Secondary school material
|A suggestion for an address for
collective worship at secondary level
No doubt you are all looking forward to the time when you can drive
a car and when, in due course, you own a car yourself.
you already have a good idea what make and what model you would like.
We live in a society where we take it for granted that if we have
enough money we should have a car. Perhaps even two cars.
people are now beginning to question how much we should really depend
on cars. They are also questioning whether we should rely on vans and
lorries to transport goods or whether we ought to make more use of the
railway network and the waterways.
Can we continue to take more and more land to build roads? Should we
go on using up the world's resources of oil to fuel our petrol
engines? Do we want to spoil more areas with rusting piles of disused
vehicles or mountains of worn-out tyres? Can we justify polluting the
air with the exhaust gases and condemning more and more people to
suffer from asthma?
You would resent it, and no doubt make up you
mind to take no notice, if I suggested that you should not take up
driving at all, let alone buy yourself a car.
But you are the
people who must face the problem. There is a very real conflict
between the increasing the amount of traffic on the roads and the need
to protect the environment from its destructive effects.
course there are steps which governments can take to discourage us
from using cars or to persuade us to use vans and lorries more
economically. They can put up the tax on fuel, or charge us tolls for
using motorways. They can increase the cost of a vehicle licence.
Local authorities can extend pedestrianisation so that most
traffic is kept out of town centres.
These are practical steps to
reduce the problem but they won't take it away.
Traffic is not by any means the only threat to the natural world and
our environment. You can all think of other pressing problems. Rivers
and seas are polluted. We use chemical sprays and uproot hedgerows to
make agriculture more productive with the consequence that birds which
were once common, like thrushes, become an endangered species. It is
up to us to bring that renaissance into being.
can look to scientists and to governments to seek out ways of
protecting the natural world from some of the harm we do whilst ever
we treat it as there just for us to exploit.
But you might
consider whether we ourselves need to change our whole attitude to the
environment. Shouldn't we stop thinking that nature is there simply
for us to use? We need to look upon the earth with love, to cherish it
and to see ourselves as its guardians not its plunderers.
demands a change of attitude that is spiritual, that recognises our
kinship, our oneness with the natural world. Jonathon Porritt has
spoken recently about the need for a spiritual renaissance if we are
to deal with what many regard as an ecological crisis.
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