August 7

We are living beyond our means.  As a
people we have developed a lifestyle that
is draining the earth of its priceless and
irreplaceable resources without regard
for the future of our children and people
all around the world.

Margaret Mead


Today's Meditation:

This is one of the realities that most of us don't want to face, and that almost none of us want to do anything about.  After all, it seems so hopeless--this is a global problem that has to do with billions of people, so what can I do as a single individual in one tiny spot on the planet?

As with most other things in life, I can only do what I can do.  I can use less gas by driving less and walking more and having a car that gets better mileage and by not doing things like letting it idle when I'm not in it.  I can take shorter showers and waste less water by not letting the sink run.  I can wear my clothes longer and not replace them so often.  I can not throw away food.  I can drink water from one bottle that I fill up myself instead of buying bottle after bottle of it.  I have to ask myself a very important question:  do my lifestyle decisions contribute to the draining of the resources, or do they contribute to the preservation of those resources?

Such decisions aren't always popular with loved ones or kids or other people who don't really care about preserving resources.  But popular or not, we still can serve as role models of someone who does care about the gifts we've been given on this planet, gifts that we don't want to squander for no real reason at all.  One of the more important elements of living a full life is that of taking responsibility for our actions, and to take full responsibility, we must also be fully aware of them and their effects.

In the last five decades, the people of the world have done a lot of cleaning up of formerly-polluted areas.  But we still use resources at a frightening rate.  The entire world obviously isn't within our realm of responsibility, but if our great-great- grandchildren were able to come and talk with us now, what would we tell them about what we, personally, have done to preserve this wonderful planet in as good of shape as possible for them?

Questions to consider:

In which ways do we most tend to overuse the resources available to us?

How many different resources do you make use of each day?  Are you responsible with each of them?

What kinds of small changes might we make to start conserving at our own personal level?

For further thought:

To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster
its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.

Wendell Berry


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