientific job as an observer which meant that any role he or Paul had in counsel (any commentary
in that context) would not have been appropriate to write down in Acts.19 The same applies across
the grand expanse of narrative in the Old Testament where the extent to which we can really trace
the connection between the principle and practice is not always reliable, eg. Jublilee.




10
   I see no reason to go beyond the old boundary and biblically constrained models : act locally and find a niche there
. The model of the created order provides some help here too . We get more work done, not if we all do the same thing,
and join the millions who would find a distraction in telling everyone else what to do ( globally) if we find our callings
and roles directly within the sustainable systems of work we find ourselves in
11
   Sceptical readers might like to explore where some of our most famous conservation institutions started and with
what constitution. I would also ask that they review their commitment to listening to Christians who study to show
themselves approved (as scientists and workers on the Jericho road ) in this area. Go ISCAST.
12
   The reality of our powerlessness and its potential to distort our vision is well documented by R. May in “Power and
Innocence”
13
   To define an agreed scientific objective. Compare this with the more ambitious “poverty reduction” objectives which
I think are flawed. -Jesus said “The poor are always with us”
15
  In seeking to explain why I have some quite profound areas of disagreement with the church in its adoption of
standard political agendas in these areas, I found some comfort in some professional carers from a different field who
also had major issues in the 1970’s with my ideological enemies of sentimentality and socialism. They too, said the
church was allowing both these heretical doctrines to undermine our effectiveness. “The Kindness that Kills”, Digby
Anderson, SPCK, also David Martin, William Oddie Keep in touch at http://cuttingedgecare.blogspot.com
16
   Climate change adherents and sceptics can worship in the same church
17
   Expanding the theme a little “ how a careless balance between science and technology choices ( both individual and
corporate , participant and observer) are made in ignorance , denial and greed, rather than due to relevant shortage of
resources; how this wasted effort creates many of the intransigent risk and poverty traps that still curse our world”
18
   And that there was even more important reasons that the paradoxes of ownership to talk about why people were
judged on careless treatment of the subject
19
   If only the modern media were as disciplined!
Scientific imperatives
One of the joys of writing this paper has been the reminder that we are called to celebrate some
certainties; our scientific training, our faith and elements of political practice that have
sustainability value right down to the present day.20 One of the inspirations of ownership (per se) is
that it reduces the boundaries of your calling to manageable proportions.21 Thankfully our job as
scientists and observers is quite straightforward and not as potentially confusing as that of the
“technologists”.22 Again the corollary is that a sound view of our knowledge is always that it is very
limited23 and that God cares more than we can ever “for every square inch”.24

In contrast to growing uncertainty about how to define sustainability in the public square in recent
years, my long career on the ground in rural planning had established a sense that there was much
we could do to improve the world with a proper use of sustainable science study. While there is
nothing simple about capability decisions and resilience estimates, Appendix 1 provides a summary
of an applied science method capable of increasing and maintaining resilience in even the most
unstable of rural communities.

Note that authorship (Authority) ownership and responsibility are given great freedom in categories
1-3 while category 4 and 5 generally imply coercion on the basis of long term unsustainability,
community costs and loss of resilience. Coercion, if done well and at the right time (saying no to
one of many choices) is not irksome and brings the reward of seeing prosperity develop at an
individual and corporate level.25

Technological imperatives
One of the distinctions we as Christians need to discuss more, I think, is the range of limitations
surrounding technology. There is, as Whitehead implied, a lot of noisy name calling (eg. naming
solutions), preventing our communities from keeping the opinions of observers26 and participants
away from constant name change, speculation, endless description, and misplaced concreteness.27
The majority of people in our communities as Ellul said, worship technology not science. We too,
as members of the audience, can easily forget that when the media or the majority use such
irresponsible dropkick introductions like “What scientists say is …”28 they disobey the rules of
both science and theology. They should quote us as authors to bring proper authority to the site and
proper responsibility to them as messengers. I am not sure I have always been careful enough with
definitions myself here, so your feedback here would be helpful.29

As Christians we accept the need for coercion but have always fought to limit it. Our worldview
can also help our communities minimise it by encouraging more education and voluntary responses
based on objective interest and commitment to genuine ownership of the bigger picture.


20
   Another point of praise is that God does not overwhelm us with instructions like so many of our god substitute
governments want to do
21
   Such a need is obvious with the overambitious demands of political environmentalists of our day.
22
   It’s no wonder we are called to pray for those in Authority over us Trying to name solutions, and ones that involve
people - rebellious people – is more than most of us even as parents are called to do.
23
  Romans Again if only the public mind was as disciplined in limiting the certainties available to us from scientific
study
24
   Abraham Kuyper Convert , Pastor and Politician
25
   Prevention should be the lot (not another territory word?) of all professional people from time to time – ice on the
cake!
26
   Need some biblical references for observers role here
27
   see website of that name
28
   Made in the image of God, men are to be heard as individual authors first, and secondhand only in context.
This idea is at the heart of freedom of speech. Our failure to be clear here ( eg one voice one value) would produce a
more potent death threat to democracy than all the generalized talk of danger .
29
   Would you believe I just found a friend here
A sound framework for thinking
Coercive drivers in Scripture
1. The non ideal nature of the world we live in contrasted with our particular place in which
to survive and prosper
The picture : The two big animals which God mentions to Job appear to have no worries - I find
this ending to Job’s trauma a little troubling. Wouldn’t life be so much easier if I was bigger and
my territory was wholly my own? It’s not for nothing that the floods are mentioned in relation to
the ox and the extensive grasslands mentioned in relation to his territory. These animals are in
charge of their territory – so why aren’t we?

Why didn’t God give us an adrenalin-free lifestyle, grazing the landscape or the seas of life? As
mere men, why shouldn’t we see our population as the problem, when settled agriculture puts more
pressure on the land and nomadic existence seems more ideal?30 I don’t really know the answers to
these questions but I accept that the tension of being a middle size creature means we can’t ignore
other creatures like the big animals can. We are forced to make decisions based on limits and we
make them for those in the communities in which we find our home and our place. We don’t have
it because we don’t ask?

