Wednesday, January 19, 2005

All you can eat! and other troubling thoughts.

I went to an all you can eat Chinese Buffet last night. Very nice. But as I sat munching through my 2nd plate of prawns and ducks and other lovely things, a thought hit me. How much food am I stealing form others by eating this meal?

This set me off thinking. Everyone on the planet has certain resources. I have them abundantly. If everyone lived like me, eating all you can eat, we'd run out. So I must be stealing from others.

But I wasn't intentionally stealing: I just hadn't thought about it before. Is it still morally wrong to do so? I assumed so. So I thought about what else I do on the planet. I consume lots of resources everyday. Probably too much in some case. I had always imagined that campaigning for social justice would end up with everyone living like we do - but of course that is impossible as the planet couldn't sustain that.

So, campaigning for social justice must be able giving up things so that others can have basics. So what should I give up? Trips to the cinema so that electricity can be produced in Sudan for education? Showering every morn so that Zimbabwean farmers can have more to water their crops? That 5th pair of shoes so that Chinese tea workers can have one?

Where does it stop?

And more importantly, am I prepared to give it up? Morally I feel obliged to say yes - but I know I won't. Is this what being 'lukewarm' for Jesus means? If it is, then a lot of people are in a lot of trouble. And I'm included.


Blogger James said...

Good thoughts Young One. They say that if everyone consumed at the level of the west (not sure if the US or UK is taken as normative here, my guess is the US which consumes more per capita than the UK) we would need the equivalent of six earths worth of resources to support humanity. A scary thought.

We're gradually trying to make good on our involvement in Year Of Living Generously -- -- and looking at related resources. It's easy to be overwhelmed by just how poorly we all perform in these things and I think the only way we can move forward is to set ourselves regular, achievable targets. Possibly something to ponder as you head towards a major change in lifestyle?

7:08 AM  

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