What does it mean to be eco?


A brief definition, which is neat, tidy, and sufficiently encompassing

I had a thought today. What is the best way of describing the drive that is really at the heart of being ecologically friendly? In life, our purpose is to fulfil the creation to multiply and fill the Earth, subduing it and being fruitful, exercising dominion over every part of creation. This is a very broad mandate, encompassing all of human culture, from the intellectual expression of it, those things we enjoy in our minds without consuming any physical resources like music, or maths; secondly those things we actually have to make, like gold jewellery or bathroom tiles; finally, there are the social aspects of culture, in our friendships, families, or coworkers as we create value by building up relationships (I doubt I made up this threefold division entirely on my own; it’s possible, though, since I have no idea where I might have filched it from).

Being eco is simply the observation that only physical aspects of culture have any real capacity constraints on them, coupled with the attitude that we wish to examine these physical resources we consume and keep them in right proportion to the other ways we engage in culture-building. That’s a pretty neat way of summarising eco, and is theologically low-level enough to build pretty much anything we want on it without being reductionist.