2. The unreliable nature of man - Our need for each other and authority
Our minds (Let’s not assume we resolve these issues by our own rationalisations.)
Participants cannot always picture what is really happening to them; how they might be contributing
to a problem bigger than their patch31. They own their patch and that in itself is good (acting
locally). Someone else needs to own the big picture patch (think globally). How we listen to each
other and work together is the imperative, if we are to be successful in looking after the
environment. As ecosystem extinction remains a major risk, even if we take our own personal lack
of wisdom in dominion seriously, the job for cautious review by the community is appropriate..

Objective observers with independent big picture views are needed to ensure we tread lightly on the
world. Without an observer, we can tread too heavily without realising it. We all need independent
observers to force us to be ‘response able’ in our areas of ownership.32 If you’re asking the
question of me as an independent observer whether a farmer knows he is using land sustainably
(whether he knows it or not), the answer is often “no they don’t” or “they don’t want to know”.
Farmers in the current climate of criticism deserve to know if they want to (Category 1, 2, 3 or 4).

It’s been my experience that once informed and aware, believers are keen to act well and tread
lightly. That doesn’t always apply to K2 (people in the world we live in). If we care about the
bigger picture, we need to support objective coercion on some matters of governance and planning
in particular. Lower footprint is easier to achieve by forward planning rather than by the growing
reliance on regulation and reactionary incentives.

Which brings us back to the mind games being played over the environment on the political stage.
Complex multi faceted issues of pseudo-innocence (see R .May below), denial, projection, quickfix
are the sort of distortions we should really expect to completely confuse the dialogue of care. The
30
   Nomadic life only seems more ideal because it is simpler. The recycling of copper in excessively well drained soils
southern Victoria has enabled us to live off the fat of land that had for eons been degrading.
31
   The Israelites had a much more difficult job that we have had. See below .While they had great rules and attitudes,
they were often not in charge of the country, or the issues of broad land management. Did they see or know the big
picture issue of intensive grazing pressure? Because they cared, they could expect to be open to broad picture
information, even though it seems they did not see the big picture. Like us though they may not have listened. It’s most
likely they were more aware than many of those around them whose general “awareness” was not even to be trusted.
Prov 12:10.
32
   Before you celebrate your ability to delegate, remember you too, as an owner of observation roles, can be a
participant in property matters too.
faith community (K1) believe that man is in denial about some of his guilt and is unwilling to listen
sometimes. An effective governing policy for both K1 and K2 must includes the complex scenarios
where many people know but don’t care, where when they do half-know they don’t say so, where
when they feel guilty they project that guilt onto someone else, and when they suggest some quick
fix that sounds like we are moving on but doesn’t really improve things in the long term.

3. The role of authority – an example
Why do rural people still need the town council to support their ambitions?33
Simply because the stability of the whole community is at risk if they don’t. As an environmental
risk assessor I was privileged to provide an objective, scientific voice on the long term risk matters
to rural community councils for nearly 30 years. As a result of seeing how it works, I do not doubt
that discipline over sustainable land use planning is right and appropriate, even today. Boaz, like
most men in those communities, had to act for a whole range of people. He probably didn’t need a
lecture on looking after his community - he “owned quite a big one”. But Boaz’s decision to take
on more land and responsibility may have required objective independent advice from those who
cared.

The challenges of a modern advisors role on shared earth issues is complicated because our society
is not focused on not what the community needs or what makes people careless , but is focused on
what people want .( including how to deal with guilt quickly)

Owning the responsibility of the role of observer and acting with authority
Not many people have the patience to listen well and to advise well. You pay for years to own the
skill. The skill is built on committing yourself to a bit of participation and a lot of observation. To
do this well, as a scientist in a situation, you have to imagine failure in the ecosystems involved, but
always and only in the context of the specific technology and ecological spaces involved. Until you
understand the specific sites soil water and plant interactions and stress limits you won’t know if the
use is near the elastic limits.

4. The place of constraints with freedom
At least 3 degrees of freedom with risk and resilience (Appendix 1)
Many in the media and in the audience want the government to close things down at the very
mention of risk. Not all risk is bad – in fact all environments undergo stress and all of us are
obliged to learn and live with it.34

Human freedom can operate quite safely within Categories 1 to 3, whereas coercion may be
necessary in Categories 4 & 5. For example, the solution to pollution is often dilution, so if you
pick a bigger or better space (most of the time that’s what you do instead of stopping investment
entirely) you can dissipate the pressure that may push a particular ecosystem beyond the point of an
elastic response.

There is no reason to engage with a property holder on how he manages his land unless you really
think, in the long term, it’s going to do him and his community some good, or if there is a risk of an
endangered ecosystem really being pressed beyond its elastic limits. If you are going to insist on a
farmer, or a citizen doing what you say, then you’d better be right. Most of the flood of




33 Ruth 4:5 “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you agree to acquire the dead man’s widow with his property”
Elders of the town.
34
   A good example here of the common ideologically driven denial of natural imperatives is the denial of the role of
aggression and adrenalin. R May deals with this quite well in his book referred to elsewhere.
technological innovations are wrong because they are driven by fanaticism. Governments too must
support a responsible system (for politicians, planners and professional advisors) here.35

There is in all this a lot of careless talk about what others should do. Perhaps we as Christians
should insist to activists in K2: “Fine, think globally, but only if you have acted locally first. Where
is your qualification to be heard?” After all, a political creed across the spiritual divide can be
expected to mean different things to the different parties, and does.

5. Israel - a unique model for understanding sound economy
Distinctive capital, cash and investment incentives
Modern socialists wouldn’t be happy with God’s land remedy because it didn’t go far enough.
Lessees had to give back the land, but not the profits. Lenders did not have to share their gold, just
forgive their debtors. No one watching the effects of this limited legal constraint brought to the
communities of the monotheists could walk away, I’d suggest, without thinking “These people were
blessed,” and there’s plenty of evidence in the historical record that this was so. Their concepts of
lease and release are sustainable enough to still be relevant to our forefathers in their settlement of
this country36.

