Pondering Principles – Water, Air, Soil, Minerals, Plants

You can read the UMC Social Principles here. 
Today, I am going to reflect on two parts of this section that stuck out to me.

First up:

We support policies that develop alternatives to chemicals used for growing, processing, and preserving food, and we strongly urge adequate research into their effects upon God’s creation prior to utilization.

Social Principles: Water, Air, Soil, Minerals, Plants

I think we are going to see a recurring theme where our Social Principles speak against things that are RAMPANT in our culture. When was the last time you ate a whole meal made with food that didn’t have any processing or chemical intervention? Unless you grow all of your own plants and raise livestock (and grow their food too), the answer is likely never. I’m not about to go on a tirade about that. I mean, I could and perhaps we should, but that’s not what really stuck out.

What got me was that last part, the call to fo forward thinking about the effects upon God’s creation prior to using chemicals. This isn’t a truth only about chemicals. We should be far more concerned and intentional about who we impact this world ahead of time. But, humans love to be a “hindsight is 20/20” people. We love to ask forgiveness instead of permission. What we are beginning to learn the hard way is that nature is fairly unforgiving so we might want to be a little nicer and start worrying about how things are going to work out before we do damage.

We are deeply concerned about the privatization of water resources, the bottling of water to be sold as a commodity for profit, and the resources that go into packaging bottled water.

Social Principles: Water, Air, Soil, Minerals, Plants

Oh boy. I once heard a comedian, I think it was Chris Rock, make a comment that eventually corporations will charge for air when they can figure out the process. I have to agree with him. The privatization of water shows that companies will make money off of anything even if it is a public resource.

Instead of harping on culture and corporations at large, though, I want to point out the insane amounts of bottled water we have at events like our Annual Conference. I drink them. Everyone drinks them. Bottled water has become a staple. If we were really THAT concerned as a denomination about the state of bottled water, we would be doing more to prevent using it at literally every single UM function.

Hell, I know people who will not drink tap water because it “tastes funny.” Maybe, instead of encouraging companies to continue bottling water by paying them to do so, we can put our money toward public infrastructure to improve the availability and quality of water to everyone.

Let me be clear that I agree with our Social Principle here. My issue isn’t with the Principle. My issue is with the fact that we seem to talk a big game but back it up little in practice. Maybe we should call a meeting and talk about it…


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