Thursday, August 13, 2009

Global Sustainability. Saving the Planet. Possible or Not?

I came across the following article on a site dedicated to sustainable living.

I think the article brings to light some interesting points.
Firstly there is awareness that the world and its people can not be sustained for much longer if current trends continue.
In other words, the planet earth and its inhabitants are in for some significant changes. Either mankind (particularly those of us in the WEST) will have to willingly make some harsh and painful changes to our lifestyles, or those changes will be made for us.
The natural resources upon which our prosperous and comfortable lives have been built are rapidly being depleted.

In the article, the writer mentions our reliance on oil – not only for fuel but for “everything in this modern era”. So many man-made materials are oil based. Lose the oil and we not only lose our mobility and our source for heating, we lose commonly used fibres and plastics. Many commonly used products also have an oil base: toothpastes, shampoos and medications. Most of our food production is heavily reliant on oil-based fertilizers and herbicides…

But oil is not the only commodity heading for crisis. In recent years (and even months) I’ve read about water and food shortages. Not so long ago I lived in Sydney and at the time predictions were made that it could become the first major city to run out of water. Its major water source had fallen to less than 40% of capacity with no immediate sign of change. Rainfall in recent years has seen that situation turn around, but for a time the vulnerability of a major water supply was highlighted.

Concerns are also being expressed about food shortages. Some say it is a greater threat than climate change while others blame climate change for the shortages.

The article makes suggestions for action that could halt and maybe reverse what seems to be inevitable. The suggestions may seem harsh and unrealistic, but they also give an indication of how the world’s situation has become so desperate. Take some of the suggestions and reverse their emphasis and we can see the behaviours and attitudes that have led to the crisis being faced.
Basically mankind has taken the easy immediate option and has acted to make life as easy as possible NOW, giving no thought for the sustainability of their existentialist emphasis. As long as it benefits US in the NOW we have given no thought of the future, knowing that we won’t personally be around to face the consequences. However, that future had to arrive some time and it could very well be sooner than we had hoped.

Anonymous comments made at the end of the article suggest that:

“There is one word for the cause of what is happening to our Earth, and that is ‘sin’. If you read your Bible you can find out what is going on, why, and how we can fix it, though that won't happen, once again, because of sin.”

It is likely that those comments won’t be given much consideration by most readers of the article. Some will see them as merely another fundamentalist spouting ill-informed religious opinion. Therefore the link will not be made between the “sin” that “anonymous” mentioned and the selfish drive for more more more for me me me that is so obviously behind the anticipated crisis.
What is sin but doing things MY WAY for my immediate perceived benefit no matter what the consequences may be for others? Sin is man considering himself and his own immediate comfort and pleasure no matter what the long-term cost may be.

Biblically, man was introduced to sin through an act of rebellion against God, committed in a perfect paradise where mankind had need of nothing. Every necessity was provided. Yet man gave in to a desire for more than he was due and he took what seemed to be the most expedient way of obtaining it. He gave in to the offer of something NOW – ignoring the warning he had been given of the ultimate price that would be paid for trying to obtain it.

And what was that ultimate price? For mankind it was death. In a spiritual sense it separated mankind from the intimate relationship they’d had with their Creator, to the point where there is often no acknowledgement at all that there IS a Creator.
Denial of God's existence is a major symptom of that spiritual death, a denial through which mankind can abrogate all responsibility towards both Creator and His creation.
The price imposed on creation was a subjection to "frustration", and "bondage to decay". The world has been heading downhill since man’s first act of rebellion and now it’s becoming more noticeable.

“Anonymous” said “If you read your bible you can find out what is going on…” and that is true. The decline and degradation of this planet was foretold thousands of years ago, as were the physical effects and political fallout of that decline. Significantly, even then, the decline was attributed to mankind’s rebellion against the Creator; at a time when mans’ effect on the earth was barely noticeable. At a time when the technological, economic and philosophical developments of the past century and a half could not have even entered the human mind.
It is those relatively recent developments that made it possible for our current situation, in which mankind has come dependent upon very tenuous resources to fuel a ravenously selfish pursuit of comfort and pleasure.

Since the Bible made these things known, should we therefore consider what the Bible reveals about the outcome of the predicted degradation of the planet? The news may not be encouraging for those who have hopes that mankind could turn the situation around. But the reality is not as grim as some would suppose. There is reason for hope.

The Bible describes creation as “waiting” for an appointed time. It promises that it WILL be liberated from its “bondage to decay”. Its current state is depicted as “groaning as in the pains of childbirth”; but all of the optimism expressed in these statements is not dependent on mankind’s efforts. The answer lies in the Creator alone.
He has provided the means of putting everything right. The effects of man’s sin (his rebellion) will one day be erased from His creation. He has made a way for man to be cleansed and freed of the sin that set everything in motion; the sin that is at the root of the decay and degradation of the planet and its inhabitants.
The world’s crisis can not be solved by attending to the symptoms. The Creator is dealing with the root cause. The means of dealing with the cause can be found in the person of Jesus Christ, revealed to us through the account given in both the Old and New Testaments.

While observing our world today, there is genuine reason for a lot of “doom and gloom”, but if we look to the Creator for His answer instead of to our own questionable resources, we will see that there is an offer available to become part of something much more glorious than this creation has yet known.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

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