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The relevance of stewardship in contemporary Anglican theology to sustainability planning Dampier, Paige Allison Bain

Abstract

The basis for this research project is my belief that the planet is in ecological crisis. This crisis has been brought about by an unhealthy vision for humanity as dominators of the ecosphere. The vision manifests itself in a belief that further scientific and technological advances will result in solutions to the 'environmental problem'. As a response to this position, this research project examines stewardship, from an Anglican theological understanding, as an alternative to the current paradigm. A stewardship response to the ecological crisis does not look to technology for solutions, but rather bases its strategies in behavioural change at the level of the individual and then the individual in community. I used theological and archival sources as well as accounts from volunteers and staff from two local Anglican dioceses and two parishes to develop a concept of stewardship that might be appropriate for use by planners. I recognized that the stewardship model developed within the thesis is but one of any number of possible alternative paradigms that could and should be pursued. What emerges is an understanding that stewardship is a valid and powerful model for behavioural change, especially when sustainability planning concepts are incorporated into it for use in long-term planning for community vision. When this partnership between disciplines occurs, behavioural change becomes a real possibility and a cause for hope. Transformative theory stands as a rallying point for stewardship alongside many other paradigms to work together to change the balance of power. The role of the planner emerges as one of mediator and facilitator within a context of multiple knowledges working towards a common goal.

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