Like agricultural producers worldwide throughout history, there is rarely enough time and reliable
return to accumulate enough cash to expand their capital (the lot). The function of the land is not to
produce capital, as we can tend to think, but to produce things we need. Having a rest on Sunday
and watching the wild animals eat the fruit in sabbatical years should, I think, be seen as a form of
therapy for God’s people. We all need to be reminded that, if we trust God, we will always have
enough.

Ownership - a bit of history
While the place of ownership is just as prominent as stewardship in the Biblical conversation, my
guess is that we haven’t heard much about it over the last 30 years because of the infiltration of the
dominant heresies which surround us with their noise every day:
• simple notions of what keeps poor people poor (ownership of wealth by others)
• sentimental notions of disadvantage (as if what’s limiting you is limiting me)
• lack of discipline of those who waste resources (the government’s insulation package funds go
    to those who haven’t shown initiative to buy their own).
I could go on.

Holding property lightly
One particular reason for not acknowledging balanced ideas of ownership in scripture may relate to
the fact that we often teach it (and deny it?) unconsciously. While there is, for now, some
controversy about toys, our children have their own beds, teddies and rooms. With this important
business education going on in our homes, why do we allow some confusion during their school
years? We still talk of our kids owning their homework, piano practice and team umpire and care
choices, so why do some of us hesitate37 when it comes to directly promoting ownership.38 I am

35
   The Appeals Tribunal, now so often in the news, was designed to ensure land owners had a right to be heard when
governments told them what to do with their land. Once the jewel in the crown of the Victorian legal system, VCAT
has become a confusing mess of legal, rather than principle-based process.
36
   If we want to be extremely generous , we might suggest that centuries of European land settlement in more stable
production areas probably clouded Governor Phillip’s and others idea to offer sale rather than lease to the original
inhabitants of this Country. Once we westerners got to know this country properly our forefathers (eg missionaries to
Hermannsburg in 1800’s) seemed to remember that lease and public ownership was the more appropriate technology of
land management in most arid areas .
37
   My best friend at University was a member of the communist party before he became a Christian and both of us have
worked with the poor all our lives. I would still say that unconscious adoption of heresies about ownership in my early
saying that if we are not aware of our practical denial of the conflict between our theory and
practice, we are in danger of missing out on the sound comfort of reality therapy. We own things
and that’s a good thing. God gives us an opportunity to own things, including intellectual property.

Tread lightly just as we own lightly
Abraham was a very rich man and Dives was a very poor man, but they both received the same
reward. The OT is filled with rich characters (Abraham, Job, David) and poor (Elijah, Naboth,
Dives) but all saying the same thing to the modern socialistic sops of the 20th century. (It’s not the
amount you own, but how hard you push it, and in what direction.)

Patterns of Resilience in Palestine
The early patriarchs had large numbers of grazing animals, which would have kept them on the
move in land where settled agriculture and intense competition were already established, such as the
Jordan Valley.

The very northern part of the Northern Kingdom was, like Jerusalem, a fair bit better watered than
most. As Gisbers39 has suggested in relation to deforestation, there appears to be little appreciation
or concern about some of the broad degradation issues by the Israelites themselves, though they
clearly cared specifically for paddock sized problems and the broad issues of sharing the place with
wild animals and plants (they acted locally and their world view was thinking globally).40

Much of the Samarian promised land is of high capability for settled farming because of the highly
calcareous nature of the soils. While man-induced reductions in native plant and animal
communities (wild animals are mentioned commonly in planning and practice) seems to have
occurred mainly after David’s reign, it could be that that kingdom’s access to the high country of
Lebanon may have given us the impression that forests were more extensive in his time than they
were on the foot hills (where they were never very large or extensive anyway). The promised land
before occupation would have been mostly open forest and grassland which, apart from being very
drought prone (and without much surface water) is generally quite suitable for much sustained
settled agriculture of the sheep, vine, olive and fig tree variety.

Extensive cultivation of land for wheat and barley by the very early occupants of the Jordan Valley
in particular left many areas of low capability soils bereft of protection. The extensive natural
failure of soil development due to the very dry and deepening rift controls in the lower Jordan
valley makes a lot of the erosion and siltation in those areas only loosely related to anthropomorphic
factors.

The only suggestion of deliberate unsustainability I have surmised from a brief review of the OT
records seems to be that undertaken by (thankfully) the heretical tribes (under the influence of
Jezebel’s false gods). They decided that they could get more production by clearing more forest on



Christian walk has limited my ability to be disciplined about helping people and walk better in collaboration with the
poor who are always amongst us.
38
   Who’s kidding who about the real size of our faith? How many of have to have our possessions wrenched off us
before we realize who gave them to us? The poor are always with us. Praise God!
39
   R Gisbers Reflections on the history of deforestation in Palestine Zadok Perspectives Summer 2007
40
   It doesn’t seem justified to assume that Israelites had a sustainable policy of land use anymore than our settlers had in
our country. Even though we could, at best and on the evidence, have assumed they had a degree of land care interest in
the same way our people have had in Australia (adopting many sustainable agricultural practices over a period of 100
years,) the war and space pressures, as well the lack of technological options, would have made progress in their
resistance to overgrazing and overuse pressures very difficult. Like many areas of the world, such as the northern
mountains of Syria and Iraq, and Australia, the pressures of subsistence agriculture on the relatively stable soils of
Samaria caused little degradation.
the low hills to the north, so why wouldn’t they? The only constraints for them were technological,
not theological.41

Whether the Israelites really knew that they were acting more sustainably than their relations up
north is an open question – they had less trees to knock over, but going on the focus clearly
described in the text, the footprint pressure issue was secondary to the production incentive in the
minds of the northerners.42 We can, I think, trust the observers (the writers of the OT) more than
most, because they had a relatively arm’s length view of any degradation issues which may have
occurred. This is not to say they were not involved – the priests, after all, had their very own 40
acre paddocks around the cities which would have been very easily over-grazed in the regular dry
periods they all experienced.43

The authors witnessed a very wide range of styles of survival on land from agrarian, to nomadic and
settled. Sometimes that had only vineyards and a few olive trees or, like Elijah, a few oxen and a
plough. Job, David and Solomon had huge territory and a wide mixture of a nomadic and settled
lifestyle components (milk, horses, grain, timber, camels, goats, oxen) so their communities had the
chance to observe the limits of those varied lifestyles within that range. The varied social life and
historical experience of the Hebrews suggests a wide range of objectivity despite the lack of detail
in the text.

