I was quite struck by a customer's account of his recent holiday in China. He said that in all the time he was there, visiting the usual tourist resorts across that vast country, the sun was never seen, except in Hong Kong (and that was unusual apparently). It was hot weather all the time. The reason quite simply was air pollution. The constant murky conditions were referred to only this week in the news, with it being one year away from the Olympic Games in Beijing. Despite radical Chinese plans to shut down industry altogether for the period of the Games, the IOC are saying even now that some events may be affected by poor air quality. China is probably the world's largest polluter now - see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6769743.stm . However, as this article points out, the West cannot take any moral high ground on the subject because they have gradually moved their manufacturing base to China and the far east because of cheap labour costs. Hence less emissions here and more there. This movement is also noticeable in the book publishing market. I am reliably informed that all children's colour board books are now printed in the far east - things are so far gone that there is no Printer with the kit to do the job in this country now! Generally speaking the Christian publishers have already turned to follow the trend. 'We have to,' is the cry. 'People expect Christian books to be in the same price league with mainstream stuff... Printing costs in the UK are the highest in the world...' etc. I wonder if Christians would be more inclined to pay a little extra for a Christian book that they knew had been produced with the highest ethical and environmental standards. Or in a "World Village" is everyone satisfied to preach 'love thy neighbour', but at the same time flytip in his back garden?
IVP have produced (I trust cleanly!) some interesting books on the subject of Christians and the environment. I don't think I have found one which thinks the subject right through from a Reformed perspective yet, but there are gleanings here and there. Examples are 'When Enough is Enough' and 'The Care of Creation' both edited by R J Berry. Also 'L is for Lifestyle' by Ruth Valerio, although this is a bit wacky in places. However I'm sure we'll find an odd copy from under the counter for you if you ask.