Thursday, May 6, 2010

Philosophy 101: Gypsies in the Palace

I have just returned from a family wedding in California, and during the trip, I got to thinking a lot about perspectives on sustainability, particularly when it comes to how we treat the environment.  It seems to me that there are two extremes in opinion.

First, there are those who view human beings as a pest on the Earth.  "Live lightly on the land," to this group, means to diminish human impact as much as possible.  Returning the Earth to a state that it would be in had humans not "interfered" would be ideal, if that were even possible.

Second, there are those who say that God gave humans dominion over the Earth, so we should use it as much as possible.  If it is ours to do with as we see fit, why not leave as big a footprint as we can?

I take a middle approach.  (Although I am probably doomed for using both God and Jimmy Buffett in the same analogy.)  God has given us dominion, true, but that is like asking someone to housesit for you while you are on vacation.  You want your housesitter to enjoy:  have a beer from the fridge, sleep in the guest room, run a load of laundry, and use the hot tub.  After all, he or she is kind enough to take care of things while you are away.

However, you probably don't want your housesitter to throw a giant kegger, bust a hole in the wall, and drink up your vintage scotch.

So what are you going to do with the resources God has given?  Are you going to use them wisely and respectfully, or are you going to be one of the "Gypsies in the Palace?"
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1 comment :

  1. What a wonderful analogy. Nothing that creative can be cut and dried one way or another. Everyone has to do what works best for them.