Treasure in the Field, CEL’s 30th Anniversary Conference: 10 March 2012


Treasure in the Field : CEL’s 30th Anniversary Conference,10 March 2012 


Our 30th Anniversary Day Conference

Forum for the Future’s Jonathon Porritt and Professor Tim Gorringe from Exeter University are the keynote speakers at Christian Ecology Link’s 30th anniversary conference “Treasure in the field” on 10th March 2012 in Bristol.


The all-day event at St Michael’s Church, Stoke Gifford, will explore alternative sustainable ways of being that will help to heal our ravaged world, with workshops facilitated by a range of Christian ecologists; sustainability leaders such as Chris Sunderland of the EarthAbbey community and Jonathan Essex of the Greenhouse think tank.


Sustaining our Souls


In these volatile economic times, with pressing environmental problems resulting from pollution and increasingly difficult weather and rainfall extremes, what are the natural assets we can rely on to see us through ?


We are putting the resources of the world at risk by over-production, spending the natural capital on which our children depend – not to mention the other species in our trust. Whether oil, metal, water or nutrients, it’s time to “leave it in the ground” and become treasurers, not consumers, of the earth. That requires investing in the resource of ultimate value – spiritual capital.


Treasure in the field : spiritual capital and sustainable living


Jonathon Porritt in his book “Capitalism As If The World Matters”, identified that besides financial capital, there is the natural capital of the mineral and biosystem resources of the Earth, plus the capital of human skills and social organisation, together with the built environment, infrastructure and technology – “manufactured capital”.


And yet despite all this wealth, he identified a further crucial resource. “Although there are many for whom the very idea of spiritual capacity will trigger intellectual disdain or outright hostility, others have suggested that the Five Capitals Framework should really be a six capitals framework – with spiritual capital or moral capital designated as a separate capital stock of its own.”


Porritt argues that “spiritual capital” developed through a spiritual “renaissance” can help achieve true sustainability. He says, “Today’s so-called ‘ecological crisis’ is in essence a crisis of the human spirit. As we have degraded the Earth, so we corrupted our souls, caught up in a frenzy of suicidal consumerism.”


The Great Transition to True Sustainability


The “Treasure in the field” conference will look at the transition to a low carbon energy economy, the reduction of energy and material waste, and the re-localised life, with community-scale solutions. To achieve all these changes and to adapt to new realities, we need to build up our internal strength to enable us to maintain our personal motivation, to cope with setbacks and to avoid despair.


Chris Sunderland of the EarthAbbey community, one of the “Treasure in the field” workshop leaders believes that “The environmental challenges that we face today are so profound they can only be properly understood in terms of spiritual transformation. My three watchwords for worthwhile development are deep, slow and real.”


“Locally United”


To put true sustainability into action Jonathan Essex of the Greenhouse think tank proposes that “We can live within limits globally if we create and share that possibility from household actions to community actions and council commitment. Let’s practice the Art of the Possible. Local actions, political influence and campaigns can work together to transform not just what happens in one place – but believing sufficient change is possible and committing this into action is the only way we can change the world.”


Edward Echlin, author of the book “Climate and Christ”, and facilitator at the conference, claims that for sustainable sufficiency in food production we need “Hands and hearts in the soil, even in high rises – that’s where that parsley pot comes in !”


Shaping Up


Over 100 people have already signed up to attend the day conference,

being held in Stoke Gifford on 10th March, and we still have a few

spaces left to fill.


The ticket price on the door is £15.00, with a discount for CEL Members to make it £10.00. Younger people under the age of 25 can attend the whole day for just £5.00.


CEL’s longtime patron Jonathon Porritt is the keynote speaker with a response from well-known environmental theologian Professor Tim Gorringe. Workshops will be led by a fantastic line up of well known speakers: Tim Gorringe, Chris Sunderland (EarthAbbey), Jeremy Williams (Breathe), Edward Echlin (eco-theologian and author), Mark Letcher (Climate Works) and Jonathan Essex (Greenhouse think-tank).


CEL’s Secretary Barbara Echlin will facilitate the afternoon workshop programme and Catholic environmental writer Ellen Teague will chair the morning discussions.


The “Treasure in the field : spiritual capital and sustainable living” conference will be held on Saturday 10th March 2012, from 11am to 5pm at St Michael’s Church, Stoke Gifford BS34 8PD – a short walk from Bristol Parkway train station.


Workshops will include : Green economics; consumer detox; eco-food growing; contemplative activism and more.


Further details can be provided by telephoning 0845 45 98 460, and a booking form can be obtained by sending an email to or downloading from:-



Author: poppy | Date: 27 February, 2012 | Category: Media Release | Comments: 0

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