If the levels of consumption that...the most affluent people enjoy today were replicated across even half of the roughly 9 billion people projected to be on the planet in 2050, the impact on our water supply, air quality, forests, climate, biological diversity, and human health would be severe. (Worldwatch Institute)
As Christians, we recognize the abundance of which Jesus spoke as essential to our wholeness. Yet more often than not, we don't experience or feel that abundance. Could it be that in seeking and attaining more things, we have actually lost something of inestimable value? A loss that comes from the misunderstanding that this abundance is essentially and primarily material; a loss that may in no small measure result from confusing our society's ideal of the "good life" with the "abundant life." If the good life is materialism and the pursuit of the American Dream, the abundant life is authentic wealth. If the good life is individualist and me-centered, the abundant life is characterized by the extension of compassion to all of creation.
Voluntary simplicity must call people to a broader vision -- a vision that sees the connections between ecological and social decline; between environmental and social justice, between personal choices and global issues -- that emerges as a prophetic, compassionate response to today's world. Once people begin to explore simplicity as it speaks to their own concern, they often see how that concern connects to many other issues. And those in the process of modifying their own daily choices might discover the need to work for political change as well.