I found this sitting in a bookshop a few weeks back and have been dipping into it ever since (the orange book that is, not the vegetable peelings..)
I skipped some chapters as they didn’t seem to be that relevant to the world I live in.
When it was written in the mid 60s we didn’t have mobile phones and Twitter, instant digital communication in our pockets, ATMs, debit cards, Ryanair etc. The population of the earth was 3.3 billion, now there are 4 billion extra people and growing.
It is a pretty good reminder of things I’ve been taught over the years, from talks as a student to chats with people I know.
Reading it now it doesn’t seem to engage with the world much outside the UK, which is was maybe to be expected. Perhaps before the computer revolution the world was less linked. I don’t know if the right term is globalization, but now we’re maybe more linked to people over the planet and not just those in the UK or Ireland.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed by thinking about who is my neighbour and how am I to love them?
Assuming that everyone is my neighbour on the planet right now I don’t really know how to live wisely.
Do we have to make a sort of league table of things we care about a lot and then other things we relegate to near the bottom?
The problem is maybe praying those lines in the Lords Prayer of ‘on earth as in heaven’. The earth is so big! It is tiring trying to work it out. How do I change my actions in a globalized world to make it more like heaven?
An example of the sort of line which I would have accepted as being true when I was student but now I am not so sure about is:-
‘The bounty of nature is there to be used and there is enough for all if only we have energy enough to lay claim to it’
I am not sure if there is enough for all, or at least enough for all living a typical Western diet with hunks of meat and driving cars.
There are 4 billion extra people in those 50 yrs since he wrote this book. Does the planet have enough bounty to allow everyone to live even a modest western style lifestyle?
In some cases is there is even a bounty of nature left for people to use?
An example of that would be the collapse of the cod fishery in Newfoundland.
Around the 60s when this book was written vast quantities of fish where being taken on an industrial scale and then the bounty disappeared.