Belfast Telegraph

Thought for the weekend: Why we need another revolution

By Rev Dr Allen Sleith

The word 'revolution' is often used to describe a massive change of far-reaching consequence in some aspect of human society, whether that's political upheaval within a country or larger region, or perhaps the way in which social media is now the favoured means of communication.

Three have already happened in the course of human history. The first was the 'agricultural' from about 10,000BCE when people started to practice organised farming. The second was the 'industrial' dating from around 1750CE when technological inventions and mass production changed life irrevocably. The third was the 'information' of recent decades in which computers, IT and related spin-offs has impacted our world enormously.

However, a fourth revolution is now in order, and if we don't undertake it soon the consequences will be disastrous for all of earth's inhabitants: it's the 'ecological'. Earth's well-being, including our well-being, is fundamental to the biblical message, and the Christian gospel, and the way in which we carry out the sacred trust that God has gifted us, will shape our future for weal or woe.

Recently the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme collated extensive data that was then assembled in various graphs to show significant major trends from 1750 to 2000, roughly the periods of the industrial and information revolutions. Whether the Y-axis of the graph showed global population, total real GDP, water use, fertiliser consumption, toxic atmospheric gases, ozone depletion, floods, climate temperature, species extinction, a slow steady rise from 1750 to 1950 suddenly veered steeply upwards to the year 2000.

As Daniel Maguire put it: "If present trends continue, we will not." As ever with prophets, the warning is given but hope is still held out for a change for the better instead.

Belfast Telegraph


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