Why have the conference?

There is a scientific consensus that climate change presents a real threat to a growing proportion of the human population and natural biodiversity. The Bible has much to say about a right relationship with God's creation, though much of it is not often heard nor obeyed. This one-day conference examines the science and theology of climate change and sets out to show how the physical salvation of the planet and the spiritual health of the Christian community are surprisingly interconnected.

Whilst scientists and voluntary sector organisations with relevant expertise warn us of the ever greater need for action, government, business and individuals are stuck in a stalemate with each waiting for the others to move first. Individuals are looking for leadership from government and business. Government is waiting for "low carbon votes" and business is waiting for a "low carbon market". Christians can help break the stalemate by learning about the impact of their behaviour and adjusting their lifestyle accordingly. If a substantial number of Christians in Edinburgh decide to live a radically low carbon life, this will "pump prime" the low carbon market and attract the interest of politicians.

Being "early adopters" of the low carbon lifestyle of the future may be costly in terms of sacrificing some of the carbon intensive luxuries we take for granted today. But isn't turning away from conventional consumerism, exactly what the Bible asks Christians to do anyway? This is the long-forgotten spiritual discipline of frugality. Maybe tackling climate change is a real opportunity for spiritual growth for many Christians who have got caught up in the consumer society.

Historically, Christianity has led the way in a number of social revolutions, for example the emancipation of slaves and the provision of school education for children. This conference aims to equip environmentally-aware Christians in Edinburgh to start the long journey to emancipate the world from carbon-slavery, a slave-master which, if unchecked, will cause untold destruction. The conference will provide a sound spiritual, theoretical and practical basis for hope and positive action as well as making vital connections between Christians and churches.