Rapidly changing climate is threatening ecosystems and societies. This is a wake-up call to critically assess consumer driven lifestyles in order to safeguard creation.
Does nature have a price? It is a fact that it is all there to buy: land, islands, minerals, water, fruits, vegetables, trees, fish, birds and animals of all species. There seems to be no limit to trade. Nature in its diversity has become a commodity.
And those wealthy enough are buying ever more. Accumulating. Longing for the newest. Discarding. Replacing. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, ever more countries have entered a seemingly never-ending process of economic growth and turned into consumer societies where money and possessions are believed to make the good life.
But nature is already presenting us with the bill. Grounds are drying and crops cannot grow without inputs. Water and air are polluted and our health is suffering. Biodiversity is declining and we are at the eve of the sixth great extinction of species. Climate is rapidly changing and is threatening our ecosystems and societies. In a word, we have entered the “Anthropocene”, or the “era of the human being,” our species having become the main driver of nature’s state. And we know the wheel to be pointing in the wrong direction.
The time has come to rediscover the significance and implications of the first article of our Creed: our confession of God as the almighty Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth. We do not own the earth and all that is in it, but are creatures ourselves. We are not the masters of nature, but God’s children entrusted with the wellbeing of God’s creation. We cannot possess and exploit, but shall cultivate and guard.
So let us get to work! There is a theology to spread, lifestyles to change, parishes and institutions to make green. There is a reform to be undertaken in our hearts, minds and deeds. For if nature has a price, creation is priceless—it is not for sale.
Martin Kopp works for the LWF as the officer for Climate Justice Advocacy.