The Good Life

“There is little hope of arresting the mad rush toward ecological disaster unless a very large number of persons and institutions renounce certain values which have long dominated civilization. Defining “the good life” in terms of creature comforts and material “progress,” many people in all strata of society cherish such assumptions as the following:

  • Earth’s resources belong to humanity and are inexhaustible.
  • Prosperity is a reward for diligence and character, and poverty is caused by the indolence of the poor.
  • Maximization of profit, economic growth and technological expansion is inevitably good.
  • The threat of intolerable population pressures is exaggerated.
  • Human ingenuity, working through science, technology, and present social structures, can resolve the ecological crisis without decisive changes in values and institutions.

“These old values, reflections of sin and ignorance, flout ecological facts and tear the fabric of interrelatedness which is of the essence of God’s creation. They must be renounced in favor of new values which give priority to quality of life rather than to quantity of things, characterized by responsibility in human community and enlightened care of the earth and its resources.”

  • Lutheran Church in America

Quoted from The Human Crisis in Ecology, an official statement of this church adopted at its 6th Biennial Convention in Dallas, Texas, June 30 – July 6, 1972.

Photograph: A Midsummer’s Day party in Sweden. At this time of year so far north, there is daylight round the clock and the long summer evenings are perhaps the most beautiful in the world. Swedish society is characterized by responsibility in human community and enlightened care of the earth and its resources. Photo by Catharina Blom of Stockholm.