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Sculpture of workers

Resource depletion and sustainability

Sustainability is a headline concern, championed by the United Nations and other international institutions. The Church too ought to play its part in promoting sustainability.

Resources depletion

Primary resources are becoming so depleted, we’re only able to put off a crisis by mining in increasingly inaccessible and hazardous locations. The cost is high in terms of more harm to the environment and local communities.

‘Peak oil’?

It used to be feared that production of oil would peak and then decline – causing prices to shoot up. From an environmental point of view, we might want that to happen. However apart from short term shocks, it now looks unlikely.

The potential supply seems almost inexhaustible – but oil supplies come with increasing risks to safety, to eco-systems and above all the climate. We need to call a halt, before it’s too late.


In the UK the raw materials that go into our consumption of ‘stuff’ has declined, even after allowing for increased imports. Production is increasingly efficient, but our dependence on the material world keeps on growing.

Meanwhile the developing world looks to western lifestyles as the benchmark for material wellbeing – making the problem even worse.

“What shall it profit a man …”

“…If he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37) This is a spiritual at least as much as a physical question.


Diocesan Synod Report 2014.
Back to Environment and Sustainability.

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