Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sidelining God: why secular climate projects in the Pacific Islands are failing

Unless you are cocooned in a tourist bubble, it is hardly possible to miss God when you visit the Pacific Islands. In every village and on every main street there seems to be a church or temple, packed to bursting point on holy days. It is testament to the considerable influence of spirituality on the way people live in the Pacific.
Church and climate: two issues that are close to many Pacific Islanders’ hearts. 
Yet almost every well-intentioned outside agency – including those of foreign governments such as Australia and the European Union – that seeks to help the region’s people adapt to the effects of future climate change is drawing up its plans in secular ways, and communicates using secular language.
Over some 30 years, most such interventions have failed, proving neither effective nor sustainable. The answer to the question “why” may in part lie in the sidelining of God.

At this point, conversations with representatives of donor organisations often become awkward. Why, they ask, should spirituality have any role in a problem like climate-change adaptation or disaster risk management, which is so clearly framed in human, secular terms?
Read the article on The Conversation by the Professor of Geography, Australian Centre for Pacific Islands Research and Sustainability Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Patrick D. Dunn - ”Sidelining God: why secular climate projects in the Pacific Islands are failing.”

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