Yesterday, 24 April 18h21 local time, our family watched as the world population clock ticked from 74 999 999 to 75 000 000. 7.5 billion humans! Each one infinitely precious and worth saving. I know what it feels like to agonisingly long for a baby, to lose one, to give birth to one, to love three.
All these people have to eat and live. Unfortunately we want more than that …”the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life”… (1 John 2:16). What we are doing to earth in our selfish greed is frightening (see WWF and WRI reports).
The problem with us humans is not so much, or only, our numbers, but much more so, our gluttony. 2000 years ago people used up very little energy to live: less than 5 Gigajoules per person. 200 years ago we were using around 23, today it’s 75 (V Smil). And that is not just because we live two to three times longer nowadays; our entire life style is simply very expensive to the environment.
Some of us gobble up more than others: 16% of all people – the rich and those living in rich countries – use up 80% of all goods (like meat, cereals, paper, fuel and cars). Sad to say, I’m one of those. Click here to find out how rich you are. Not only that, a lot of food gets wasted: in rich countries like USA and UK around 40%!
Some of us are consuming WAY too much of earth’s limited resources. Even while others are starving. WWF estimates that it would take a year and a half to produce the resources we use up in one year, which means we are literally eating up our own earth. And in our carelessness we are damaging earth so that it can produce less now than it used to.
I love the way the Bible says it:
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10 v 29-31)
Sparrows – lowly, common birds – not even bird lovers value them very highly. We may undervalue nature, God does not. He cares about every last detail.
He values humans higher, but he does not forget nature. This is the only attitude that will get us to the right answers and solutions, environmentally speaking.