• Germain Grisez’s natural law and creation theology as a framework for reflection on climate change and the ecological crisis

      Clough, David; Deane-Drummond, Celia; Turvey, Jacaranda L. (University of Liverpool, 2016-01)
      My thesis is that a recovery of Germain Grisez’s theological ethics in relation to the environment and the application of his conservative Catholic methodology to climate change can yield a novel and significant contribution to Catholic theological reflection on this central challenge in an age of ecological crisis. This thesis argues that climate change and the wider ecological crisis are ‘signs of the times’—and hence are appropriate issues for Catholic theological reflection—both in principle and on the basis of their classification as such within the authoritative teaching of the Church’s magisterium. The scientific evidence for the phenomenon of anthropogenic global warming is robust and the UNFCCC establishes a collective legal obligation to deliver a greenhouse gas abatement strategy rigorous enough to prevent ‘dangerous anthropogenic interference with the earth’s climatic system’. This thesis questions both the assumption of endemic anthropocentricism in the Judeo-Christian tradition and the critical-revisionist methodology adopted by a number of ecotheologians in relation to Vatican teaching on the basis of this assumption. This thesis proposes an alternative approach to reflection on ecological issues employing a conservative Catholic theological method exemplified in the work of Germain Grisez. This thesis proposes a rereading of Grisez’s natural law through the lens of his creation theology that reveals an important and hitherto overlooked resource for environmental ethics. Although Grisez himself does not address the climate challenge in his published work, this thesis shows that his ecological insights are pertinent to the issue and application of his theological method can contribute constructively to the wider project of confronting the climate crisis from a Catholic perspective. This thesis further argues that Grisez’s reconstruction of natural law is viable, in that it represents one philosophically cogent solution to the naturalistic fallacy, and that neither his choice of this solution nor his divergence from Classical Thomism compromise the construction of a ‘Grisez School environmental ethics’. In addition, his natural law has the virtue of catholicity in its capacity to contribute to ecumenical and secular debates necessary to the resolution of the climate crisis.
    • Society and the land - the changing landscape of Baschurch, North Shropshire c.1550-2000

      White, Graeme J.; Varey, Sharon M. (University of LiverpoolUniversity of Chester, 2008-12)
      This study focuses upon elements of continuity and change in the developing landscape of the parish of Baschurch in north Shropshire during the period c.1550-2000. In considering a relatively neglected part of the English rural landscape, the writer examines whether landscape change in this area was unique or mirrored experiences in neighbouring parishes and the county as a whole. Shropshire as a county is understudied in terms of its landscape history and so this research project aims to redress this balance, whilst at the same time contributing to the growth of knowledge regarding rural landscape studies generally. The writer examines the themes of population, farm and fieldscape, land use, settlement and buildings, and transport. Analysis draws upon a wide range of documentary sources including a large collection of probate inventories, existing primary and secondary literature and oral testimonies, alongside an examination of structures and features in the present landscape. Analysis reveals the diverse nature of the landscape of the parish. It exhibits varying patterns of landownership, enclosure, field systems, land use and settlement. Research shows that in some instances experiences mirror those exhibited by neighbouring parishes: for example with regard to the enclosure of open arable lands, the rise of dairy farming and the emergence of settlement in areas of former woodland. Overall, this research demonstrates the importance of landownership during the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries in influencing the extent of landscape change. Landowner involvement affected field systems, farm size, land use, settlements and emerging transport networks. Research shows that single landownership of a township has often led to landscape change, whereas change has occurred more slowly, or has been inhibited, in areas exhibiting multiple landownership. This study reveals that during the twentieth century the role of the dominant landowner as a major influence on the landscape has been superseded by local government planning departments. Although subject to landowner involvement, the importance of transport developments in understanding landscape change is also highlighted. In addition to enhancing our knowledge of the rural landscape of north Shropshire, this research project reveals that through its varying patterns of landownership, field systems and settlements, the parish of Baschurch is a microcosm of the west midlands and borderlands landscape as a whole.