Carmody Grey Talk: The Ethical Basis of Civil Resistance

Dr Carmody Grey, Assistant Professor of Catholic Theology at Durham University, recently gave a talk on the Ethical Basis of Civil Resistance.

It wasn’t organised by Christian Climate Action, but we think many people will find it useful.

See below for a review of the talk.

The Ethical Basis for Civil Resistance, a review
In this talk, “The Ethical Basis for Civil Resistance”, Carmody Grey leads us on to the hallowed ground of what it is to be human. She holds up a light to what it is that really motivates us. Her aim is nothing less than reclaiming a vision for human life that will have the potential to save us.

Near the outset, she quotes the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres. He says that the latest IPCC report is “an atlas of human suffering” and “an indictment of failed leadership.” In his words, “Delay means death.”

It is not the facts of the climate crisis that will make a difference, Carmody tells us. It is not loving nature more. She encourages us to think deeper. She leads us down a path back to ourselves, by way of our ancient traditions, our faith communities.

We are invited to enter into this urgent dialogue. What values will be at the heart of the
environmental movement’s civil resistance, at this critical moment in history? What ground do we stand upon that then impels us to break the law?

Come and spend an hour of your time with Carmody and Roger Hallam. Join them as fellow pilgrims in this barren time, as together we try to find a way back into community. Can we find the basis for a meaningful existence, in a time of dereliction of duty?

I was energised by Carmody’s talk of values, her sharing of some of her own philosophical journey in relation to civil resistance.

As Roger says at the end of the evening, Carmody is trying to communicate the roots of the stories that will give us the motivation, the fearlessness and power to do what we have to do.

Carmody delves deep into the Christian tradition and provides us with a rallying cry from St.
Augustine, “Tell me what you love and I will tell you who you are.”

We are in the crucible. I believe what emerges from this time onwards will be the most elemental form of human solidarity, a sacred commitment, and something that stands the test of time.

In the Q&A’s afterwards, Carmody leads us, by way of Bonhoeffer, onto the ground of sacrificial love. She tells us, “Taking action at this time is painful and costly and we will be troubled. It’s proper that we’re troubled, because the costs are real. But the fact is we don’t have an alternative.”

One thought on “Carmody Grey Talk: The Ethical Basis of Civil Resistance

  1. Karin Weetman says:

    Carmody at her bleakest. Why don’t more people join climate action groups?That’s a question posed here.
    Great summary thanks but other things stood out for me..
    I heard:-

    1. FACTS AND FIGURES alone don’t work.
    Can we add things that attract like:
    Check out the one told about mankind running towards a cliff edge, saying our goodbyes to each other and speeding up the closer we get to the edge.
    2. Attach stories to people’s VALUES. What are they today?!
    3.Share a positive VISION of what life might be like if we act now. ( negativity shuts people down)
    4. People today have lost LOVE of self and neighbour. ( We stopped caring)
    5. We need to help convince them that MANKIND IS WORTH SAVING….
    God thought so….

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