Showing posts with label sustainability. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sustainability. Show all posts

13 November 2012

The end of the world?

How long can we go on treating the Earth as an endless provider? There are limits to our resources and we're in the middle of an explosive increase in their rate of use. Are there too many people on this planet? What will happen if we go on like this?

Too many people using too many resources?
Well, maybe not the end of the world, but perhaps the end of the world as we know it.

Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters around the globe make us ask the question, 'Why?' We want to know why things like this happen. It's a natural enough question. It's tempting to think it's not our fault, that disasters happen randomly.

Storms like Sandy do indeed happen randomly, but their frequency and severity are increasing because of human-induced global warming. But where will it all lead? That depends, and it depends on you and on me.

The size of the problem - To get to grips with this we're going to need a broader and more thorough view of the damage we are currently wreaking on poor old planet Earth. Indeed, we've already gone beyond the planet by making a good start at messing up low Earth orbit, now so littered with everything from flakes of paint to spent rocket stages that it could easily become unusable.

We need to grasp that we have not only messed up but that we are continuing to mess up faster and faster. And the almost inevitable result will be an enormous population crash from disease, lack of food, ecological collapse, war, severe climate change or some other catastrophe, or more likely a perfect storm of several major issues in synergy. And the longer we go on doing little to make things better, the more serious the disruption will be.

It's comforting to think that somehow, sooner or later Papa will reach into our world and repair it. But it's more likely that he foresaw the mess and is waiting for us to fix it; he gave us the responsibility and he's warned us repeatedly. But we weren't listening. And we're still not listening.

I'm 65 next birthday and have begun to think of my life as something that will soon be winding down and ending. This is natural, of course. But I am also starting to think of human society as we know it in much the same way. And, not unreasonably, we can even see the universe itself like that if we choose to.

The way forward - We're in a far bigger pickle than most of us realise. And our biggest problem (because to a large degree it causes all the rest) is overpopulation. That's the dark picture painted in outline.

After the crash there may be an opportunity for something new and better. But that is not something to consider right now. Instead let's begin work right away. What is needed? Why, the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

It doesn't sound much of a solution to global warming, does it? But if we truly loved one another we would not be willing to leave such a mess for the next generation. And if we had a little more self-control we might walk and cycle instead of taking the car, demand fewer gadgets, waste less food. If we were really patient, kind, faithful and gentle how might that affect the way we behave?

What we can do - We do have a choice. If we start now we can make some major changes. It's far too late to prevent global warming but it will warm faster and to an even more dangerous level if we delay still further. I would identify population growth and industrial growth as our largest enemies. They are the root cause of pollution, carbon dioxide release, loss of habitat and natural diversity, species extinction and the rest.

The alternative is to carry on as we have done before, stopping our eyes and ears to the signs of looming disaster. Let's leave it for another generation...

Let's be clear. Advances in technology can help us but we will need to be careful about our choices. Where technology can reduce wastage and support more people for less impact that is a good thing. But we need to use this good thing as an opportunity to reduce our impact, not as an excuse to increase our numbers and consumption.

In the longer term there is only one route for further expansion - outwards. There is still room for growth in space - perhaps on the asteroids, Mars, or the Moon. But Earth is more than full already.

We're demanding far too much of our planet. Stop it! Now!

Questions:

  • What do you think will happen if our population and consumption continue to grow?
  • Many small changes make a big difference. Are there ways you could save a little energy, food or other scarce resource?
  • Are there ways you can apply pressure to your local or national government to be less concerned about growth and more focussed on reducing our impact?
  • If we don't act today, how long should we wait?

See also:

17 January 2011

RESPONSE - Permaculture

Peter Farmer posted a video and a link to Permaculture. I'm repeating them here along with the comment I left on his website 'Pioneering change' and some additional information.

Here are the links...
Permaculture is an idea that's been developed over many years. You can visit the UK Permaculture Website, One kind of permaculture in actionbut there are other sites for other parts of the world and wherever you live it's worth checking out the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

Wikipedia provides a really good overview

There are many other websites out there, but remember that permaculture is primarily an idea. The websites have a variety of slants and approaches, some you may like while others may contain elements you dislike. But what they have in common is that they all relate in some way to the basic idea of permaculture.

Here's the video...


And here's my comment...
Permaculture is a very old idea, but also a very good one. Before the industrial revolution most communities depended on methods of this kind. Although the underlying principles were not understood, societies were rich with handed-down methods that worked with the natural world.

But with technology we became free to work against nature and exert our independence. And now, in Western society, we hardly know what the natural world is! We have forgotten the valuable handed-down methods.

Permaculture can help put us back in touch with reality. It can help us take small steps back towards living with our environment instead of fighting against it.

We need to be whole in EVERY way – body, mind and spirit – individually and communally – but also in relation to the natural world.

Thanks for drawing our attention to this, Peter. Great stuff!

Additional thoughts
All my life I've been powerfully impacted by the idea that everything is rooted and grounded in love.
  • There is firstly the Father's love for us in sending his Son, Yahshua.
  • Then the Son's love in revealing the truth about his Father's nature.
  • Their great deposit of love in embracing all of us who would hear and receive them by pouring their love-essence, the Holy Spirit, into our hearts.
  • The way he (the Spirit) changes our hearts from selfishness to love.
  • The simple truth that we are to love one another (even our enemies).
  • And finally the duty we were given to care (lovingly) for this world that sustains us. In the beginning we were given the power to rule over everything in the natural world, but we were always expected to rule with the care and benevolence of love.
Permaculture is a practical outworking of this duty. Many of its proponents have not yet encountered the love that is there for them in Christ, but they have understood that the human race desperately needs to show that care and benevolence towards the natural world. We are not independent overlords, we breathe the air, drink the water, and eat the food that the physical world provides. We have been very foolish in mistreating it.

We need to become much, much wiser. The ideas espoused in permaculture can help us. We should all read and understand and ask ourselves, 'What is wisdom in this regard? What is our duty? What will a caring heart take from this? What practical steps am I called take?'

It might be as little as a few radishes in a window box, or it might involve a lifetime's work on a farm, there's a wide spectrum of opportunity between the two!

There are opportunities in every town and village, every garden, every public space, every school, park, hospital. Look for the opportunities and see what you can make of them.

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