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Readings for Today

Greenwash

Photo Credit: Devan Buchanan//flickr

It’s not just companies that are guilty of “greenwash”; each one of us is prone to seeking places of honor on an environmental bandwagon.

 The original audiences in today’s readings are admonished for hypocrisy of various kinds. The leaders of Sodom and Gomorrah are instructed to put their house in order, especially in terms of their treatment of the poor. The Psalmist targets ‘talkers’ who proclaim God only with their mouths. Jesus sets his sights on religious experts who impose burdens without doing anything to help others. What these groups have in common is pride. They are not concerned with truth, but that others look well on them.

I’m involved with an organisation called the London Mining Network. It’s a coalition of NGOs whose aim is to expose the double standards of mining companies with poor human rights and environmental records who use their presence in the respectable City of London to “greenwash” their reputations. Like those addressed in today’s readings, they pay only lip service to laws and standards designed to protect the vulnerable.

And yet, Lent is perhaps a time to remind ourselves that advocacy regarding structural sin against Mother Earth should never blind us to our own personal responsibilities.

Reflection Questions:

  • When have I been motivated to champion causes, merely in order to create a good impression?
  • In what areas of my life do I preach more than I practice?

Henry Longbottom SJ is a British Scholastic studying Theology in London. Prior to joining the Society of Jesus, he worked as an environmental attorney. He runs a blog Greenjesuit.org

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