A Compass Bearing
- 6 Oct 06, 09:42 AM
The tragedy within the Amish Community of Lancaster County Pennsylvania this week brought with it images of their life style. The pictures reminded me of a community of people who for countless years have been content living without the conspicuous trappings of wealth. What can we take from this in the context of our lives and living with climate change?
My heart goes out to the Amish of Lancaster County coping with the loss and injury of their young daughters. But it's neither the appalling events of last week nor their form of Christiantiy that I write. My thoughts on this blog were jogged by the images on TV news - of their wooden houses, their horse drawn carts, harvesting by hand. As I sit here writing and thinking I'm not suggesting that we let everything go, trade in our town houses and head for a sentimental rural paradise (and I'm not suggesting this is the Amish life style) - But it hit me, like a freight train crashing into my life, that we have to go in the direction of wanting less.
WWF reckon that if everyone on Earth were to live with the trappings of the west we'd need three planets to support it. Yes, 3 planets. Look at their campaign "One-Planet Living".
UK MP Clare Short, who was until May 2003 Secretary of State for International Development, told the BBC Natural History Unit in a recent interview that all of humanity should be entitled to the things that we need to give us a good quality of life: access to food, water and shelter - holidays - going to the theatre...what ever it is in our particular culture that gives us a good quality of life, BUT "....we have to cease finding the meaning of life out of more and more goods and wealth....We are trashing the planet in doing so.....And it's making us unhappy".
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in a recent interview for us in the BBC NHU made some interesting comments. One of his statements really stuck with me. He said, "It's not just a matter of avoiding disaster [reversing climate change and it's consequences on the natural world], it's about imagining our humanity freshly....we're no longer brains on stalks ...living in an artificial bubble, we're part of a system and answerable to other parts of that system.[...not easy for the West [to change].
Our challenge is to roll out a simpler life style in which we're both happier and more content than we are today - something that one lonely earth can support - And crucially it must be relevant in an urban context, the setting, after all, in which most of us live.