THE thousands of documented and un- documented hazardous waste sites throughout the world are more than simply polluted pieces of land in urgent need of cleanup. Today many of them are also environmental battlegrounds, where small business, multinational corporations, environmentalists, community groups, and politicians struggle to find the fairest and quickest way to clean up decades of unthinking waste disposal.
In the United States, Congress is addressing reauthorization of the law that governs cleanup of such sites. As concerned world citizens, we can do much to create an atmosphere in which solutions to this contentious problem can be found.
The Bible, in Psalms, says definitively: ``The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein'' (24:1). This all-encompassing truth can serve as a foundation for effective prayer about the need to cleanse our environment. Seen in its proper light--that is, spiritually--the earth is not, in fact, a fragile, physical sphere subject to abuse and contamination. It is the unadulterated, entirely spiritual creation of the eternal and loving God, Spirit. In Science and Heal th with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, says of earth, as the Biblical writers used that term, ``To material sense, earth is matter; to spiritual sense, it is a compound idea'' (p. 585). It is an immortal fact that nothing can pollute this true creation of omniscient divine Spirit.
Man, as God's creation, is likewise spiritual and perfect, belonging to and reflecting God. This man--the true identity of each man, woman, and child--reflects the divinely derived qualities of wisdom, intelligence, justice, mercy, and health. He cannot cause harm, because his very being expresses his creator, God, divine Love.
These spiritual, Scriptural truths of God and man are permanent. And one's understanding of them brings the purifying power of God to bear on the human scene.
``Mental pollution'' is an accurate description of what seems to stand in the way of a solution to the problem of cleaning up hazardous waste. Greed, revenge, fear--such qualities of thought have contributed mightily to both the waste problem and the emotional battles over who is to pay for cleanup. These qualities--though they are not from God, and have no power at all outside of human belief--are ultimately more hazardous to personal and environmental health than any chemical pollution!
If we allow ourselves to be influenced by these destructive thoughts, or cherish them toward any person or group, we are lending our efforts to the side of continuing warfare over this issue. On the other hand, if we maintain the spiritual truths of God and man for all concerned, including ourselves, and yield to the regenerating power of Christ to heal, we can heal the tendency to, and effects of, mental impurity.
The power of the Christ, the eternal manifestation of divine Truth that Christ Jesus demonstrated, works in human thought to negate destructive, sinful attitudes and to establish God, divine Love, as the true motivating force of mankind. Our role--whether or not we're partici-pants in the debate--is to be Christly in thought and action. There is not a moment when it is natural or necessary for the true, spiritual man--our native selves--to be greedy, vengeful, or fearful, no matter how long a problem has
persisted or how objectionable the behavior of an individual or group seems to be.
To the degree that we preserve the pure environment of our own thought--yield to God's eternal control of the spiritual universe, realize the utter powerlessness of any sinful sense to control man, and keep our thought free of sin-- to that degree we can help perform the valuable service of purifying the general atmosphere of human thought. This will help to release humanity from the mental tendencies that keep us from finding ways to solve the widespread problem of accumulated pollution.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. . . . Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness . . . . Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence;
and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Psalms 51:1-3, 7, 8, 10-12