Having a wide difference in knowledge and focus goes to the heart of the benefits of ownership.
Some people can own participation; others buy into observation. My contention here is that we
cannot continue to ignore the clear place of ownership as we have been doing by seeing it as mere
stewardship. We need an opportunity to invest - to “put our money where our mouth is”. The
lessees of the land of Canaan assumed a degree of ownership in the 6 years prior to re-lease.

Interestingly, the very word “allotment” or “lot”, used across the world to describe a parcel of land
owned, comes from Joshua’s casting of lots for the tribes of Israel.44 It’s clear that, while we
wouldn’t necessarily use the same pattern of delegating, owning and leasing land as the Israelites
(after all, we don’t live in an autocracy), the system of land ownership worked reasonably well and
provided a sound basis for keeping and building social capacity in the agricultural community of
Judah.

The problems developing with the adoption of other land use practices in the northern kingdom
under Omri and Ahab were very familiar to the believers down south. Jezebel herself came from a
royal family of the Phoenicians who tended to dictate and rule a country with different resilience
risks and reading between the lines, different attitudes to “the country”, seeing the land as
something separate (compartmentalising?).




41 Not so simple for the faithful. “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” Naboth
42
   Make no mistake, resistance failure is primarily a matter of mind control. If you like, it’s more about “how hard we
press on the accelerator” than it is about the technology we use in a situation.
43
   Over-grazing is still probably the most unacceptable ongoing land use in the world today because its poor capability
is less obvious, and its impact on instability in the wider community is huge. Cultivation of land for cereal growing has
been a very powerful form of degradation as well, but its impact depends a lot on the land involved (not such a big
impact in land west of the Jordan). Degradation of production resources through inappropriate irrigation, erosion and
salinity are matters of complex capability that vary in their long term effect on the world’s capacity to produce food. As
indicated elsewhere, there is no real problem technologically with sustaining the current earth’s population with the
resources we have. Australians have a great symbol before them in the fact that , after years of substantial drought, very
few of us stopped having showers with fresh water in one of the driest countries on earth and very little of that water
we washed in was used again. See Appendix 3 (Powerpoint presentation).
44
   Ownership equals “make the most of what you get” – “your lot in life”?
The priests and the people in the cities of Israel could observe45 the goings on of the rural peasants
more closely than the busy farmers themselves, who, like our own, had more animals and projects
(goats, pigeons, weed & vine control, wine and grain press, donkeys, ploughs, bullocks and
husbandry duties) than they could manage in 6 days.

Interpretation
While they had great rules and attitudes, the Israelites were not always in charge of the issues of
broad land management. David acquired lots of new land and offered it to his soldiers. Did they
see or know the big picture issue of intensive grazing pressure or the erosion results of cultivating
for cereal production? The particular territory and technology of most of the people meant that they
had to cultivate only small patches of quite stable soils and erosion was often contained on site. It
seems likely that, like our forebears in Australia, they did not always see or understand where the
big elastic limits were. Unlike us, though, with our very much more unstable and hard setting soils,
the scale of man induced erosion in Samaria was small (resilience was in many cases retained).
Because believers cared, they could be expected to be open to broad picture information even
though, it seems, they did not always have it. Like us too, they may not have listened.

It is most likely they were more aware than many of those around them whose general “awareness”
was not even to be trusted (Prov 12:10). Attitude makes all the difference. When it gets to a land
use, because resilience is treading lightly and not the extreme of “not treading” at all, the
government should be expected to resist, saying “No” altogether.46 Most high risk decisions still
focus on how can this be done, rather than why it shouldn’t be done.

To be effective in resilience building, as I have said before, we need both Kingdoms to work
together. Elijah, and people like Naboth, certainly did more than should be expected to make that
cooperation happen.

How then do we interpret what happened with Jezebel and Ahab’s symbolic wrecking of the clear
traditions of believers? Ahab’s suggestion that Naboth would get an even better block of land
would seem to many moderns to be an offer “too good to refuse.” To many agriculturalists who
have skills in production ecology, this dangerous and faulty logic is indicative of the profound and
debilitating disease we still have in some government agencies today whose shoddy and shallow
thinking on these matters is quite real. Governments who want to be effective in resource
planning need to ensure their agricultural production departments are not living in the past
and being driven by technological-fix imperatives.47

Summary
A lot of the degradation from intensive pressures of war and over occupation over 5000 years in
Palestine would still be manageable in the context of proper ownership. Land not capable for long
term grazing can be reforested and soil stability restored by changing the land use. We have the
tools and sometimes the right attitudes, but our way of governing together still leaves a lot to be
desired. Believers can reinforce the trend towards resilience by upholding the role of professional
advice to governments on these matters and by accepting the need to use the land transfer control
tools we have inherited.




