Planetary Stewardship

We must move beyond democracy to biocracy, beyond loyalty to our own tribe to a view of ourselves as citizens of planet Earth… We must begin to see ourselves as interrelated and interdependent with the animate and inanimate elements of our planet and begin to follow earth’s house rules of limited use, recycling, and long-term sustainability. These house rules now take on new depth — 

Take only your share

Since all creatures must have food in order to survive, distributive justice becomes a necessary and central human behavior. The whole, the planet, cannot flourish unless the parts are healthy. Hence, “Take only your share” is not a plea for charity to the disadvantaged; rather, it is a law of planetary well-being.

Clean up after yourself

We live in a home, not a hotel, and this home is the only one we will ever have. We must reuse, not use up, everything on the planet. In a healthy ecosystem, everything is recycled: we need to structure our societies on that model. This will not be easy, for our consumer culture thrives on its exact opposite—throwing away.

Keep the house in good repair for others

The house is not ours; we do not own it. Rather, it is on loan to us for our lifetime, and we must sustain it for others. 

These house rules, which are relatively easy to understand at a personal level, become much more complex when applied regionally, nationally, and globally. For instance, what is one’s “share,” or the “share” of a developed country versus that of a developing one, or the “share” of human beings versus that of other life-forms. Take only you share is a rough guideline, initially meaning no more perhaps that its opposite, “Take all you can get.”  

Sallie McFague, Christian theologian
Author: A New Climate For Theology: God, the World and Global Warming

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