God saw everything….and indeed it was very good. Genesis 1:31
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows…your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3: 4-5
The first creation story in Genesis 1 tells us that when God created the heavens and the earth, God declared that creation was “very good.” The second creation story in Genesis 3 holds humans responsible for their actions towards each other and God’s creation based on their knowledge and their values. Genesis 3 challenges our attempts at denial and indifference to the damage that the ethic of unlimited consumption has placed on the ability of the earth to sustain all forms of life.
Scientists are in agreement that humans are producing profound negative changes in the earth’s natural systems. Global warming, water scarcity, eroding soils, collapsing fisheries, deforestation, resource depletion, and urban sprawl are all products of an industrialized consumer economy based on the fallacy of unlimited resources.
The UCC asks its members to examine their own lives and their own consumption patterns to restore and sustain the “very good” gift of creation. We believe that a sustainable web of life can only be maintained in step with the earth’s capacity to sustain and celebrate life’s natural and human diversity.
One of the common threads of American culture is that “more is better” and that the production and consumption of more “stuff” will lead towards a happier and more satisfied life. This way of thinking has propelled the American economy, but according to studies, it has not made us any happier than we were before the boom beginning in the 1950’s. Instead, it has produced two very harmful results:
- American families are drawn into a work-and-spend lifestyle that values belongings above belonging. We have allowed intentional marketing to set the standard that our value as human beings is measured by what we have rather than by the content of our character.
- Our current rate of consumption is environmentally unsustainable as it uses more resources than the planet can produce or re-produce. In fact, our rate of consumption is denying the children of the future their fair opportunity for comfort, security and a healthy environment.
UCC General Synod Resolutions and Pronouncements
General Synod has spoken to the issues of economic justice and the environment on multiple occasions.