THE Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year resolution is to be realistic about the future, with particular reference to rubbish. In his New Year message to the nation, Dr Williams said a good resolution would be to have “a real and vivid sense” of what the next generation would be like if we continue to pollute the world at the current rate.
“A lot of the time, we just don’t let ourselves think about the future with realism,” he said. “A culture of vast material waste and emotional short-termism is a culture that is a lot more fragile than it knows.” People could start by doing something straightforward, such as taking their Christmas rubbish to recycling bins, he suggested.
“Despite constant talk about recycling and thinking ‘green’, we’re still a society that produces fantastic quantities of waste.” When everything — from computers to relationships — was constructed on the assumption that they would need replacing before long, something had been lost.
“God is involved in ‘building to last’, in creating a sustainable world and sustainable relationships with us human beings.” God “doesn’t regard anyone as a ‘waste of space’, as not worth his time — from the very beginning of life to its end, whether they are successful, articulate, productive or not.”
Yet the Archbishop’s plea and an appeal by the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, to save energy were challenged by letter-writers to the The Daily Telegraph, who suggested that the Church could start by switching off floodlights on its buildings.
One reader, Dr Leo Enticknap, wrote from York: “The last time I walked past York Minister, it was lit up with floodlighting. Mindful of John 8.7, ‘He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone,’ perhaps the Church of England might like to preach what it practises.”
Bishop James had preached a sermon about light and Christmas in a service attended by the Queen at Sandringham. “Some people, I have noticed around here, turn their houses into minor ecological disaster zones,” he said. The Queen’s Sandringham estate has been decorated with hundreds of lights from Blackpool during the festive period.