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Borrowed from the Children

July 14, 2010

There is a Native American proverb that says, “Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children.”

Sometimes we treat the earth as though it, and all of its resources, will last forever.  We can exploit it as we wish, using everything we want rather than enjoying only what we need.  When we are warned that global warming is one result of our overuse of the environment around us, some people laugh and say that global warming is a natural phenomena  and has little to do with human behavior.

I suppose one could argue both ways on that.  Global warming does indeed seem to be a natural part of the earth’s lifecycle.  But many scientists also say that the rate of global warming has been speeding up  frighteningly fast in the past few decades.  We cannot deny the fact that we are spewing an ever-growing tonnage of pollutants into the air, the water and the soil.  Surely we do not believe that Mother Nature can manage straightening out every mess we make no matter how big it is.  A friend once told me that the jury is still out on the question of whether all of this rather negative human behavior is actually causing an increase in global warming.  If my friend is correct and the jury is still out, we still should not sit around quietly waiting for the final answer.  If ten years from now it is proven beyond a doubt that coal-burning plants, polluting cars and greenhouse gasses are truly destroying the environment it will probably be too late to do anything about it.  We need to take action now to protect what we have borrowed from our children so that they and their children will have at least a hope to survive.

God created the world and everything in it and then saw that it was good.  God then asked human beings to take responsibility for it and care for it.  Instead we have abused it, exploited it and ripped it apart to get at its precious resources.  If we do not suffer because of this terrible greed, our children will.

Mahatma Gandhi once said that there are enough resources in the world for everyone’s needs, but not for everyone’s greed.  That is something we should take very seriously if we wish to return a healthy earth to the children from whom we borrowed it.

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