A climate of consumption – fighting for sustainability
What the bible says
Care and worship: “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” Genesis 2:15
Simplicity and kindness: “during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave” Exodus 23:11
Urgency to act: “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God”. Revelations 3:2
Did you know?
Climate change – Climate change is both global but also local in its causes and its impact. Whilst there is huge complexity in climate science, as well as controversy, there is broad agreement is that humanity is having a very bad effect on our climatic system.
“The[USA] National Research Council declares that it’s time for action to solve the climate crisis: In its most comprehensive study so far, the nation’s leading scientific body declared on Wednesday that climate change is a reality and is driven mostly by human activity, chiefly the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.” Al Gore, Time for action, 24 May 2010
Consumption – Cars, computers, TVs, mobile phones, food, fashion – we kneel to worship all this lovely stuff. We covert them, desire them and we are encouraged to feel exactly that. Consumption helps the economy. It creates jobs. It makes the world go round. What’s wrong with that? Well – we want more and more and more – too much.
The average person in the UK consumes more than three planet’s worth of resources. In a finite world that simply isn’t sustainable. It is destroying both our natural resources and consuming vast amounts of energy, and its not making us happier either. It is resulting in climate change, species loss, poverty (see below) and ultimately it could be the route to our own destruction. Check out ‘The Story of stuff’ to learn more about this and what to do about it.
Poverty, climate change and consumption – A global study by the OECD indicated climate change is likely to make poor people’s lives much harder – further reducing access to drinking water, increasing sickness, decreasing crop yields and threatening famines, increasing migration and ultimately threatening development in many countries.
‘here’s the harsh reality for the poor: its usually their land, rivers, and lakes where we are dumping our waste. Quite literally, the poorest of the earth live on wealthy people’s rubbish’. Gordon Aeschliman, ‘Loving the earth is loving the poor’, The Green Bible, 2008
We have to help the poorest in the developing world by cutting our consumption and dumping of wastes, as well helping them adapt to the impacts of climate change.
What we can do?
It is huge. It is apocalyptic. It is happening. It is also an opportunity.
Now is the time to stop ‘shopping till we drop’ and begin to make some real changes to the things we do – changes for the better of everyone. Live more simply. Save money. Help the environment and the poor. Live out God’s word.
Like becoming a Christian, we first have to recognise something is wrong, what it means, and then make the change.
Choosing to change is as easy as one, two, three:
- Work out your footprint – calculate here
- Find the biggest impacts and ways to reduce them – plan here
- Set realistic goals and start to change
…then check it again a year later to see how you’re doing