Geoff Davies: “I have a dream for SA in 2017…”

By Geoff Davies*

I have a dream that…

The world – not just South Africa – turns to making the well-being of people and planet the goal of life – not financial profit.

We recognise that the three core concerns of sustainable development – society, environment and economics (or people, planet and profit!) – must be held in balance, ending the domination of economics (profit) in all our endeavours.

I have a dream for SA in 2017 that…

  • We actively pursue the Biblical principles of justice and equity and overcome the gross financial inequalities found in our present economic system, with South Africa being among the most unequal in the world.  
  • Government implements a Basic Income Grant.
  • The principles of justice and equity are applied to all of life, not only human.
  • We develop Earth Jurisprudence so that all life can receive legal protection.
  • We recognise that we are integrally part of the web of life and cannot survive without our life-support systems given to us by planet Earth – our only home – of which we are a part and cannot survive without the amazing diversity of life on this planet.
  • Faith communities come together to provide the ethical leadership needed for our nation.
  • That government works with faith communities to regain our moral compass.
  • Government acts on the call for Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu to be awarded South Africa’s highest civilian honour that he so richly deserves, and is able to celebrate this with the Dalai Lama in attendance.
  • The ANC regains its moral values and voice to work for the good of the country and not just for the benefit of its privileged leaders.
  • We turn to renewable energy and abandon the highly irresponsible plans for nuclear energy, on which the Department of Energy has already spent R220 million.
  • The ANC recognises the damage and danger President Zuma is putting our country in, particularly in his pursuit of a nuclear deal, and replaces him with an ethical leader who works for the good of all in our country. This must happen before he or Eskom sign a nuclear deal.  
  • South Africa – and the world – takes climate change seriously and weans itself off fossil fuels, recognising the damage coal mining and fracking do to the land and water resources, never mind polluting the atmosphere with the burning of fossil fuels.
  • We bring about a dramatic transformation and improvement in the education of our children, so that we can at least be on a par with neighbouring countries who have far smaller budgets but far better results.
  • We recognise that we have fulfilled the command to “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28) and that we must be responsible about the number of children we bring into this world. Young women should receive a grant for NOT having a child.
  • We care for our natural resources, conscious that we must pass them on to future generations. We cannot use all our resources, whether minerals or marine or forests, as if there were no next generation.
  • We do our best to ensure there is no future destruction of threatened habitats and extinctions of fauna and flora. Extinction is forever. We cannot and must not be the cause of extinction of animals or plants.
  • We end racism. Appointments should be made on the grounds of ability and competence. We are not competing against each other, but the world and therefore must make the best use of the many wonderful people in our country, regardless of race, colour, language, tribe or faith. This is also where education is so important and where we recognise the need for ethical leaders to mentor the next generation.

*Geoff Davies was Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Umzimvubu in the Eastern Cape for 17 years. With the Drakensberg Mountains to the north and the Pondoland Wild Coast to the south his environmental concerns intensified. When Mr Nazir Alli of SANRAL announced his intention to build the Wild Coast N2 toll road, he became involved in the campaign to sustain the Wild Coast, an ongoing battle, intensified with the determination of the government to mine Titanium, against the expressed wishes of the local communities. On retiring in 2005 he founded the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI), which is distinctive in two respects. It is multi-faith, with representatives of the major faiths of southern Africa, and brings together faith and environmentalism. The cherishing of all life is its overarching theme.