45
   It is surely time to recognise that a wide range of people can adopt responsible scientific approaches to any matter by
being careful to honestly observe the phenomena in their neighbourhood.
46
   Many wannabes make the mistake of condemning a land use outright - naming a use as bad, eg non native trees.
Sycamore trees are not native to Israel but are naturalised there. Appendix 1 is the appropriate guide.
47
   I received a Cadetship with the Dept of Agriculture. “Glad” I didn’t accept it.
Ownership in the early Church
The ongoing importance of the principles of land transfer
How are we to interpret the behaviour of the new Christians in Jerusalem and God’s judgement on
those who sold land in the wrong way? They shared so much, so why not everything? If common
ownership of land was clearly a necessity (and not a choice, as in their case), Paul and the Apostles
would surely have said so in other documents, and not in a story telling what people chose to do in
one instance. In setting up a community they were doing what the old Israelites had done in sharing
the land, its ownership and its rules. Capital cash transfer rules are always important in rural
economies, as the stories of Ruth and Naboth so well demonstrate.

So if you look closely, the drama is not in the joint decision to sell their land, but in the way land
rights were interpreted by those who collected the cash. What seems clear is that God reinforced the
rule working in early Israelite times that rural land ownership engendered special privileges on the
person who held it in trust. In some ways, (as in Naboth’s situation) it wasn’t really the individuals
“right to sell”. Even if sold, “the cash” was not for his benefit, but for the community in general.
This is little different from the very sound and just idea that one person should not in rural areas,
gain the benefit in cash, of several generations (and many people male and female) investment in
that land. Job, you will notice, gave some of his inheritance to his daughters. He was not locked
into technology but locked into principle?

Ownership in context48
Ownership and Boundaries of Responsibility
How does a proper focus on ownership might help keep a balanced discussion going on resource
management issues? I don’t have time here to explore all the issues around this subject, but there
are some areas I think should be given more attention as components of an integrated approach to
managing our environment sustainably.

The sufficient paradigm outlined in the parable of the Good Samaritan
As indicated elsewhere, this paradigm has formed a successful and sustainable frame for action for
caring in both Kingdoms for many centuries. The only place for really sound action for others
comes from being close to them.49 There is no need to try to improve on what Jesus teaches when
he teaches it directly.50

Ownership
• adds incentive – let’s buy into it!
• reinforces individual responsibility
• provides a power base and boundaries for partial /shared ownership
• provides a power base for talking about individual responsibility
• provides a base for limiting corporate power . CEO’s love to delegate, but should that
  delegation be more clearly understood as ownership given? The church has reinforced the idea
  of shared ownership – the shared ownership or eldership and stewardship.

48
   Ownership is where you pay to gain some control of space. Within those boundaries you have freedom, rights of veto
and limited control. All freedom and ownership however is limited by responsibility and possible withdrawal or
reduction in their size and shape .The allocation and reallocation of that space and its value is often rightly a public
square matter.
49
   This applies to applied scientists just as much as carers of any kind. It’s only when you stop and look and listen that
you know how long to pay the inn keeper. In rural resilience matters, the carrot was in your pocket but not often used
(your decision) and only there for emergencies (not publicized like it is now as a gift with election potential incentive).
The Labor parties inability to control the application of incentives (roof insulation) is not a surprise because there was
no balance in their understanding of carrot and stick – all carrot. If you are not careful the important role of an
independent advisor can be completely compromised in the rush to grab the carrot. Other unseen factors also apply to
drive a wedge of ineffectiveness into the roles currently adopted by recent governments.
50
   Maybe we should think about act locally, act locally act locally as a echo to location, location, location.
•    adds an interesting balance to the concept of submission (1 Cor 7:4)
•    recognises in the commitment of paying - personal choice and responsibility
•    respects differentiated skill development in management of resources
•    provides the opportunity for more objectivity when denial of the truth is a risk
•    creates motivation
•
     provides a role for both observers and participants51
•    sets some basis for coercion in professional practice
•    encourages better understanding of the limits of education.52

Ownership, Authority and Responsibility

The kingdom of God is within you …. but why leave it there; God doesn’t. Is all the kingdom
talk in Jesus words really just to focus our attention on the world beyond?53

In Romans 1354, we are reminded that God is also involved in a limited, but very powerful way in
the world (K2). As we are called to share in the redemption of a groaning world, I see us missing
out on much if we can’t fully accept that God wants us to have a full sense of “ownership” of the
public square issues we face as scientists advising governments.

Socialist sentimentality is renown for its failure to provide motivation; how about churches
influenced by sentimentality and heresy? If we don’t have a clear view of volition in K2, do we not
risk a very limited view of vocation amongst young Christians?

Ownership of territory is, I suggest, an imperative we have tended to ignore. I am talking here
about what we invest in with time /money, our education, our personal ambitions and all those
things that define us. Ownership is the key to supporting our motivation, growth, security outreach
and recovery. With ownership we make our own choices and live with the consequences – we learn
to be responsible. Stewardship alone is, like the law without the gospel, little more than a burden.
Marx would have us believe that we would be happy always being a slave. God rewards us and
blesses us even when we don’t deserve it with things we can keep or choose to give away.

General Issues of property and territory
While we only have limited space in this document, I believe that God’s call has always been to
moderate the territorial imperatives within us. Jesus reminds us in no unclear way that He
recognises our desire for territory and has “a place prepared for us”. If we are happy in our space,
we can build contentment, stability and an exploring point to come home to.

Land use controls are still valid
High risk and low return puts rural people into debt and possible slavery very easily. The Israelite’s
practice of redemption and Jubilee put a spoke in the wheel of injustice and degradation here – and
so should we. It is surely not a coincidence that land release, lease and personal freedom are linked
in the writings of the early believers. The idea of linked lease and ownership carry the full options
and benefits of innovation, choice, profit and reward for effort. The Israelites had 7 yrs lease. We
often have 99; maybe we should have less? Much of Australia is thankfully under lease, which

51
    A lot of aid and assistance to rural people in developing countries has been stalled and made less effective by the
assumption in recent decades that only the participant really knows what’s needed /going on. The dismissal of roles for
observers, in particular, means the objective view of real risks and resilience challenges is clouded at best.
52
   Increasing resistance to the idea of intervention in agricultural areas has led to a an over reliance on education.
53
   There are surely enough people who are so heavenly minded they are of “no earthly use”.
http://politicaceleste.blogspot.com
54
   An excellent review of the scriptural imperatives for “ not a square inch outside His concern” view was undertaken
recently by Dekker , Saunders and Vanderhorn (Religion in the Public Square Colloquium Melbourne July 2010)
means there is a continuation of the idea of the inspiration of ownership tied to the responsibility of
stewardship.

