Fluctuating oil prices, corroded pipelines, projected shortfalls, and the growing concern over global warming all have people seeking answers more than ever.
I remember the first Earth Day, in 1970, when Ralph Nader was the featured speaker at my college. We discussed limited global oil supply, pollution from automobiles and industry, and the need for conservation. Predictions were dire, but no one doubted that we could do something to make things right.
Since then, good ideas – from recycling, to conservation and better land management, to cleaner and more efficient technologies – have improved environmental quality in many regions. And today, rather than wondering whose fault it is or how bad it can get, we would do well to ask ourselves how we can find and develop solutions.
I once read a newspaper article from the 1890s that, as I recall, predicted New York City would face an uncontrollable problem with horse manure by the 1920s. Then, what could be called our greatest renewable resource – fresh ideas to meet the demands of the day – stepped in. The most significant advancement at that time was the internal combustion engine, now seen by many as the cause of today's environmental concerns.
But help is here again. This time good ideas are taking form in a variety of alternative fuels. A recent article in this newspaper noted, "After a 20-year hiatus, ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, electricity, and other potential fuels are pushing to challenge king gasoline at the pump" (Aug. 1).
Assuming that new ideas are, in fact, our greatest resource, where are they found? The Bible asserts, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness..." (James 1:17). Good ideas are gifts. They flow continuously from God, divine Mind.
This question, which Mary Baker Eddy posed in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," shifts the focus from the standpoint of lack to the premise of God-given abundance: "Shall we plead for more at the open fount, which is pouring forth more than we accept?" (p. 2). Our real need is to acknowledge God as the limitless source of intelligence with which to solve problems, and to accept more of what is already flowing to each of us from Him.
Everyone has the capacity to commune with God and to gain insights that lead to solutions. As the Psalmist prayed, "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law" (119:18). As children of God, we're each designed to do just that. Such a desire draws individuals closer to the divine Mind, and this results in solutions that benefit everyone.
The effectiveness of our efforts to find answers to environmental questions depends largely on the mental environment we create and maintain. Will it be one of competition for dwindling resources, with greed in the driver's seat? Or will we draw from God's inexhaustible source, and draw together as a people?
In his book "The World Is Flat," Tom Friedman observes that the fuel for today's economies is information. And that those economies most adept at gathering and sharing (not hoarding) ideas and information will prosper. Just in the past decade, technologies such as the Internet and cellular phones have facilitated the distribution of ideas that have brought people and communities closer.
One inspired consciousness, rising to a higher level of spiritual understanding, is a prayer that brings good ideas into focus. We're all innately able to reflect God's wisdom, creativity, and unity of purpose. The expression of divine intelligence will help us regulate our lives on this planet, for the good of all. Each recognition of that spiritual fact, coupled with the willingness to act on it, will reveal significant and lasting solutions.
Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.