2016 saw the project kick off with the first of a series of conferences: ‘Energy and the Earth: Fracking, Climate Change and Stewardship’. It was an immensely enjoyable three days with a range of perspectives on offer. In the morning of day two delegates listened with keen interest to Prof. Richard Davies’ talk ‘Fracked or Fiction – so what are the risks of fracking?’. He shared with us some of the research that he and scientists from other institutions have been doing on the risks of fracking.
In the afternoon delegates were treated to a lab tour of Durham Earth Sciences Department as well as hearing talks from staff members on topics such as geohazards, ancient civilizations, minerals and rocks.
Day three had more of a theological flavour with a talk by Dr Ruth Valerio on stewardship and the ecological aspects of Genesis. This was followed by talks from Prof. Bob White on climate change and Revd Michael Roberts on fracking. Prof. Bob White emphasised that humans have to take responsibility in helping to reduce the impact of natural disasters. Earthquakes and volcanoes are a natural part of Earth’s environment but we must intervene to protect the societies that these can wreak havoc on.
In the afternoon, all three speakers were brought together for a panel discussion based on the themes covered during the event. Delegates also usefully asked about the implications of the conference for Church engagement in energy-related public policy. This discussion will continue to take place now that the conference has finished.
Over the next few months we will be adding the filmed conference lectures and additional speaker interviews – so watch this space! In the meantime if you want to see any sessions from our previous conferences please visit the ‘Resources’ tab.
For those of you who would like to know more about the themes discussed during the conference why not visit Prof. Tom McLeish’s blog post ‘Earth Scientists, Bishops and Fracking – a heady mix at Durham!’.