Shift of ownership rights to the State - why wouldn’t we anticipate this?
Ask any farmer in Australia today whether he feels like he owns the country he lives on – he’s told
he can’t cut down trees and can’t do this and can’t do that. As one who spent most of my career
trying to keep some sort of objective view of risk in this area, I can see both sides of the story.
There is in our culture too much meddling by bureaucrats.

As a Christian, we accept 2 major things non Christians don’t – the freedom of men to make
mistakes and the potential for redemption of every man if he shifts his focus. We groan that abuse
and careless treatment of nature occurs, but we don’t believe, in this life, we will ever see an end to
it. I don’t accept the exaggerated risk scenarios developing all around us that drive excessive
interference in people lives. Allowing people to make mistakes means less bureaucracy and more
freedom.55 A balanced and independent scientific assessment of risk is obligatory on governments
– if only they would insist on it!


Finding a clearer space for the place of technology
1. Holding Technology Lightly56
The ancient Israelites, while running the same risks of becoming prejudiced participants in land care
issues, were privileged also to also be observers as they travelled from Babylon to Canaan, Canaan
to Egypt and back again. It wasn’t just the idea of storage (technology of resilience) and capital
(technology of the market) that they were interested in. Joseph was told directly what needed to
happen (appropriate technology?) Egypt needed very big barns for a particular situation. Coming
home to Palestine, though, doesn’t mean big barns like back in Egypt. The Israelites spent
considerable time learning from the natural limits and the manna supply just how God wants them
to see His place in technology, scarcity and abundance.

When they got back to the poorly watered hillsides of Palestine, they again had to learn about the
limits of technology (storage) and the danger of “just big barns” for the individual. Looking back
on it, it’s amazing how God drew them, not to focus on the technique tricks (an ongoing temptation
for rural producers) but an attitude of trust and faith, fenced in by a short list of specific orders (land
use and deliberate disobedience and direction controls); a succinct structure that gave them a very
broad route to sustainability and satisfaction based on not pushing the system too hard.

2. Technology is not enough: The Word of God is better than a truckload of resources
Elijah, while often busy with his oxen, made special trips to the city because he listened to God. No
farmer finds those visits fun. Still, the old prophet was right there in the action asserting that
cultivation was OK and the magic of mountains and natural processes was nothing when God
supported an action or made his own miracle thing happen in front of you.57

Naaman, despite his new found faith thought that the soil was worth more than the word of God
and was prepared to take cartloads of it back to Damascus in the hope of a technological cure.
It took a while though as we know for him to listen. The bloke was not happy to think any good
could come out of these backward places and dirty streams. Perhaps like the early Jerusalem

55
   If Neibuhr would give permission , I would say “ Man’s capacity for evil makes conservationists necessary while
mans capacity for good makes legitimate agriculture possible “
56
    Augustine effectively counselled the powerful move of Pelagianism in the early church with “ hold wealth lightly”
57
    The imagery of Elijah watering the wood is one most powerful in my mind as a result of an depressing day I had
once when I had to advise a farmer who was acting unsustainably with his land .
http://visitingthefarm.blogspot.com/2010/07/whose-really-in-charge-here.html
Christians (Acts) his enthusiasm led him to make some mistakes and lack of education in his new
found faith meant he was allowed to (Elijah gives him a blessing in the face of his worries) Even if
we assumed there was a bit of valuable salt in those valleys, the life and faith of Elijah stands as
testimony to our challenge too – to apply technology lightly and trust God heavily .
No amount of gold (crude abundance), and no amount of a technology will fix the problem on its
own.

3. Technology should be appropriate – no quick fixes?
E F Schumacher made an enduring contribution to the development debate by, amongst other
things, reminding the world that its possible to scale down the threats58 and that by living simply it
was indeed possible for all to live reasonably well. Technology assumptions form an important
basis constraint on capability and sustainability science in a location.59 Dissipating risk is possible
if scale and resetting of land boundaries occurs.

The critical difference, compared with most industrial processes, is that the biological systems do
most of the work, if you push it too hard you may have more than individual capital expenses to
deal with. With training though, we can, as scientists, predict the elasticity available.

4. Implications for public policy
The worship of technology leads many in public life to too easily choose new technologies and
quick fix rather than accept a range of old and new and …. just as importantly, a range of options
outside the proscribed circle of so called “defined need”.

Where is our current thinking heretical?
Some of you are bound to question whether what I am saying is actually true (because you are
sound scientists and I have skimmed over a lot of territory far too quickly).

1. Evidence from Christian professionals in the recent past
Some great articles have been written by professional thinking Christians about the key errors of
sentimentality, Marxism and socialist thinking on the way our churches think about problem
solving in the public square.60

2. Decompartmentalisation of Kingdom 1 ideas by governments resulting in disintegration in
practice
I will only list some of them: stewardship, empowerment, education, coercion and incentives. (See
below.)

