The Good Life
"There is little hope of
arresting the mad rush toward ecological disaster unless a very large
number of persons and institutions renounce certain values which have long
dominated civilization. Defining "the good life" in terms of creature
comforts and material "progress," many people in all strata of society
cherish such assumptions as the following:
- Earth's resources belong to humanity and are inexhaustible.
- Prosperity is a reward for diligence and character, and poverty is
caused by the indolence of the poor.
- Maximization of profit, economic growth and technological expansion is
- The threat of intolerable population pressures is exaggerated.
- Human ingenuity, working through
science, technology, and present social structures, can resolve the
ecological crisis without decisive changes in values and institutions.
"These old values, reflections of sin and ignorance, flout ecological facts
and tear the fabric of interrelatedness which is of the essence of God's
creation. They must be renounced in favor of new values which give
priority to quality of life rather than to quantity of things,
characterized by responsibility in human community and enlightened care of
the earth and its resources."
- Lutheran Church in America
Quoted from The Human Crisis in Ecology, an official statement
of this church adopted at
its 6th Biennial Convention in
Dallas, Texas, June 30 - July 6, 1972.
Photograph: A Midsummer's Day
party in Sweden. At this time of year so far
north, there is daylight round the clock and the long summer evenings are perhaps the
most beautiful in the world. Swedish society is characterized by
responsibility in human community and enlightened care of the earth and
its resources. Photo by Catharina Blom of Stockholm.