About Me

Environmentalist and theologian, social activist and author.

I am Global Advocacy and Influencing Director for Tearfund and carry a vision to inspire and equip people to a whole-life response to environmental breakdown and poverty, helping build a movement that brings about lasting change on the issues that impact the poorest and most vulnerable, and that creates a flourishing natural world.

I have a particular interest in environmental issues and long to see the culture of the Church change so that caring for the earth becomes an integral part of church life, rather than an optional extra. To that end, before Tearfund, I was Churches and Theology Director for A Rocha UK, an organisation that works for the protection and restoration of the natural world, and I spearheaded Eco Church, which helps churches do just that. I am the co-founder of the Oikos Network: a global network of peer mentoring groups for environmental leaders from countries across the world.

Academically, I have a theology degree from Cambridge and a doctorate from Kings College London, in which I looked at simplicity and consumerism and particularly at the relationship between Thomas Aquinas’ virtues of temperance and justice. I also hold honorary doctorates from the Universities of Winchester and Chichester and am Canon Theologian at Rochester Cathedral.

I have written extensively on justice, environment and lifestyle issues. See the Publications pages for more information. I enjoy public speaking and am a regular media contributor.

I live in the south of England with my family. We live on a social housing estate and a lot of my adult life has been spent investing into that community, chairing the Community Association and being part of a group of residents who together have transformed the area into a lovely place in which to live.

My Christian faith and spirituality are central to my life, and from this bedrock comes a deep desire to work for social justice, equality and ecological flourishing. My home church is part of the 24/7 Prayer network of churches, but I feel comfortable  connecting across denominations and church networks, and am also very comfortable outside the faith sphere too!

I do my best to practice what I preach, and over the years we have had a lot of fun as a family experimenting with ways of living as lightly as possible: producing our own meat through a pig cooperative (though not any longer since we have now stopped eating meat at home); growing our own veg and supporting a local organic veg grower; installing solar panels; thinking through how we holiday, switching to an electric car, and moving away from single-use plastic, to name just some of the things we have done. The Green Living pages come out of what we have learnt and I hope you will enjoy exploring those.


  • Reply Neil October 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Ruth I found your blog at last… I see you found ours. I’ve put a link to yours on ours as well as your kind review.

  • Reply Peter Scholtens November 3, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Hi Ruth,

    Great to see another A Rocha contact with a blog. Keep up the good work!


    • Reply ruthvalerio November 4, 2012 at 10:04 pm

      Thanks Peter, good to meet you here. Glad you like the blog – do spread the word about it, that’d be really nice for me. ATB, Ruth

  • Reply Just What is Repentence? By Ruth Valario | Breathe March 4, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    […] This blog originally appeared on Ruth’s own blog. Ruth describes herself as: A Community activist, Christian, academic, eco-warrior, mum, author, veg grower, wife and pig keeper rolled into one. Click here for her full profile. […]

  • Reply Saving Salvation: Just what do we really mean? | Breathe March 22, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    […] blog post is coming out of thinking Ruth is doing for the Spring Harvest 2013 event: ‘The Source: Encountering Jesus Today’, at which […]

  • Reply Jesus and the Peaceable Kingdom – By Ruth Valario | Breathe March 25, 2013 at 11:59 am

    […] post originally appeared on Ruth Valario’s blog. We are very Grateful to Ruth for these excellent pieces of thought and action provoking […]

  • Reply Philippa Sewell October 24, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Really looking forward to you visiting Heacham, land of Lavender, and having you at Heacham Green Team’s Living Lightly event (wonder where we got that event title from) on 2 November.

