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Simplicity is not poverty Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Jay-R Patron, Philippines Feb 14, 2008
Environment , Globalization   Opinions


Natural capital, as Dr. James Martin explains it in The Meaning of the 21st Century (Riverhead Books 2006), refers to the environmental resources that fuel man's insatiable need to live and practice culture. Unfortunately, we have thought of and, in some cases, pursued the belief that natural capital is inexhaustible- that we will never run out of food to eat, water to drink, air to breath. Either that or we accept and acknowledge that these resources are indeed fleeting and prone to damage, but disregard any action to preserve and conserve the earth's bounty.

It is a sin to our children and to the future generations to deprive them of the gifts that we get from nature by our inaction in conserving our natural resources. Recently, I've read from an online news source that "A key international body of the Anglican Church has declared the willful destruction of the environment to be a sin" (1). Indeed it is our moral obligation to protect the environment. We are concerned about corruption, graft, the plight of the poor, etc. and yet disregard the very fundamental predicament that we cause to ourselves by shrugging off nature's call to be protected.

This write-up need not provide examples on how we can contribute to the green cause, for we already know how. A statement released by the Anglican Church (2) points out that, "We are becoming increasingly aware that the world is being harmed by us, and we know how to eliminate the harm we are doing." Furthermore, it reads, "This is breaking one of the most fundamental commandments known to us, in that we are knowingly causing the degradation of the world's ecosystems out of our greed and selfishness, rather than living with and protecting the design that issues from the creator's generosity".

Greed is defined as "an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth," (3) to which I add, "to the detriment of others and the environment."

See, we already complain about the rising cost of oil and its implications for the growth of the world economy, but we forget to look at the fact that we consume, in varying amounts, a finite resource which has taken millions of year years to form. Dr. Martin writes that the calculation of GDP ignores natural capital: "Many countries proudly announce that their GDP per capita is growing but, in reality, if the depletion of natural resources were considered, the GDP for almost all nations would be declining."

I quote a line from my executive diary. It says, "Simplicity is not poverty. To live simply is to live in moderation."


1. http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/now-global-warming-is-a-mortal-sin/2005/07/01/1119724815830.html?oneclick=true

2. http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/now-global-warming-is-a-mortal-sin/2005/07/01/1119724815830.html?oneclick=true

3. http://www.answers.com/topic/greed



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Writer Profile
Jay-R Patron

Jay-R Patron, 24 years old, currently works as content provider for a multinational IT consultancy firm, under its interactive marketing department.

He was a writer for Hawaii-based Greater Good Inc., a media company behind the much-acclaimed Greater Good Radio. The show promotes social entrepreneurship and servant leadership.

Jay-r is a Journalism and Communication and Media Studies graduate from the University of Southern Queensland.
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