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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Eco-Consumerism


I just read this news piece from the BBC that explains much of the reason for China building 2 new power plants a week is to satisfy the demands of western consumers. Everybody's aim is to try and have their cake and eat it. To keep standards of living as they are, to keep ways of living as they are but just to achieve that without further damage to the environment. This is 'green consumerism' or maybe 'eco-consumerism'. 

But it all still plays to a materialist concept of 'standard of living' where luxuries become essentials, where toys become needs, where having a TV is seen as an essential and basic human right. Travel and foreign holidays are a sacrosanct human freedom rather than a fantastic privilege and opportunity. 

I'm not sure this idea of standard of living is one that I can see in the Gospels or one lived out by the early church. Jesus didn't worry about what he wore, ate or where he slept. Paul if he had food and clothing (and within that arguably is the concept of shelter) then he had enough. The rich were called upon to be generous, what we had we shared, not mine but ours and no one was in need. Freedom from worry, freedom from possessions, everyone cared for and fed. Isn't that a better standard of living?  

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