    • Reply ruthvalerio October 25, 2013 at 9:38 am

      thanks Philippa, it’ll be nice to meet you

  • Reply Philippa Sewell November 4, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Thank you for attending our event in Norfolk, best way to sum up your talk is “inspirational common sense”

    • Reply ruthvalerio November 6, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      Thanks so much, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply parsnips and peak oil | Joanna Dobson December 4, 2013 at 9:12 am

    […] of my top must-read bloggers is Ruth Valerio. I don’t imagine there are many highly qualified theologians who also run pig-keeping […]

    • Reply Martin Horton April 24, 2019 at 12:14 pm

      What a cracking title for a blog. Certainly caught my attention 🙂

  • Reply Martin "Pod" Podmore January 2, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Hi Ruth! Friends of mine from Christ Church in St Albans have spoken very highly of you and I wondered if there might be any mileage in us connecting. I am a very new Eden team leader (part of the Eden Network and The Message Trust, if you know it?) in Wheatley, Doncaster and seeking the Lord for ways to bring hope, blessing, transformation, healing and salvation to this very small estate. It is pretty run-down and overall not very middle class (sorry for using such a crude description but I hope you know what I mean). A friend said you have seen significant transformation where you are, so praise Jesus for that/you! I am particularly keen to use loads of different “servant evangelism” to reach out to the locals in practical ways. Do you think we might be able to benefit from a little contact with each other? God bless you in all you do, and may the Lord lift you up today and always (Zephaniah 3:17). Cheers, Pod (Martin Podmore) x

  • Reply ruthvalerio January 4, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Hi Pod, nice to hear from you. Send me an email (ruth@ruthvalerio.net) and then I’ll give you my phone number and we can have a chat at some point. Would be great to connect. All the best, Ruth

  • Reply Revive Day Away: our contributors | revive leeds January 23, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    […] everyone!Have a look at these linkshttps://ruthvalerio.net/about-me/http://blog.gregvalerio.com/the-fair-trade-jeweller/This should tell you a little bit about Greg and […]

  • Reply just Gai January 28, 2014 at 12:40 am

    Your talks were the highlight of the Global Awareness Conference in Bristol last weekend and have spurred me on to reconsider my food habits. I look forward to further inspiration from following your blog.

  • Reply ruthvalerio January 28, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Oh, thank you, that’s ever so kind of you to be in touch and let me know that. I hope the inspiration continues! All the best.

  • Reply Kitchen-Counter-Culture February 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Go Girl!

  • Reply James Woodcock June 7, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Hi Ruth
    I was really interested to read about your PhD thesis. Is it available on line?
    Many thanks, James

    • Reply ruthvalerio June 7, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      Hello James, not it’s not, sorry, although I’ll be turning into a book when I can get round to it! But, I’m more than happy to email you over a copy if you want to give me your email address. All the best, Ruth

  • Reply Clive Russell January 9, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Dear Ruth,
    Apologies for not getting to speak to you after your excellent and inspiring talk this morning. I wanted to understand your comment about stewardship being contrary to biblical teaching. Is this something you can discuss by email or would you prefer not to?

    Kind regards,

    • Reply ruthvalerio January 10, 2015 at 9:55 am

      Hi Clive, yes very happy to discuss by email (ruth@ruthvalerio.net). I knew as I was making it that I shouldn’t make such a throwaway comment without having the time to unpack it but it slipped out before I could help myself (and ‘contrary’ isn’t quite the word I’d use)! Thanks for your kind comments about my talk and I’ll look forward to hearing from you. All the best.

  • Reply Harry Macdonald November 4, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Hi Ruth, looking forward to hearing you at the Canterbury Diocesan Synod.
    The link to A Rocha in your introduction comes up with “page not found”. Can you advise a better link.

    • Reply ruthvalerio November 4, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      Hello Harry, that’s helpful to know, thank you. I’ve fixed it now so do take a look. All the best, I’ll look forward to meeting you in Canterbury (or thereabouts!).

  • Reply cara mengoptimasi blog January 24, 2016 at 12:25 am

    Hello my family member! I wish to say that this post is amazing,
    great written and come with almost all significant infos.

    I would like to see extra posts like this .

