Nature in the Balance – March 2017

Nature in the balance. Can we put a value on the environment, and should we?

Nature in the Balance

What is the value of non-human nature? Does it only have value if it is useful to humans? In the early 2000s the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment popularized a concept known as Ecosystem Services, defined as ‘the benefits people obtain from ecosystems’. Four categories of services were included: supporting; provisioning; regulating; and cultural. The Ecosystem Services framework has become the dominant thinking in nature conservation, but is highly anthropocentric, focusing on value to humans. Moreover, it encourages attempts to put monetary value on various aspects of the environment, to incentivise conservation. But are there other ways to protect nature? Does our environment have intrinsic value, and how is it valuable to God? In this conference we investigate different views on valuing nature. We will begin by carefully explaining the Ecosystem Services concept. We will then explore the theological and ethical implications of this idea, and whether other frameworks might be preferable. In our seminars we will explore some of the practical outworking of environmental ethics and theology in more detail. This conference will be of interest to Christians and others who have an interest in nature conservation and the environment. It is intended to deepen our thinking as we respond to the present environmental crisis.

Our Annual Conference for 2017 will again be held in Bournville, Birmingham in collaboration with ForMission College. This year we will be in the dedicated conference facility at the College. The date will be Saturday 18th March 2017 from 9.30am to 4.30pm. Our keynote speakers are:  Dr. Darren Evans “Ecosystem Services: managing nature for human benefit.”; Prof. Richard Bauckham “Why do other creatures matter?”; and Rev. Dave Bookless “Biblical Wisdom for Nature Conservation.” We also have a wonderful line-up of seminars, and for more details see the ForMission Conference Page. The price for the day including full lunch and refreshments is £48, and bookings can now be made securely online via Eventbrite. We anticipate high demand for places and early booking is advisable. We also have a conference Facebook Event Page. If you would like to download a printable flyer for the conference one is available from this link. This also provides details on how to book by post for those not wishing to use the online facility.