Zen at the Convention

Why on earth would an Episcopal diocese have a resolution about plastic water bottles at its convention? What kind of tree-hugging greenies would propose something like that? Don’t they have better things to discuss? Since when does Church have anything to do with the Environment?

Well, for Episcopalians, stewardship of the earth is part of our Prayers of the People:

Open, O Lord, the eyes of all people to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works, that, rejoicing in thy whole creation, they may honor thee with their substance, and be faithful stewards of thy bounty.

Many Christians can cite chapter and verse pointing to God’s directive that humans rule over the earth, and it’s generally accepted that God’s idea of ruling is to take care of your dominion.

But the debate on the floor didn’t dwell on scripture. One eloquent young woman talked about the millions of barrels of oil and tons of carbon dioxide that it takes to supply Americans with our water bottles. Another pointed to the lost convenience, and the small impact that our convention — only a few hundred people — would have.

Convenience?!! How can you care about convenience at a time like this? Doesn’t global warming mean anything to you?

But just think about it. How much innovation in the marketplace involves convenience? How many millions of marketing dollars are spent to tell busy Americans how much easier this product is going to make their lives. Aren’t we all convinced that we need to save time and energy?

I’m glad the measure passed. The simple act of refilling my cup from the big jug of water on the table gave me pleasure, a tiny moment of peace in the clamor of the convention. And if there’s something I value more than convenience, it is peace.

Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil last year – enough fuel for more than 1 million U.S. cars for a year – and generated more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil last year – enough fuel for more than 1 million U.S. cars for a year – and generated more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.

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