How Responsible are we?

I was listening to NPR the other day and they were talking about where our garbage goes. I would imagine that most of you thought like me, it goes to the local dump right? Apparently not all of it. It seems that we are shipping a significant amount of our garbage to third world countries to be sorted cheaply and dumped there. We are also shipping a lot of our used electronic equipment to third world countries where they take it apart and try and get any thing useful out of it. This may seem ok, but to do this they often have to melt and burn things, releasing very toxic chemicals into the environment ruining both their air and water.

But this story got me thinking about how much responsibility we have for other countries and people in other places. There are a lot of view here. Some will say we all look out for ourselves. If we can get rid of our junk this way, more power to us, it is less problems for us! Others say we are totally responsible for other countries, that we should be involved in helping them get their country back together. Or maybe the answer is some where in between.

As Christians, the first answer doesn't seem very consistent. We are called to love our neighbors, and that includes neighbors who are far away. We have brothers and sisters in all the world, including those third world countries were we are dumping our garbage. The last answer seems more loving, but I'm still not sure it is the answer. It seems that in trying to be responsible for their well being, we tend to force our beliefs on them. We try to conform them to what we think they should be. I don't really see how that is very loving either. We are all created differently and there is such diversity in this world in general, maybe that is hint!

So that leaves the answer somewhere in between, although I'm not sure exactly where in between! We shouldn't be dumping our trash on others, we made it, we should figure out how to deal with it. We should be helping them somehow. Maybe the key is in figuring out how to be supportive without taking over. That is a tiny little line to walk, but I think we need to get closer to it!

1 comment:

St.Phransus said...

ok, that's just crazy!!! although i'm not surprised when i hear things like this i am shocked to hear it and a bit disturbed.

thanks for posting this.