Principles for Just and Sustainable Extraction and Production

2016 Book of Resolutions, #1032

John Wesley proclaimed the following guiding principles as core to faithful action: Do no harm. Do all the good you can. Obey the ordinances of God.

Scientists have confirmed that some practices based largely on industrial extraction, production, and waste are not only harmful to many local ecologies and those who depend on them, but is harmful to the climate that humans depend on. Industrial extraction, production, and waste facilities compromise air, land, and water. Because of this, the health and well-being of surrounding communities are compromised. Yet communities who are wronged by extraction, industrial production, and waste are often under assault and militarized security forces often guard the industries from those who protest for just redress.

Because of industrial extraction, production, and waste, some people’s lives are destroyed while others profit. This is harmful and is neither sustainable nor just.

These four guiding principles and questions can form the architecture for a local community’s advocacy work as people of faith in the Wesleyan tradition. They can provide a principled frame- work in which to advocate when industries seek to establish themselves or expand themselves in local communities. They can be a road forward to development that seeks to be just, sustainable, and responsible in its extraction, production, and waste practices.

  1. First, do no harm:
    • Will or does the extractive, production, or waste industry effectively prohibit practices that result in toxic exposure, environmental degradation, and/or human rights violations?
  2. Eradicate the root causes of poverty:
    • Will or does the extractive, production, or waste industry increase the most impoverished people’s capabilities, choices, security, and power necessary for the full enjoyment of their human rights?
  3. People as rights-holders:
    • Will or does the extractive, production, or waste industry guarantee people’s rights to participate, including trans- parent access to information, freedom of expression and assembly, self-determination, and effective remedy for harms committed?
  4. Sustainability:
    • Will or does the extractive, production, or waste industry adequately protect the land, water, and air for the rights of future generations and our planet? These four guiding principles and questions should be asked by the church of any extractive, production, or waste facility, and land use or water use ordinance in any town, city, or nation.


See Social Principles, ¶ 160A, B.

To purchase the Book of Resolutions, click here.

Copyright © 2016, The United Methodist Publishing House, used by permission