F. Neil Folks: The future: Are we borrowing it without repayment?
May 7, 2010
There is an old Native American Proverb that states, "We are only borrowing Mother Earth's resources from our grandchildren." Just what does this mean, really?
It seems to be saying, spiritually, that we, as the present generation on earth, must steward the resources in such a way that our needs are fulfilled and not being done at the expense of future generations that follow us.
In our present economic crisis, the western culture seems to not be worrying one iota about what's to come. It's all about the now, for that is where I am, now. I need a job to sustain my family and our lifestyle.
Yes, you do, yet …
If we continue to rob Mother Earth of her substance, what will our children and grandchildren have to look forward to? Geneses in the Old Testament says the human race is to steward the resources that Mother Earth has for us, and I don't think this means to squander them. Most of her non-organic resources are very finite, indeed. They will run out.
Yet when economies go south, our short-term minds immediately forget what's coming tomorrow. Let the future generations worry about making a living on a depleted Earth.
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Are we so tunnel-visioned that there may not be other ways of creating substance during these times? Phrases like "our needs are being completely ignored on the Western Slope," or "new laws hurt our energy-based economy and jeopardize the welfare of families in our community," seem very tunnel-visioned to me.
What's happened to the "common good" factor in our communities and at the state level of thinking? Did it go south, too, or did we not really have it in the first place?
Yes, not having a job to support one's family and lifestyle is a very hard pill to swallow. This is a time when Jesus' Great Commission can come into play.
It says "Those who have shall help those who have not." If those in the have don't, those without will take. It is the law of survival.
Now is the time to really take a good look at ourselves and our policies of consumption. Change will come. It is one of the basic laws of the universe. Yet, it is so hard for most of us to accept it. We don't realize that we can be retrained (can we not?) to do new vocations. We have let our lives get so complicated that we seem to not be able to simplify them, to take time to smell the roses occasionally, to let new gifts come to the surface.
We know (or have we forgotten already?) that our energy resources are very finite. It was printed some few short years ago that our local coal mines only had enough coal to extract for about 13 years. Can we not start doing some early retraining to fit into new career fields, such as the natural gas economy? Yet, we must remember that this is also a finite resource. Why do we always wait until we're in a crisis to create something new?
To me, this is an excellent period in global human history to start recreating economies from a consumption-economy to one of eco-economy.
We are in need of policies that create sustainable resource management for materials from Mother Earth.
As St. Francis once said, "We must move toward harmony with all creation, to see the oneness of everything and that we humans are only part of it. Everything is kin; we are all related in some way or another because everything is made from the materials that originated at the dawn of creation."