Economizing Earth

Every year, we join the worldwide Earth Day and Earth Hour campaigns to devote at least a day or an hour for Mother Earth. However, have we realized that every millisecond of our lives comes from her? The nourishment of our mind, heart and body undeniably comes from the abundance of nature.

For those who believe in the Bible, the whole existence comes from nothing —creation, ex nihilo.

Deeply explore the story of creation in the context of maintaining the balance of Ecology.

From the first day to the fifth day, the Creator prepared all things in this wide universe and in the place where we live we call home—the Earth. He saw that all these things were well and good: night and day; water and sky; land, seas and vegetation; sun, moon and stars; and sea creatures, birds and animals.

All which have been there became, primarily, the totality of the oikos – household – our home. Etymologically the word ‘ecology’ comes from the Greek ‘eco’ or ‘oikos’.

The Creator saw all he has done were ‘good’.

When English word ‘good’ is translated to the Filipino language as ‘Good morning’, it definitely means ‘magandang umaga’—‘maganda’ literally is ‘beautiful’.

In the Filipino perspective, creation may be the epitome of what is good and beautiful – a comprehensive look at the oikos in itself as both material and transcendental system reflecting the immensity of interconnectedness and order towards harmony between creatures.

This is the genesis of oikos—the household prepared for the sixth day —the first part of the whole story of existence.

It is the ‘household of enoughness’ in which all things have been put in place to address the needs of creation in itself and prepare for the coming of the stewards as the seen reflection of the unseen Creator.

On the sixth day, human beings were made, not created, in the image and likeness of the Creator – from the oikos, dirt was gathered and human life commenced. The creation’s fulfillment and perfection of commenced when the Creator breathed life into the nostrils of the molded earth—coupled with freewill and rationality.

Primarily, the Creator commanded the ‘first human’ to have dominion over all the creation and eventually to tend and keep.

Tend in Hebrew is ‘abad’ which is ‘to work or serve’ in the garden and can be defined as ‘to till or cultivate’. On the other hand keep is ‘shamar’—‘to exercise great care over’.

The first time human beings knew about Economy—to subdue and to take care—having rationality and being part of the whole creation which will sustain life.

Economy comes from the two Greek words ‘oikos’ and ‘nomos’ which mean ‘household’ and ‘management’.

Apparently, economy speaks of the management of the household—hence, to be stewards of the oikos—that is to maintain and oversee the grand goodness, beauty, interconnectedness, symbiosis and interdependence of the whole of creation.

All which were created were then seen as very well and good.

The stewards were instructed then to take care of the whole oikos except that they were prohibited to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

When the first humans gave in to the temptation of the serpent, disobedience and malice reigned in their minds and there was chaos—disorder.

Disobedience led to greed and they ate the forbidden fruit and the corruption of the genuine meaning of Economy began; as we know, all these led to the Great Flood.

There are things in this world which should be preserved and conserved— not to be exploited nor touched nor destroyed.

‘Economy’ in its original meaning is not all about what a chosen few gain from creation, from natural resources. The corruption of economy at present is apparently promoted by transnational companies in connivance with international financial institutions and governments acting like serpents which continuously lure communities with promises in the guise of development. And there comes the reality of resource curse—poor countries rich in natural resources remain ‘economically’ poor leading to utter deprivation of their own source of life.

The whole story of creation is still ongoing and unfolding and the challenge of the Creator remains—to bring back the real meaning of being true managers of the oikos: Eco-nomists.

(A revised version of this blog was published by Manila Standard Today on March 23, 2013.)

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