Killing the golden goose

Published July 13, 2023

By Lib Campbell

Temperatures across America were the highest ever recorded in modern record keeping. The news guys said, “Temps are high, and we can only expect them get higher.” Wildfires, sea rise, death of coral reefs and the loss of habitats point to climate change. Right wing talking points may denounce scientific study of the problem. Many say there is no problem.
But all one has to do is walk outside. Blistering heat is affecting places all around the globe. In some places, temps remain over 100 degrees - even at night. Air all over the Midwest and Northeast is filled with smoke from wildfires in Canada. River basins and marshes reflect water rise. Beaches shrink. Roads flood even in rainstorms, which seems heavier than normal. Temperatures of 90 degrees have been recorded in some ocean waters. 
El Nino is affecting climate this year, no doubt. The National Hurricane Center has raised its expectations for named storms in 2023. We have hardly recovered from the last hurricane season. Warm waters in the Pacific Ocean create huge typhoons that sweep over islands and populations at risk. Climate change is happening fast. Earth is a paradise under assault. Still, we can’t curb our appetite for oil and gasoline. 
This is a “hair on fire” moment. This is a moment for leadership and setting aside personal gain to work on big issues that will bless the world. There is a story I remember that points to the folly of this moment.
There once was a man who owned a goose who laid one golden egg every day. The golden eggs made the man very wealthy. Then the man got greedy and decided there must be many golden eggs inside the goose. He would kill the goose and become even richer. So he killed the goose and found only one last golden egg. 
He killed his money maker. He charted his future in a bad decision based on greed and money. In a lot of ways, he is us. We are him. And we are cooking in our own folly.
I recently learned the Doughnut Theory of Economics. Imagine two concentric circles. The outside circle is the limit beyond which there are existential threats and no turning back. It represents the ways we overshoot the sustainable capabilities and resources of planet earth. 
Our overshooting is in climate change, ozone lay depletion, biodiversity loss, freshwater withdrawals, chemical pollution, acidification of oceans, and there are others.
The inside circle points to all the issues that we fall short in addressing. The shortfall is no mystery: education, social equity, political voice, peace and justice, income and wealth, education, health, food, water, housing, Internet networks. I would add mental health care to the list. 
We human beings live on the glazed surfaces of the doughnut. This is where a social foundation is found. This is where a “safe and just space is found in a regenerative and distributive Economy.” Kate Raworth, an Oxford Economist developed this theory in 2012. To see the problem laid out visually is a helpful tool in discerning how to begin protecting people, animals, earth, and this beautiful creation that we seem bent on using for personal gain. 
What good will the world be when she is killed? We have lived on golden ponds, seen golden sunsets. I pray for an awakening among our elected leaders and the billionaire entrepreneurs who spend willy-nilly for thrill, monetary gain and power. I pray for a re-alignment of priorities that protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Cooking our golden goose is killing our golden goose. There will be nothing left but bones. 
Lib Campbell is a retired Methodist pastor, retreat leader, columnist and host of the blogsite She can be contacted at