3. The helpful idea of the 2 Kingdoms
Much has been written about the good stewardship principles that are part of our Christian cultural
inheritance elsewhere like the sabbatical and jubilee concepts, rest, release and redemption.
Less has been written in recent times about the biblical teaching of two kingdoms. This doctrine
has influenced effective resource management approaches for hundreds of years, but it’s now under
threat because the church does not necessarily see how its modus operandi differs from the State.61

58
   Compare the giantism of our own day
59
   Appendix 1
60
   In “The Kindness that Kills”, Digby Anderson, SPCK, also David Martin, William Oddie
61
   Carrot and Stick As an agent of land use change and operating in Public good policy in no2 I had a carrot in one
pocket and a stick in the other . Lot owners never knew which one of the tools I would bring to bear on the situation.
The situation was complicated by the fact that more often that not the carrot was not cash but in the form of advice,
feeding my fantasy that my words are worth more than anything I could give. None of these tools are directly or
properly available now to staff in the field and this is the direct result of quick fix and politicization of a career by
political parties who without any shame have turned a great profession into a political football .
This is a huge area needing more careful study and scholarship. One of the most important
consequences of taking OAR (ownership, authorship and response ability), apart from its ability to
reduce confusion of roles, is expected to be the way its reinforcement of the old boundaries will
increase the motivation for collaboration between scientists and care practice agents across our
communities.62

4. Why aren’t Christian professionals reviewing social policies more thoroughly?
A proper review of the impact of socialist thought on public practice should include specific
research on the following areas:63
• the psychology of impotence 64
• training natural drives to productive ends (rather than just doing what you feel like at the
    time),65
• the place of coercion in public administration and training66
• why emergency focus has taken over in practice and protection focus is neglected 67
• basic foundations for economic opportunity and incentive (incl theory of ownership)68
• how can we minimise legislative interference (Jesus fans unite)?
• when to educate and when the prosecute? Improving the effectiveness of handouts
• perception and reality in observers and participants.

Who’s really in charge politically?
I would list the ongoing survival of Marxist thinking within the drip feed of a sub-science public
service and the widespread disease of sentimental notions of environmental protection as major
areas of concern because of the extensive distortions and waste they create at present.

What is stewardship without ownership?69
Yes we are to see ourselves as servants, but also heirs and inheritors of a place in 2 Kingdoms.
Mere stewardship can be impotence if someone else is making the decisions.
62
   Defining errors and incomplete research briefs can I think also be a positive result of testing the scriptural injunctions
more thoroughly. Recently, I was surprised to learn that the widening brief by factoring in algophobia may not be
factored into many research projects on aged care. Recent bushfire response enquiry into planning process shows it was
good as far as it went. What the response /so many environmental risk plans lack is the ability to think outside the
square. http://movinon.blogspot.com
63
   We don’t need to do too much research because our brothers in the care professions have been documenting the same
infectious agents for decades See above book
64
   Rollo May : Power and Innocence. Application of his ides about pseudo innocence and the complex challenge for
carers to my mind suggest the last thing we want is for phycologists to give handouts. They like production ecologists
need to own there principal territory which is advisory.
65
   “Taming the Territorial Imperative” unpub JL Modra
66
   If more scientific collaboration occurred on these matters without political interference we would discover a whole lot
of causes and psychological issues that are having a direct impact on our perception of the problems. Post modernists
are not allowed to say no. The bushfire enquiry into the largest natural disaster in Victorias history is so weak that it
cannot say “evacuate” (you must not do that) clearly. As psychologist May points out very well in the book listed,
Aggression can be productive, and attempts to just sit on it are unsustainable and doomed to failure. There are major
form of denial in our culture and we are not allowed to talk about them “.One of the areas where Christians are weak
(unlike their Jewish brothers) is in fully owning the idea of ownership.
67
   Emergency focus. As a bushfire and disaster avoidance planner it didn’t surprise me to hear from Vic government
official recently when I asked her about how well the government was doing with protection planning – No “It’s all
emergency management,” she said.
68
  “Ownership and Authority” unpub JL Modra The bottom line here is that we teach ownership to our children (“go to
your room”, “don’t shift things in my room without asking permission”), we practise it with money every day, we put
limits on the spaces we occupy and in the most personal relationships of all we draw boundaries on our bodies.
1Corinthians 7.
69
   I am clear that stewardship on its own is not enough to motivate members of No1, let alone No2
I am not saying we should neglect stewardship talk. I am saying we need to link ownership with stewardship in the
same way Scripture does.
If you’re still not convinced about the degrading power of socialist infections, look at how our
governments are now preoccupied with handing out money in order to so-called “motivate people”.
Christian sociologists and psychologists should be up in arms over such simplicities. There is a
distinct lack of responsibility on the part of those who get, those who give, and the silent majority
who pay. Nobody properly owns their territory in the post modern world – and the government in
particular.70

Sentimental environmentalism
There is no place for sentiment in matters of science and policy on environment. Many greens will
not remain credible while they do listen to those who study and sit in discipleship to show
themselves approved.

Why have so many socialists moved their concerns from social change to the area of environment?
It’s clear that they bring some of the same inherent weaknesses identified in “The Kindness that
Kills” to their concepts of practice in this field – contradictory presumptions about human nature,
patronising support for the poor, inadequate ideas to motivatei, and no idea (as ecosystems have) of
allowing 1000 flowers to bloom (diversity) and the clincher – no idea of how to help in the tension
between the competing and cooperating components in every living space on our planet.

Confusion about the Kingdoms
The failure to support scientists in their chosen field seems to be at least in part the result of a
failure to understand the rules in each Kingdom. Clearly, when offering advice in the public square,
we should not assume the principles of K1 always work in K2.

Christians should not allow their unique view of the universe and who controls it to be influenced
by the old limited and reactionary intellectual paradigms of the moment.71 Readers should note that
Paul’s main focus in Romans 13 is on coercion. We should not carelessly offer K1 principles for
trial in K2.

Challenges to policy makers in the public square72
1. Support the role of the expert in observation to see the situation in big picture context and
    make better long term land use decisions at a local level.
2. The temptation to see the solutions to poverty in technology must be resisted even though the
    majority of people in the western world see it that way. Solutions are at hand but they involve
    the integration of science, art, law, sociology, psychology to name but a few. Policy makers
    have a role in insisting that the integrating disciplines (such as world view) are taken seriously.
3. Anyone who doesn’t take the above calling of integration and specialization seriously need
    only look at all the wasted money and effort of my generation in poverty reduction schemes
    that have in many cases undermined the needed resilience development in rural communities .
4. The ongoing desperation of our rural people means there is a lot of misguided and quick fix
    attempts to deal with their problems. Local cost-benefit risk analysis would make much better
    use of much of the money.

