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The writing is on the wall

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1.28

Imagine if we all had to deal with the rubbish we generate ourselves? Where would we put it: dig a hole in the garden (if we're fortunate enough to have one), burn it, bury it at sea? That a council lorry trundles along every week to remove it for us means that it is not our problem: out of sight, out of mind. Not any more! The extend to which the human race is trashing the planet we call home, that God has given us a mandate to care for, is being exposed and the evidence is shocking: from polluted rivers, to stinking landfill sites, to the poisoning of the marine environment and holes in the ozone layer above.

For years it was the least deserving and most vulnerable who were feeling the impact: impoverished countries conned into "processing" waste from richer nations, fish and maritime animals choking on the plastic and oil spills polluting our oceans, occupants of low lying islands and marginal farmland affected by climate change and rising sea-levels. Recently these manifestations have hit closer to home, in terms of richer and guiltier countries feeling the effects of forest fires, flooding, and heatwaves.

It all cries out for a revolution is our habits and life-styles. We have to wean ourselves off our addiction to plastic and fossil fuels. Science can take us so far - in developing new sources of power and packaging. But we must go further and reduce our appetites - for everything from the stuff we fill our homes with to the holidays we feel entitles to. For the sake of our planet and our fellow creatures and in order that those who are in want, both of the necessities of life and a stable environment in which to thrive, we need to tailor our expectations.

This will require a mixture of behavioural change and government policy. The consumer lifestyle has locked us into depending on over-packaged goods and fossil fuels, while stoking our greed for ever more exotic recreational pursuits. For the health of our bodies, the sake of our souls and the survival of our environment all of that needs to change. In a word we need to learn to live sustainably and for that to happen we need to recalibrate our understanding of what makes for a "good life" and we need government policies which enable that.



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