Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
October 30, 2000
A gloomy outlook for the environment
The September Scarboro Mission Magazine focused on the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative in year three, which deals with renewal of the earth.
Mark Hathaway, in the lead article entitled Righting our Relationships, argues that since "God so loved the world," we too are called to love and care for the earth. He describes in terms of years and minutes how God's creation is being undermined as a result of human activity.
His graphic depiction of the ecological crisis bears repeating. You might have seen the statistics before, but seldom if ever in this compelling order. Abbreviated, the salient points are as follows:
In the article - which deserves wider distribution in schools, parishes, boardrooms and parliaments - Hathaway reminds us how God is revealed in all of creation. He examines the connection between justice and ecology, debt and environmental destruction, our values and beliefs and the biblical notion of the Sabbath.
He emphasizes our responsibility as co-creators and holds out hope that confronting the true condition of the world has the potential to profoundly change our way of thinking, acting and perceiving reality.
While the critical scenario unfolds before our eyes, minute by minute, we cling to a collective denial. Like a frog in a pot of water slowly heated to the boiling point, we remain motionless, waiting for the water to cool off.
Ironically, the disappearance of frogs and other amphibians on a global scale is the first indicator that something is drastically wrong.
In our rush to greater efficiency - a euphemism for squeezing more profit out of dwindling resources - we have allowed deregulation of public services, including those involving the fair distribution and safeguarding of the four elements: air, water, earth and fire, or energy.
In Canada and the U.S., where energy consumption is the highest in the world, environmental concerns don't rate as an election issue. In fact, Al Gore's book on the environment is seen as a liability.
The platforms of the main contestants in either country are almost indistinguishable as they promise tax cuts, more globalization and unlimited economic growth. A good slice of the voting population has never had it so good and they don't want to know the party is over.
As the minutes tick away, the fate of the earth will depend not so much on political vision, but on an inspired public determination to turn things around.
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