The will to act

Many of the principles I have been enunciating are included at least implicitly in the declarations, conventions and resolutions that came out of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992; indeed, they form the background of many statements emanating from the United Nations or from official national sources. We are not short of statements of ideals. What tend to be lacking are the capability and resolve to carry them out. Sir Crispin Tickell, a British diplomat who has lectured widely on the policy implications of climate change, has commented 'Mostly we know what to do but we lack the will to do it.'43

Many recognise this lack of will to act as a 'spiritual' problem (using the word spiritual in a general sense), meaning that we are too obsessed with the 'material' and the immediate and fail to act according to generally accepted values and ideals particularly if it means some cost to ourselves or if it is concerned with the future rather than with the present. We are only too aware of the strong temptations we experience at both the personal and the national levels to use the world's resources to gratify our selfishness and greed. Because of this, it has been proposed that at the basis of stewardship should be a principle extending what has traditionally been considered wrong44 - or in religious parlance as sin - to include unwarranted pollution of the environment or lack of care for it.45

Those with religious belief tend to emphasise the importance of coupling together the relationship of humans to the environment to the relationship of humans to God.46 It is here, religious believers would argue, that a solution for the problem of 'lack of will' can be found. That religious belief can provide an important driving force for action is often also recognised by those who look elsewhere than religion for a solution.

0 0

Post a comment