  • Reply Paul Ballard April 22, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Dear Ruth,
    I hope this is the right way to get in touch.
    I am Secy. to the Peterborough Eco-faith Network which is a small ginger group coming out of Churches Together in Central Peterborough. We can be lined up with either through CTiCP or Eco-faith web sites.
    On October 9 we are responsible for an ecumenical service in the evening. It should be an opportunity to make further impact on the churches which are by and large complacent about sustainability etc.
    Would you be free to come and speak at this occasion? We can cover fares and, if required, hospitality and a fee, though we run on an empty tank.
    Please let me know you answer in principle and the we can work out details from then on.
    Yours most gratefully,

    • Reply ruthvalerio April 22, 2016 at 8:02 pm

      Hello Paul, thank you for this. I’ll be in touch via email and we can take it from there. All the best, Ruth

  • Reply Stan L LeQuire April 23, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Hi, Ruth, I am a spiritual formation professor who in the past has used your podcast, “Mission and the Environment.” However, I can no longer find it online. It used to be posted on the Nomad site. Any ideas on how I can get my students to continue listening to this great resource? Cheers! Stan LeQuire

    • Reply ruthvalerio April 23, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      Gosh, I’m afraid I’m not sure, Stan. I can’t remember what that podcast was. Have you been in touch with the Nomad site? Remind me what the podcast was (where was I?) and maybe it’ll jog my memory!

  • Reply Hubert Meisinger July 1, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Hi Ruth,

    I am a German minister and I work as director for environmental affairs at the Centre Social Responsibility of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau which belongs to the Protestant Church in Germany. I was a member of the “Advisory Commission for Development” of the Protestant Church in Germany from 2009-2015 – for publications translated into English, please, see: http://www.ekd.de/english/texts.html, especially texts 122 (Guiding Principles for Sustainable Development), 121 (Agriculture and Food Security), 117 (Global Governance) and one on biopatents without number. Currently I am a member of the TUD-Energy-Centre at Darmstadt University of Technology (www.energy.tu-darmstadt.de/energiesysteme_zukunft/index.de.jsp) and a member of the council of the European Society for the Study of Science and Theology (www.ESSSSAT.eu). Supported by the “German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety” we have started a “climate protection programme” in the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau to reduce our CO2-emission by up to 40% until 2020 – implementing energy controll systems and an audit system called the “Grüner Hahn / Green Rooster” which enables congregations to reduce CO2-emissions. The Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau has also startet a “divestment”-process.

    I will stay in Oxford from July 9 to 22 to do some research with two main aspects:

    One focus of my stay will be on communicating environmental issues by using modern media, e.g. through webinars, twitter, blogs and so on. This focus relates to my department in the Centre Social Responsibility which deals with “environment and digital world” asking for interplays between this two – at first sight rather different – issues. I would like to gain insights about possible strategies, challenges and failures to implement modern media and especially talk about the “and” between these two issues which opens a variety of possible connections.

    Another focus will be on climate change and the role different faith traditions can play – with a concrete background: The „German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety“ has initiated a programme on biodiversity and the role religions can play to increase the sensibility for biodiv in a society. I was involved in this programme up from the beginning and together with other people I work on a concrete five-year-programme on that issue.

    Mike Parsons, Theology Department at Oxford, told me about your work – it woud be wonderful to find time for a communication with you during my stay on the issues raised above since your homepage shows quite a lot of common interests. Whether that communication could take place in a concrete meeting or via email or other social media is up to you, of course.


  • Reply ruthvalerio July 2, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Hello Hubert. It is good to hear from you – thank you for leaving this message. It would be ever so good to talk. Let’s arrange something via email. Please do email me at ruth@ruthvalerio.net. All the best, Ruth

  • Reply Carolyn Robertson August 26, 2016 at 5:46 am

    Hi Ruth, I’ve just ordered your latest book and in doing so discovered your PhD topic. I used to be on the board of A Rocha in New Zealand where I live. I’m just completing a PhD in Theology on Christian Responses to Consumerism. I interviewed 20 ‘living libraries’ – people seeking to live counter culturally in the face of consumerism and am drawing on their practical wisdom in dialogue with other more theoretical thinkers. I would love to read your PhD if at all possible. If you’d be happy to send it my email address is robertsonhegglun@gmail.com. Thanks for your work, Carolyn Robertson.

  • Reply Bryan Paton March 5, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Hi Dr Valerio,

    Thank you for sharing with us this morning at Emmaus Rd. I was interested in your view that it was sad that Christians voted for Trump. In this view, are you advocating that Clinton would have b3en a more “Christian” choice?

