Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day and Consumption

I think the most important thing we can do to be good stewards over the Earth is to consume less.  This year we hit the seven billion mark in world population and the numbers will grow to nine billion in the next few decades before leveling off.  This means overwhelming stress on our environments, which we can mitigate by being wise stewards over the Earth.  Here are some prophet warning against over-consumption:

Jacob 2: 11-13
And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully.  And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they.

D&C 49: 19-21
For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance.  But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.  And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.

 D&C 59: 18-20
Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;  Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.  And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.

Pres. Monson, in "Duty Calls" from the November 1996 Ensign, wrote, "We live in a world of waste. Too often our natural resources are squandered. We live in a world of want. Some enjoy the lap of luxury, yet others stare starvation in the face. Food, shelter, clothing, and love are not found by all.  Unrelieved suffering, unnecessary illness, and premature death stalk too many."

Elder Nelson, "The Creation" from the May 2000 Ensign, wrote, "Jesus is the Christ and Creator! He is
Lord over all the earth. As beneficiaries of the divine Creation, what shall we do? We should care for the earth, be wise stewards over it, and preserve it for future generations."

Finally (for now), Elder Maxwell in his book A Wonderful Flood of Light, wrote, "True disciples . . . would be consistent environmentalists – caring both about maintaining the spiritual health of a marriage and preserving a rain forest; caring about preserving the nutrient capacity of a family as well as providing a healthy supply of air and water."

There are many other such exhortations from prophets throughout time which warn against over-consumption.  The detrimental consequences (or perhaps the driving forces) of this sin are pride, inequality, and harm to the Earth itself, which Enoch taught us has a Spirit and is a living thing.

You may not want to call yourself an environmentalist, and you may not agree with all the goals and methods environmentalists use, but you can be a good steward over the Earth by consuming less.  Drive less, use fewer electronics, use less water, eat more locally grown fruits and vegetables and less meat, grow a garden, buy second-hand items, don't concern yourself with name brands and ephemeral trends.  In short, live more simply.  Happy Earth Day.

* I should give credit to Craig Galli who has done a lot of work regarding Mormonism and Environmentalism.


Architect said...

In an economy like ours, conservation poses quite a quandary for the union loving left. In 2008, there was a great opportunity for the end of the automobile dominated landscape as we know it. The one time largest most successful auto manufacturer (GM) had become unsustainable. Al Gore declared in his book that the auto was the enemy of the environment. Here environment-friendly democrats had a moment where they could allow GM to slip into the dust bin of history and strike a blow for the environment. The Hummer brand and its over-sized 5 miles to the gallon wastefulness could have been stopped. Democrats allied themselves with President GW Bush and later President Obama, to keep GM in business. Environment-friendly democrats could have joined with small government, environmentally conscious libertarians and saved the environment and taxpayers at the same time. I was so disappointed.

Jacob S. said...

The political parties are beholden to special interests and solely concerned with retaining power. These facts are more and more clear every day. I wholeheartedly agree that liberals, conservatives, socialists, libertarians should work together when their interests align and the environment is one where it does from time to time. I don't know all the details of the GM saga, but if it was indeed a missed opportunity for the environment then that is too bad.