Disturbing inability of governments to identify and support appropriate places and bases for
coercion
1. All around us are advisors who hand out incentives but do not question the possibility of denial
    and misapplied encouragements. Our taxes are being used to give people what they want, or

70
   Technological fix mentality. Imagine if you will: Monday mornings in many offices of the bureaux of care around
the country. “What can we do to save the world today?” our visionary leader says. “What about all the work we did
last week on last week’s problem?” The mood in the office is one of “moving on”.
71
   My blog http://misplacedconcreteness.blogspot.com
72
   In recent decades we have given far too much emphasis to the participants ability to see the broad picture
      what we think they appear to need. The real question of what’s good for them or the resource
      use is commonly ignored. The same question of what’s good for the land when a person wants
      to use land for a specific purpose is now much less of an issue that it was ten years ago. This
      should not be so.

      The rights of government to prevent unsustainable use of our resources must be supported with
      an objective view of the costs those persons are incurring to people around them and the cost
      to future generations. While the talk about this matter is all around us, the logic to connect the
      bits is not.

      My table listed in Appendix 1 describes how scientists engaging in risk assessment used to
      evaluate and make recommendations for coercion by government bodies. For example, when
      a land use proposal is evaluated to Class 4 or 5, my recommendation would be to oppose it.

      While there are alternatives to this technique for establishing the risk levels associated with a
      particular use, discreet measurement of the processes would be technically very expensive.
      My confidence in imputing a risk level is based on predictable physical and chemical
      interactions. Remote sensing of plant behaviour, form and character provides a sound way of
      confirming predictions to make resilience judgements. Survival of animals on top of such
      systems is, to a large extent, based on the resilience characteristics of the unique soil, water,
      and plant systems that underlie them.

2.    A wide political consensus is necessary to ensure sound environmental practice policies are not
      modified. While this important matter is used as a political football, we can have limited hope.
      Many good intentions will not survive elections on a platform which tells people what they
      may not want so hear.73

3.    Maintain planning vigilance
      Subdivision of land is commonly a very controversial matter. As a major part of my
      professional responsibility, I came not only to see its difficult side , but its good side –
      something which most people might be amazed that one could claim. The traumas of southern
      Europe, places like Yugoslavia and failed agricultural communities are in significant measure
      a reflection of weak government policy on this matter. Without restraints on subdivision,
      agricultural land parcels become so small and so widely spread that increasing neighbourhood
      conflicts are inevitable. Poor returns to investment and unreliable supply always add to the
      potential for the final pressures of severe depression and “war” in the field.

4.    Governments need to ensure that they get a wide range of independent advice to confirm a
      high level of risk based on technical and social questions. I was privileged in the sense that I
      was able to take an objective view of the land and what it can and can’t do. The good part of
      such an objective science is that, unlike the panic often evident in the media, it does establish
      some boundaries for sustainable farming and natural conservation systems that we can all live
      with.


For next time:
Sustainable land practice is built on attitude, attitude, attitude. It’s an attitude of care that drives the
need to impose a constraining process on natural systems exploitation. If a technology truly fits the
need, it can be considered in the context of capability analysis (Appendix 1).

73
  I witnessed a prominent Christian economist do exactly that, recently, and thought: “Good on him!” Amongst
professionals this telling the truth is often an unpleasant, but necessary element of our day that can overwhelm us. To
share some of that burden with others who would understand is something we all need. See you on the net?
Observers and participants in the rural scene each have a job to do (but where are the observers in
terms of authority and responsibility?). Just respecting the spheres of responsibility of both parties
can be expected to build a sound basis to improve resilience in rural communities.

The modern preoccupation with technological solutions and political power as a means to
improving the actual situation on the ground must be questioned, particularly by believers working
in the public square. Science professionals are the only ones who can reliably evaluate resilience .
Technological solutions and political power are forms of hope and power that are often partial,
illusory and transitory. Without the will to care, the public square will still get nowhere.

Sin is still the main issue for saints and sustainability the main issue of practice for scientists and
on-ground agents.

Whatever balance is held in the future (with participants and observers, freedom and coercion), the
whole of creation will continue to groan together. Land use degradation will continue to occur.

I cannot see why the all-encompassing vision of His activity in every square inch of his 2 Kingdoms
will not still able to sustain Christians living in both, just as it has done throughout history.


                                                    A WISH

     If we could do nothing else but remind the world that the preoccupations of the production
          agriculture sector are often completely misplaced, we would do very, very well.

The adoption of a sound resilience policy in any country in the world will involve lower
expectations of what’s possible with production on agricultural land. Our communities need to
recognise that all the science of the last few hundred years has done only a very little to increase the
output per acre, but has greatly increased the risks to the environment. Lower expectations on our
lots, like they did for the Israelites, can preserve sustainable, wide-ranging, economic externalities
and elasticity for the benefit of both people and land. Rural people need the protection of sound
ownership rules much more than need handouts when things go wrong good ownership rule help
rural communities develop resilience.

Wars over property will still happen, but the risk can be lessened by building consensus around
these critical matters of ownership sharing that do not threaten complete ownership loss. Sound
support rules give people on the land the concept of some control, combined with the adventure of
risk and the reality of rest (if we all use the same rules).

There is no risk of scarcity directly associated with lower production expectations in our world.
Rather there is, with slightly lowered expectations, much more elasticity and lowered risk. Another
great plus can be the satisfaction that we are doing the right thing and actually looking after the
environment. After all, if we do exactly what we are called to do here in resource use (in not
extracting the last drop), ecosystems largely look after themselves.
i
 Richard Bauckham “The Bible and Ecology “Baylor 2010 in a up to date review makes the interesting point that even
the public use of the word stewardship is going out of fashion – changing theories of action covered a little in my
presentation .

								
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