July 29, 2014

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Cornwall Alliance?

The Cornwall Alliance is a coalition of clergy, theologians, religious leaders, scientists, economists, academics, and policy experts committed to bringing a proper and balanced Biblical view of stewardship to the critical issues of environment and development. More….

Is the Alliance affiliated with any church?

No, the Cornwall Alliance is an independent coalition which draws support and seeks to have outreach within a broad array of religious communities.  It invites all those who share a Biblical, Judeo-Christian perspective on stewardship to participate in its activities.

The Alliance points to three key concepts: Dominion, Stewardship and Conservation. What do these mean?

Dominion refers to man’s unique role as sovereign over the Earth and its creatures, as spelled out in the Book of Genesis. Dominion, however, does not mean domination, in the sense of an immoral and wasteful use of Creation. Here is where stewardship, the enlightened and grateful possession of God’s gifts, rises to importance. Conservation, of course, refers to the prudent development and care of natural resources and especially the avoidance of unnecessary waste. More….

You refer to the Cornwall Declaration as a guiding philosophy. What does it say?

The Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship, published in the year 2000, has been endorsed by some 1,500 clergy, theologians, policy leaders, and other people of faith. It first seeks to correct some common misunderstandings that are frequently observed in the field of environmental ethics. One is that “many people mistakenly view humans as principally consumers and polluters rather than producers and stewards,” and another is the perception that “the earth, untouched by human hands, is ideal.”  The Declaration then lays forth a series of Biblical beliefs and aspirations regarding sound stewardship, to achieve a world “in which human beings care wisely and humbly for all creatures, first and foremost for their fellow human beings.” More….

Who are some of the Cornwall Declaration‘s more prominent signers?

The Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship has been signed by such leaders as Dr. Charles Colson, Dr. James Dobson, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Rabbi Jacob Neusner, Dr. R.C. Sproul, Rev. Robert Sirico, Dr. Richard Land, Rabbi David Novak, Dr. Marvin Olasky, Dr. Beverly LaHaye, the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, and the late Dr. William Bright. See a list of other notable signers.

What kinds of issues does the Alliance tackle?

Environmental issues are inextricably bound up with a host of important policy questions touching on population and poverty, food production, economic development, energy generation, clean water, and endangered species and habitat. The Cornwall Alliance believes that these important issues demand clear theological reflection, as well as the insights of scientists and policy experts.  This is especially critical because, as the Cornwall Declaration notes, it is the poor who are often the ones most affected by well-intended, but misguided, public policies to combat exaggerated risks.

What are some examples of this?

One would be the issue of malaria, which annually infects 500 million people in developing countries and kills over 1 million, mostly children and pregnant women, and mostly in Africa. It should be a relatively easy disease to control, compared to AIDS and tuberculosis. However, because of misplaced environmental concerns, health agencies have generally refused to follow the example of South Africa, which slashed its malaria rates by 96% in just three years – using tiny quantities of DDT, in combination with modern drugs. Recently, many Cornwall Alliance members joined Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu and hundreds of other clergy, scientists and infectious disease experts in backing the Kill Malarial Mosquitoes NOW campaign, which would change government policies and help save literally millions of lives.

Another example would be global warming. The Earth has warmed and cooled many times in the past and, right now, is warming slightly once again. However, scientists cannot say how much of this warming is due to human versus natural factors, how much temperatures might increase over the next 50-100 years, or whether the effects will be positive, negative or mixed. There is growing consensus, though, that the Kyoto Protocol, or other measures demanding mandatory caps on carbon emissions, would cost hundreds of billions of dollars annually, while doing little to slow or reverse any human component of warming. These economic effects would be felt most acutely by the poor, as rising energy prices affect jobs, family budgets – and even access to electricity in developing nations. Improving our understanding of the climate, while reducing emissions, sustaining economic prosperity and safeguarding the poor, is a matter of deep concern for many Cornwall Alliance members.

Besides policy work, what else does the Cornwall Alliance do?

The Alliance links members in an informal meeting place to analyze, discuss and debate contemporary issues of stewardship and ecology. It maintains a web site as a rich deposit of resources on environmental policy and ethical thinking. The Alliance also serves as a clearinghouse for articles, reports, sermons, Sunday School curricula and other helpful resources. In addition, the Alliance is beginning to work on the ground in developing nations with like-minded organizations and congregations to bring long-term economic and environmental prosperity to local villages and other impoverished communities. What’s more, the Cornwall Alliance’s distinguished advisory board provides articulate clergy, scientists, economists and other experts to the secular and religious media for expert commentary.

How can I support the Cornwall Alliance?

Tax-deductible contributions can be made quickly and securely online, or mailed to:

Cornwall Alliance
9302-C Old Keene Mill Road
Burke, VA 22015


You can also help spread Cornwall’s message of Biblical stewardship within your church, denomination, or community. The Cornwall Alliance is a coalition of organizations and individuals like you, and much of our work is undertaken through partner involvement for projects, publications, and public outreach on a voluntary and as-needed basis.