    • Reply admin March 6, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Hi Bryan, it was good to be with you all, thank you.
      It’s a good question and a tough one isn’t it? For me, saying that I was sad Christians voted for Trump does not then equal me saying Clinton would have been the absolutely Christian choice, as if there were no problems with her either. However, when so many of Trump’s policies stand directly counter to Kingdom values of love, compassion, inclusion, welcome, caring for God’s world and so on, I find it unbelievable that a Christian could vote for him.
      All the best, Ruth

  • Reply Fwangmun Oscar Danladi May 25, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    I am so excited to have met you! I am more inspired to pursue creation care as ever. Thanks

    • Reply Ruth May 29, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      It was so good to meet you Oscar at the Youth Greenovation Conference in Jos. Thank you and well done for your commitment to what you are doing. May God bless you and the people you are working with. All the very best, Ruth

  • Reply Daniel Menezo May 26, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Hello, Ruth. My name is Daniel and right now (literally) I’m translating your book Just living into Spanish. I’m a philologist and I have spent the last twenty years of my life translating mainly books (Christian and non-Christian) from English into Spanish. I just wanted to tell you that I’m enjoying your book exceedingly, and that thank God for the possibility (and the responsibility!) of translating it into Spanish. I can promise you I will do my best. God bless you and your family!

    • Reply Ruth May 29, 2017 at 9:02 pm

      Hello Daniel, how good to hear from you – fantastic to think of you doing the Spanish translation right now. Thank you! All the very best as you do that. God bless you too.

  • Reply Peter Owen October 1, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Hello Ruth. I’ve just finished reading “Just Living” and found it very relevant and interesting even to an agnostic/atheist such as myself. I sent you a tweet on similar lines. My interest in the environment, which has always been there but latent to say the least, has been sparked by a former colleague and close friend of mine – Paul – who is very active in the Transition Town movement in Northwich, Cheshire. He put me on to one of the leading climate change scientists, Prof Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre and I have watched numerous You Tube clips of his, frankly, scary messages about where we are right now as regards Climate Change. His message can be quite stark despite his personal charm but he does touch on issues of global equity as you do. One of the problems with that approach is that it can leave you thinking “Well I’ll make these changes because I have to but, given half a chance, I’d be down the car showroom ordering a Range Rover.” Your book fills in the huge gap as to why there other reasons we need to look at our lives and how a different way of living can be fuller and more rewarding. Have you ever thought of widening your audience to, how can I put it, the heathens amongst us? I’d love to see some joint publications or on-line output with other concerned experts. Perhaps you already do. Anyway – great work.

  • Reply Ann October 6, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Many people don’t realise that toxic chemicals cause serious ill-health. People often blame God for illness – but traffic fumes can cause lung problems and chemicals such as solvents and benzene etc. can cause cancer and damage family DNA. A Christian family friend, researcher Edward Priestley, developed severe aplastic anaemia (bone marrow destruction) from workplace toxic chemicals. He was given only 6 months to live – but by avoiding toxic chemicals as far as possible – such as pesticides, fluoride etc. – and eating organic, he survived. Decades later his blood count is normal and he campaigns for a healthier environment and helps blood disorder sufferers. He makes no money from this and sells no products. His website is: http://www.medicineandillness.com
    I heard a wonderful interview with Ruth by Sam Hailes on “The Profile” on Premier Christian Radio. She explained environmental care so clearly.

  • Reply Ruth November 27, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Hello Peter, thank you so much for this and apologies I’m only just picking up on it now. I’m afraid my blog has been rather neglected recently! But we did chat on Twitter, as you say, which was very nice. And your comments both here and there are so much appreciated – I’m thrilled Just Living has filled that gap and reached even a heathen like your good self 🙂
    I hadn’t particularly thought any further than the book and wouldn’t quite know where to start to go in that direction (unless you have any particular contacts). One thing I’m going to be focusing on next year is re-doing my ‘L is for Lifestyle’ which, in 2019 will be 15 years old and so we’re going to do a 15-year anniversary edition. That will still predominantly have a church audience in mind though.
    So, I’m not sure what else to say, but thank you again for taking the trouble to be in touch.
    All the very best,

  • Reply A Selby January 16, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Dear Ruth
    I am really pleased to read that you are looking at L is for Lifestyle again. I am in the middle of my 9th new year read of it and am very excited that a new edition maybe coming soon. So many things have changed for the good and bad since 2008.

