The Letter from CEDAR | February 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Hong Kong people in middle-aged or above are familiar with a song of Sam Hui in the 70’s describing the hardship from water suspension; and remember the day we shouted ‘Hey My Neighbours below, turn off your water tap!’ Nowadays with the steady water supply from Dongjiang, we seldom need to worry about water shortage. Instead we often hear people advocating today for a simple lifestyle for environmental sake. In fact this is easier to say than to do. The easiest way maybe is pushing the government, manufacturers and logistics industry to take up their responsibilities in environmental protection. However, what they supply every day is merely for satisfying and stimulating our unlimited material demand.
Hong Kong now produces about 3,500 metric tons of kitchen waste every day, one third of them is from the residential household, i.e. you and me! And in each day, an average household in Hong Kong consumes about 125 liters of drinking water, which is 30% higher than the global per capita figure! The carbon emission from the processes in water supply and sewage disposal reaches 1,500 metric tons every day. This carbon dioxide amount needs 125,000 trees to absorb them all! However, these unbelievable figures still have no effect in changing our habits, not to mention about changing our heart at all.
To practice a simple lifestyle is not legalism, but a review of our values. When we look at the world, there are nearly 800 million people living without safe drinking water and 14% of the global population suffers from malnutrition. However, their lives and faith are not necessarily poorer than ours. What we consider as valuable things can mean nothing to them. We all pursue satisfaction in our lives. In prosperous cities, people seek satisfaction from material possession and in consumption. In impoverished places however, satisfaction is grounded in human relationship, advance in life and in faith. The propaganda machine in our society distorts how we see things. Those things we do not need become our desire and even become the necessity. Ironically, those real treasures that are meaningful to our lives are ignored.
‘So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’ (Matthew 6:31-33) Isn’t this marvelous? There is no need to seek our daily needs, but seek ‘the kingdom’ and ‘the righteousness’, and rebuild the relationship with God, human and the land. CEDAR launches the ‘Carbon Fast’ Campaign in every Lent before Easter, encouraging churches and Christians to meditate on the Word of God, reflect on our relationship with God, others and the environment, understand the circumstances of those most affected by climate change, and take part in Carbon Fast to change our inherent life style and to care for the land and the poor.
‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ (Luke 12:34) This is a truth for thousand years. To transform our heart, let’s start with our treasure, go back to simplicity and make good use of all resources, building a flourishing life.
Your co-worker in Christ,
CHAN Nim Chung