Mission Statement

Our Mission Statement is.

To work with people of faith and with churches to provide technically sound leadership in response to the predicaments of a finite world.

People of Faith


The materials at this site are directed primarily to people of faith who are aware of the seriousness of the predicaments that we face, particularly with regard to climate change. However, they hear so many conflicting messages that they are unsure as to how serious these changes or how they and their communities may be affected. They want to know the truth. They also want guidance as to how they can respond, and how they can best provide badly needed leadership.

The term “people of faith” also includes those who are aware of the seriousness of the issues that we face, and who realize that science and technology have reached their limit — they can no longer solve our problems. Indeed, the application of more science and technology is likely to make the situation worse. These people may start to think about the spiritual dimension of our dilemmas.

Churches


The response to the predicaments we face can be either bottom-up (people working by themselves or in small groups), or it can be top-down. Both approaches are needed. The top-down approach often means working within existing large organizations, including the church.
 

Technically Sound

The issues we discuss at this site are technically very complex and difficult to understand. Most church leaders do not have a background in mathematics, science or technology. Therefore, there is a danger that they could promote programs that are unrealistic and that simply will not work.

The post Engineering and Project Management Realities provides an example of this concern. In the year 2019 the Episcopal Church (USA) issued a policy statement to do with renewable energy. On its surface, the statement is something that we can all support. However, an analysis of the proposal with regard to energy and project management basics shows that it is not technically feasible. Nor does it recognize project management realities.

Figuring out the reality of which solutions are realistic is an enormous and very complex topic. It is an issue discussed in depth at the Sutton Technical Books site, specifically with regard to the Net Zero programs that many governments and large companies are implementing.

Predicaments

A fundamental premise of the work at this site, the book and the blog is that we face predicaments, not problems. Problems have solutions, predicaments do not. When faced with a predicament we can respond and adapt, but we cannot make it go away.  It is this way of thinking that lies at the basis of the second theological point, Accept and Adapt.

Finite World


We live in a finite world. We are using up the earth’s resources — once they are gone, they are gone. The resource that receives the most attention is crude oil (‘Peak Oil’). However, we are using up many other resources such as fresh water in underground aquifers, rare earth metals used in electronic devices, and even living resources such as forests and fish in the sea (these are renewable in principle, but we are using them up far more quickly than they can replace themselves). We are also filling up the finite environment with waste products. (Of these the most serious is carbon dioxide, CO2, in the atmosphere, but there are many others.)

 

One consequence of our actions is that we are degrading and destroying the biosphere — ranging from coral reefs, to the Amazon rain forest, to iconic animals such as polar bears, to what maybe the most important — the insect population.

Another term that is used at this site to describe this dilemma is ‘Age of Limits’. Moreover, these limits are linked to one another, often in difficult-to-identify ways. A more detailed description of these issues is provided in the article An Age of Limits.

Social Justice

One topic that is not in the Mission Statement is social justice. This is not because the subject is not important — indeed, it is of central importance, particularly to people of faith. Those at the lower end of the economic scale are usually affected the most severely by events such as climate change. Yet the changes that we discuss are going to affect everyone, regardless of their social or economic standing. Our response needs to be for society as a whole.