Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

A few weeks ago I was asked by my parish priest to consider doing a sermon on environmental issues. So you get to be guinea pigs for my sermon (or at least for the ideas I'm working on for it).

When our church began it was not uncommon for someone to be born, live and die with their 'world' encompassing the surrounding few kilometres, strangers were few and far between, food and goods were drawn from local sources, and waste was returned to the local ecology. Today, we draw our food and other goods from across the planet and our 'world' encompasses not only earth but the moon and Mars (someone will land there in my lifetime). In the past it was relatively easy to live in harmony with nature, in fact you didn't really need to try. You could use only what was available locally and what you produced as waste was easily returned to the local environment where it was processed and re-used. Today, much of our waste is non-local and more importantly, not re-usable.

In the past we believed that nature was given to us to dominate, to exploit and use as we saw fit, in a world with humans at it's centre, where the planets revolved around us this worked. Today, the world does not revolve around us, we occupy a single planet orbiting an average main sequence yellow star, on the outer edge of one arm of a fairly ordinary galaxy. Imagine, in all of that vast creation - God chose this place and this time to put us here, where we have the opportunity to realize, sometimes painfully, that we are a part of His creation not separate from it.

So, what does this mean from a Christian perspective? I think it means that we are called not to to be so much users of creation as stewards. The Genesis story gives a viewpoint, as each day was finished it was good, after it was all done the 6th day God said it was Very Good! All of creation, complete and operating as a whole!

Practically this means that we need to re-think much of how we live and work. Does the food we eat come from local sources; so it doesn't burn fuel being shipped around unnecessarily? Are the vehicles we drive powered by a clean energy sources that do not consume resources that cannot (reasonably) be replaced? When we do produce things are we producing them from sustainable resources and then planning the processing of their waste into their design?

We can take steps today - reduce use of consumables, be aware of and choose locally grown food, choose items that have reduced packaging, insulate our homes and replace regular lights with compact fluorescent bulbs. The next step to become an active consumer - choose to purchase from companies that act in responsible ways and teach children to consider the environment not as an afterthought but as a primary part of any issue.

I'll continue to work on this sermon and I'll let you know how it comes out.


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