consumerism lifestyle

Make Wealth History, one year on

We started Make Wealth History one year ago today. It’s been quite a journey so far, and I thought I’d pause and take stock.

We started last Easter. Paul was thinking about justice, equality, and the arms trade. I was just back from a conference on Christianity and the environment. We were both buzzing with ideas, a sense of the injustice of the world, and the realization that economic, social and environmental sustainability are all linked.
Between the poverty campaigns and the climate change initiatives, there’s a missing voice. What good will it do us if we make poverty history, but destroy the earth in the process? And how can we stop climate change without putting the brakes on development and shutting out the poor?

It seemed to us at the time that there was a common enemy – greed. Western affluence has a big part to play in poverty, as we exploit unfair trade laws to our own advantage, and turn a blind eye to sweatshops and oppressive governments. First World greed is also largely responsible for our current environmental crisis, as our hypermobile lifestyles and hunger for consumer goods pillage and pollute the earth.

So, we set out to know the enemy, and we’ve learned so much in the last year. We’ve read up on climate change, economics, trade law, architecture, waste management, conservation, land rights. It’s taken us to places we didn’t expect. We’ve made some connections, met interesting people, made friends and new opportunities. It’s been frustrating, bewildering, and exhilarating.

A lot has happened in a year. Some things are better than they were, some things are worse. I still feel like we’ve only scratched the surface of things. I don’t know where the next twelve months will take us. The world faces acute food shortages, the highest oil prices on record, a global economy on the edge of meltdown. This time of unrivalled luxury and unparalleled inequality may be on it’s last legs anyway – perhaps a global recession will make wealth history in ways we didn’t expect. I don’t know. What I do know is that things cannot remain as they are, and there is a growing awareness that we all need to live differently. Call it a movement, an emerging culture, a new world order, or the kingdom of God, it’s an exciting thing to be part of, and we’re going to keep thinking, exploring and writing until it wins.

It remains to say thank you. Thanks to everyone who has read posts, commented, linked, and generally spread the word. The blog has grown beyond anything we expected, and triggered all kinds of interesting conversations, and we’d like to thank you for being a part of it.

Paul and Jeremy Williams

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