  • Reply Greg Fletcher January 29, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Hi Ruth
    Please could you send me a link as I wish to send you a 93 page PDF on action against tax havens. Thanks.

  • Reply Greg Fletcher January 29, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Sorry I meant an e-mail address!

  • Reply Ruth February 1, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    Wow! thank you so much, that’s amazing to hear. I’d love to know your thoughts around what would be good to think about as I update it. Do feel free to send me any thoughts to ruth@ruthvalerio.net. Thanks 🙂

  • Reply Alexander Heywood April 23, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Dear Ruth,
    I have been struggling away with my dyslexia and another disability which I prefer not to talk about (but which I like to think about as “a thorn in my flesh” for a while. Our Alice, aged 19, has just come back from a stint with a small Christian Charity in Tanzania, “Go Make a Difference Tanzania” (“GO MAD”), in the Mara district (head in from Dar El Salam, past Mount Kilimanjaro, past the Serengeti plain and you hit Lake Victoria in the north of Tanzania to where she was working as a volunteer). It struck me as an area ripe for an A Rocha project, but then again, happy ideas, but how to fund such things?
    I took the liberty of copying you into an old friend of mine, Julie Dreblow whom worked from Friends Provident on their Techie side when they had a good Green fund back in 1999. Since the “ESG” area has blossomed: where there was one sector, now there are eight. Where there were only 36 funds to follow, now something silly like 250 have been created in the last five years alone.
    How to not only get people to invest more but to do good with it? How to get the world of finance and e.g. Spring Harvest 2013, The Source, p124 “Use your money in ways that encourage connection rather than separation” … . It saddens me, for example, that the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment do not have a ESG exam in their Financial Planning route nor their Wealth Management route.
    God bless and forgive me for my happy “left field” thoughts. I am not sure what a “blog” etiquette should be.

  • Reply Joy Geake September 18, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Hi, Ruth,
    I understand you will be providing Lent Course material requested by the Church of England and endorsed by Justin Welby. I have suggested it would be a positive gesture in unity and shared talking points if our Methodist Churches in Cornwall adopted the same. Rev Steve Wild, chairman of the Cornwall District, has given his blessing for this. I wondered how you are progressing and if you could give me a good selling point about the format so that I can get the word around before our various churches consider choosing alternative study.Thank you for any attention you feel able to give.         Joy Geake a member of Cornwall Churches Environment Group addressing Climate Change matters. joygeake@gmail.com

    • Reply Ruth January 7, 2020 at 8:06 pm

      Hello Joy, I’m so so sorry if I haven’t replied to you before – have you been able to reach me a different way? I’ve only just seen your message here, sorry! You may already know this, but yes, I’ve written the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book for this year. It’s already out now and you can see more about it here: https://spckpublishing.co.uk/saying-yes-to-life. I hope that is helpful and I’m so sorry if I’m too late with this. All the best, Ruth

  • Reply Connie Heppner Mueller January 7, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    Hello, I’ve noticed that you’ve engaged in less-waste lent initiatives. I’m wondering if you have anything planned for Lent 2020. I’m hoping to organize something at my church and I am looking for support and resources.

    • Reply Ruth January 7, 2020 at 8:04 pm

      Hi Connie, thank you for being in touch. Yes I’ve done a Plastic-Less Lent initiative for the last two years, leading to the Plastic-Less Living FaceBook page. I’m not doing it this year though because I’ve been privileged to write the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book for this year so that’s what I’m focusing on. Do take a look at it as it may give you what you’re looking for. It’s designed either for individuals to use or for it to be used in small groups by a church, with discussion questions at the end of each chapter and further resources online. You can see more about it here: https://spckpublishing.co.uk/saying-yes-to-life. I hope that is helpful. All the best, Ruth

  • Reply Gordon Crompton January 22, 2020 at 11:31 am

    As a Christian who has spent most of my career in the packaging industry, I find the current manner in which technology is misleadingly presented as being close to malicious. Little reference, if any, is paid to the significant efforts which have been made to improve resource efficiency and product effectiveness.

