Wednesday, May 24, 2006

question of the day:

Are we obligated, as Orthodox christians, to be more environmentally-conscious?

I found this really interesting article about Brazil's creation of ethanol fuel made from sugar cane. Is this truly a viable alternative? Or will it simply lead to more forests being devastated to grow sugar cane? What is our personal obligation, if any?


Paul said...

There was a lecture on CBC Radio 1 the other day; I only caught a part of it. But the lecturer, talking about the future of space exploration, said (something like) this: "A recent study showed that [insert impressive statistic here] of adults and children think that space exploration is a necessary pursuit because soon the planet will be so polluted so as not to be able to support human life. This is a startling and disappointing response because it shows not only that people are convinced that the world is doomed because of our supposedly irreversible drive to pollute it, but also that human beings could thrive in lifeless, cold outer space whereas they could not do so on our life-sustaining planet Earth." Something like that. Do I hear an Amen?

Simply Victoria said...

it's just so fatalistic. instead of facing our responsibilities here, we'll just move once we've made an irreversible mess.

cathedral dweller said...

Victoria - this is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. In fact I just sent an email to Phil suggesting that depending on how things work out when they move to Ottawa (sorry guys, I know you'll miss them, but we'll take good care of them, PROMISE) about possibly sharing a car.

It seems to me that the subject of "environmentalism" or "stewardship of creation" or what have you, is incredibly important. Not just because we might end up killy ourselves and poisoning our neighbours. There are many issues that relate to the matter of our relationship to the environment. Take for example our heavy use of automobiles. Everyone knows they release greenhouse gases and various other pollutants but our wastefulness and consumption has other social effects as well. The automobile and cheap fuel, for the most part, decentres our lives and fragments our worlds by enabling us to go wherever we want whenever we want. I believe this can have incredibly negative effects on families, communities and nations.

Before I get out of hand here with a foreboding doom and gloom prophecy, I really think there are simple ways of treading lightly upon the earth and tending the garden of creation. Here I go ...

1.) Prayer and Fasting - it slows us down, reminds us of what is important and during these times God can reveal the small things we can maybe do without.

2.) Live Locally.

3.) Ride your bike! What fun! I love my bike!

4.) Car pool.

5.) Use public transit ... or "loser cruiser" as one of my old friends called it.

6.) And the list goes on.

If anybody else has any ideas I'd love to hear them.

churchmouse said...

I think this relates to one of the recent posts on Graham's blog, in which he talks about the idea from scripture that "He who was faithful with a little, will be given much."

Even if the world IS doomed and the damage we've done irreversible, that would still be no excuse to not be responsible with what we still have, because it is our attitude that counts. Even if we "defer to heaven" as some conservative evangelicals do in their dismissal of environmental concern, it is that very anticipation of heaven, and goal of unity with God, which should prompt us to act with the earth as we would with the garden of Eden. How can we be one with God if our attitude towards the Creation He loves is so different from His?

gabriel said...

respecting ethanol- no, it's not sustainable as it requires substantial agricultural land. There are better alternative energy sources- tidal, hydro, nuclear, geothermal.

biss said...

Doesn't that, like, poison the earth?

And yes, Vic, I do think that we are morally obligated to care about the environment.
On the other hand, I think it is very crucial not to become enviro-nazis. Just as we do with our Faith, we should do with out environmental concerns. Live it and invite people to "come and see" (I have a friend who is very forceful in her advocating for the environment, and while I believe what she promotes, her enviro-nazi tendancies do nothing to encourage me. If I were not already convinced, I would refuse to consider organic, un-modified, fairtrade, etc.). People grow in stages and can't be ordered to care without proper preparations. In this culture, we need a total adjustment of our world-view and cultural/self awareness.

And Zeke...sharing a car? what? huh?

man, you and phil talk more about my life than i do.
sharing a car...
me getting an ma...
what other plans do you two have up your sleeves?

i need to listen in on your conversations more.