I think that one of our goals in life should be to make the world a better place. But how do we know when we have done this?
I remember being part of a conversation with a group of teenagers where one of them, probably about fourteen or fifteen years old, said her parents were about to get her a cell phone. While I don’t think she used the word, she basically described a cell phone as a necessity. She talked about how it was a nuisance to have to borrow one of her friends cell phone to be able to text her other friends. I spoke up to say the phone is not a necessity. How could it be? There are still places with no cell phone signal and life goes on. I survived the first thirty-one years of my life without one (over twenty of those years I had never seen a cell phone except maybe on TV).
Cell phones can be convenient. Serving in a parish with several churches, it certainly is convenient so people can get hold of me. Of course, at one of the churches there is no cell signal and yet parish life continues. Ministry is done with or without the cell phone. Cell phones are convenient but not essential.
You might be wondering why I even bring this up. I just watched a story on the nightly news about the Serengeti in Africa. It is currently known as a very rural setting. The videos in the story showed elephants, lions, and other animals having free range. Vehicle travel is possible on “trails.” On the far side of the Serengeti are minerals that are used in manufacturing cell phones. The government is getting ready to built a road across the Serengeti for trucks hauling the minerals. The opposition is concerned about the effect on the wild animals.
Some might say the animals are not important. I say they are part of God’s creation and have a role to play in the balance of nature. We must ask ourselves is it worth it? We can also ask ourselves are there alternatives? Can the road go around the Serengeti?
God has given us dominion over the Earth. It is a beautiful place. Progress cannot be measured by how many gadgets we have. The only progress that really matters is progress towards fulfilling God’s will for us.
Isn’t it funny how we never think of the ramifications of our needs, er, I mean, wants. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I’m sure there are other ways of acquiring the necessary minerals, hopefully we will realize that before it’s too late.