  • Reply Diana Hampson February 22, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    Dear Dr. Valerio,
    I am reading ‘Saying yess to Life’ prior to our Lent courses and find it challlenging , informative and positive; consequently I was disappointed by your‘throwaway comment’ to boycott Malta because of the bird hunting. I have lived in Gozo, Malta for nearly 30 years. In recent years the situation has improved and is continuing to do so.
    Like many of us the Maltese appreciate a positive approach rather than being vilified, I believe that the work done by Natalino Fenech with a website showing (live) bird photographs taken by hunters has been of signal help.
    Sadly, although I understand they do excellent work in other countries, Birdlife have alienated the hunters with their attitude, in fact a friend who was active with Birdlife abroad left the Malta group because he found them so combative; refusing to work with the hunters and trappers on projects that would use their knowledge but not their guns or nets.
    I completely agree there is need for a lot of improvement but firmly believe that carrots work better than sticks, especially as the British were so instrumental in making so many Maltese keen hunters.
    Many thanks for your attention and your book.
    Diana Hampson

    • Reply Ruth February 22, 2020 at 9:22 pm

      Hello Diana, thank you so much for taking the trouble to contact me about this. I’m pleased to hear about this from you and it’s good to know that there is work being done that is helping the situation and that things are improving.
      I hope you enjoy the rest of the book over Lent.
      All the very best

  • Reply Tom March 2, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Hi what do you think of the Church of England letting fracking happen on there land


  • Reply Kathryn Glynn April 7, 2020 at 8:15 am

    I have just finished a first read of your book Just Living, which is very thought provoking and inspiring. My husband and I are looking into accessing a pension pot and want to reconsider how to invest the rest of it for future use and access along ethical lines as suggested in your book. I tried to send you an email with a little more detail, and a request for some advice and pointers, as this is a completely new area of consideration for us, but it is bouncing, as suspected Spam. I wonder if you would be willing to add me kathrynvglynn@hotmail.com to your receiving addresses, so that I might communicate with you further? With thanks, and for all you do for God’s good and wonderful creation.

    • Reply Ruth April 14, 2020 at 8:58 pm

      Hi Kathryn, apologies that you’ve had trouble reaching me. I’ll email you on the address you’ve given. All the best, Ruth

  • Reply Mark Rumsby April 20, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    Dear Ruth – I’m writing about your recent article for Tearfund, “Decoding coronavirus: sin, judgement and (not) the end of the world”.
    Firstly, I’m a Tearfund supporter and appreciate all the grace and compassion they practise, and your article reflected that. Thank you for tackling the subject.
    I think you’ve got it wrong, though, with the section “Is this God’s judgement”, and particularly the statement “Any suggestion that coronavirus is some kind of divine judgement is fundamentally at odds with God’s character”.
    You emphasise that coronavirus is part of a broken creation, and that’s true – but remember that the cause of that was Adam and Eve’s sin – resulting in God’s curse on the ground as well as them. His judgement. Sin and suffering clearly linked.
    At a macro level, Paul talks in Romans 1 about how “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” and in Romans 9 how we are all “objects of wrath” – unless chosen to be “objects of mercy”.
    Then there are all the examples of societies sinning against God in the OT: from Sodom – destroyed by fire and brimstone, the children of Israel grumbling – and being afflicted by drinking bitter water and snakebites as a result, to the people of Israel being taken captive by the Assyrians and Babylonians, to the locust plague in Joel. It would be easy to say “bitter water or snakes or locusts are simply part of a broken creation”, but the prophets clearly identify these as God’s specific judgments on specific sins. The linkage is clear.
    When it comes to individuals, you rightly say that affliction isn’t necessarily correlated to sin, quoting the man born blind in John 9 (and you could have added Job). The problem is, those examples are selective – there are many others where affliction was precisely because people sinned, such as David (Bathsheba’s child), David again when counting Israel (plague – a parallel to Covid-19), Jeroboam (withered hand), Gehazi (leprosy), Zechariah (mute), and Herod (eaten by worms). In each case the biblical authors directly link the sin with the illness. But you’re quite right, we today have no right to judge whether someone’s suffering is connected with their sin, others’ sin, or no sin at all.
    The God of anger/wrath and judgment is not a popular subject in Christian circles today – it is being written out of the narrative (as is hell). It’s uncomfortable, and I share that discomfort. Nevertheless, biblically, we have to embrace these truths.
    So in conclusion I’d suggest the reverse of the statement in your article, namely: “Any suggestion that coronavirus is some kind of divine judgement is fundamentally IN LINE with God’s character.”
    Best wishes,

    • Reply Ruth April 22, 2020 at 9:51 am

      Thank you Mark, I really appreciate such a thoughtful comment, made in a gracious way. I agree with much of what you have said and actually revised a line (a while ago) in the document where I felt I had said too baldly that a person’s ill health can never be linked to their personal sin. I think biblically there are times when we can see that link, though I would always be very careful and hesitant about making that link in specific cases today. My main point was to break the link between health and personal sin as that is something that is said by many in the countries where we work, and it leads to stigmatization. I agree with what you’ve said about our fallen world and that the cause of that is sin, and hoped to make that clear in what I said. I would still be hesitant to say that CV19 is God’s judgement as such. I see it more in terms of connectedness and consequences – and I do think we are suffering the consequences of the world we have contributed to, a world of poverty and inequality and abuse of the wider natural world.
      Thank you again for taking the time to write – and for your support for Tearfund and the work we’re doing, especially at this time when the needs are growing terribly,

  • Reply Jeremy Burdett August 17, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    I enjoyed you article in Premier Christianity but I have a bone to pick with you about your comment in 4.Live where you write: There are lots of steps we can take in our ordinary lives to make changes and help resolve these issues….. Meat production is a big cause of greenhouse gas emissions, so let’s switch to a predominantly vegetable and grain based diet…
    Some meat production like most vegetable production causes some greenhouse gas emissions. However you appear not to understand that cattle
    grazed ‘properly’ actually capture more carbon in their lifetime and regenerate farmed out land more efficiently and successfully than any other process.
    I refer you to Allan Savory’s work particularly his book Holistic Management for the details of how this can come about in farming and is being practised by many across the world.
    As an Organic Dairy Farmer who’s cows spend as much time as our climate allows grazing I am increasingly vexed by the misinformation that is being circulated by the sweeping generalisation that all meat production produces (net) carbon emissions.
    Please can you as an environmentalist take the time and care not to write poorly informed throw-away statements in your articles and instead read Allan Savory and then amend your remarks accordingly.

    • Reply Ruth January 18, 2021 at 9:52 am

      Dear Jeremy, I am so sorry not to reply to you before, you must have thought me very rude. I actually have only just seen your comment – I don’t check here very often. Your point is a good one and I’m aware of the benefits of good organic production, that is outside and grass-fed. I am careful not to advocate full vegetarianism or veganism (though am not against those choices by any means), hence why I say ‘predominantly’ rather than ‘wholly’. We don’t have the land to produce the equivalent amount of meat we’re eating today from organic systems, so we still need to reduce the amount of meat we eat significantly, and eat a diet that is predominantly vegetable and grain based, but then when eating meat, choose from good systems such as yours. Depending on the context I’m in, I don’t always get the opportunity or have the word length to be nuanced, but i do try to be wherever I can. Thank you again, every best wishes.

  • Reply Kamile Opulskyte September 27, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    How do you celebrate the creation of God?

  • Reply John Cooper March 23, 2021 at 9:44 am

    Dear Ruth: Thank you for your excellent LICC Ethics talk last night. A correction and apology from me however, it was Sharon Dirckx who was my granddaughter-in-law’s mentor for her OCCA courses and not you. But it was too late after the meeting to make the correction. Ailsa is a wonderful Christian girl, now married on 18 July last – under Covid restrictions – and in her 5th year of Doctor training at John Radcliffe. I’m glad you mentioned your book; it is very helpful for all sorts of ideas for saving God’s planet, especially when as oldies at 85 & 84 we think we can’t do much to help. I remind myself of the starfish story, that any small effort will make a difference. Hope this reaches you as I’m not sure how these IT contacts etc work. GBY. John Cooper

    • Reply Ruth April 16, 2021 at 4:58 pm

      Hi John and I’m so sorry not to get to your message till now. No worries about the confusion (I did wonder!) but so glad you enjoyed the LICC event and Saying Yes to Life, if it was that book. All the very best, Ruth

  • Reply John Berriman July 5, 2021 at 7:17 am

    Hi. I was concerned when I read in your book quotes from ‘The Long Shadow’ which actually was false. I do believe that we need to take great care of God’s planet but we do need correct information. https://youtu.be/SdrhpThqlCo
    Just watch the first 5-10 min. Blessings

    • Reply Ruth July 5, 2021 at 10:28 am

      Hi John, thanks ever so much for taking the trouble to write. Yes I’m aware of the debates around that report and I think I’m generally careful in how I use it (I can’t remember off the top of my head the wording I use in whichever book you’re referring to). Whether the exact percentages are correct or not, for me the key point is that the agriculture industry is causing massive problems and we need to change the way our food system works.
      All the best, Ruth

  • Reply Cornelis Bennema December 1, 2021 at 9:49 am

    Hi Ruth,
    Just wanted to know whether you had received my email last week, from LST?

  • Reply Alice May 3, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    Hi Ruth.
    I wanted to ask your advice and didn’t know your email.
    I want to make changes to my lifestyle to be more ethical. There are so many things to think through: recycling, energy supplier, red meat, dairy, free range, fair trade, ethical investments, reusable nappies, charity shops, organic, limiting flying, writing to MPs etc. I want to start by thinking through the changes that might make the most difference. Which are those? Flying and red meat/dairy? Can you advise?

    • Reply Ruth May 6, 2022 at 4:50 pm

      Hi Alice, really good to hear from you and thank you for such a good question.
      I would say the key things are flying less or not at all, switching to a predominantly veg and grain-based diet (doesn’t have to be completely vegetarian or vegan and, if you do choose to eat meat, support farmers who are looking after their animals well and not in an intensive way), and switch to getting your energy from a renewable energy supplier such as Good Energy, Octopus or Ecotricity. Reduce your single use plastic too. All the things you’ve mentioned are good too!
      Do you know my L is for Lifestyle? I’d recommend you get hold of that and, if you’ve got kids, have a look at Planet Protectors.
      I hope that’s helpful, all the best to you – it’s a lot of fun doing these things!

  • Reply Groen Gelovig op 21 oktober in Veenendaal - [test] A Rocha Nederland August 29, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    […] het evenement zullen o.a. Evert-Jan Ouweneel, Ruth Valerio, Paul Schenderling en Rozemarijn van ’t Einde spreken. Evert-Jan Ouweneel is cultuurfilosoof en […]

  • Reply Joe December 14, 2023 at 6:16 am

    Hi Ruth,
    Find most of your articles eye opening particularly the link between poverty and the enviroment and also the theology and enviroment. I have been chatting with church leaders in Zimbabwe on the statement that you make based on Genesis 2, that we erroneoulsy intepret dominion over ceation as domination! The stance has led to belivers taking the enviroment casualy and negligeably, as situation which needs engagment especially with church leaders here in Southern Africa.
    Will appreciate if you can advise on how best to influence / challenge church leaders on the subject of christianity and the enviroment,,?

    • Reply Ruth January 31, 2024 at 11:57 am

      Hi Joe, I’m so sorry I didn’t see this before and so haven’t replied.
      Would it help you to have some good resources? If so, I would recommend my book ‘Saying Yes to Life’ and Dave Bookless’, ‘Planetwise’. Both will help equip you in your thinking. There is also this booklet here (also by Dave) which will be helpful: https://www.renewourworld.net/resources
      For me, influencing on this issue from a strongly biblical basis is very important for helping church leaders understand and engage.
      I hope that’s helpful and wish you all the best, Ruth

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.