Old Life regular, vd, t, offered this advice for how to respond to climate change:
—Plug in your clocks only when you absolutely have to know what time it is. If you need the alarm, get up five minutes early to set it.
—Al Gore says cigarettes are a significant cause of global warming, so quit smoking and sell him the carbon credits.
—Your kids are useless for pushing your car up to highway speeds, but they can increase your mileage considerably around town. Use your headlights only when there’s no moon, and remember, your horn uses less energy than your turn signal.
—Stairs make you huff and puff and expel carbon dioxide. Use the elevator. And sports are carbon-intensive too, so do ’em on your X-box.
—Take as long as you want browsing in the fridge. Leaving the door open cools the world off.
—Down more Slurpees, or better yet, nice frosty margaritas. See, this isn’t so bad.
—Lower the thermostat in your Gulfstream jet, and make the help wear sweaters.
—We need our corn for ethanol. Switch from Fritos to pork rinds.
—Do not use a television or radio unless it’s bicycle powered, like Gilligan’s.
—Turn your computer off right now. Turn it off, get up out of your chair, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
In contrast, these are part of Pope Francis’ instructions to the faithful and beyond:
203. Since the market tends to promote extreme consumerism in an effort to sell its products, people can easily get caught up in a whirlwind of needless buying and spending. Compulsive consumerism is one example of how the techno-economic paradigm affects individuals. Romano Guardini had already foreseen this: “The gadgets and technics forced upon him by the patterns of machine production and of abstract planning mass man accepts quite simply; they are the forms of life itself. To either a greater or lesser degree mass man is convinced that his conformity is both reasonable and just”. This paradigm leads people to believe that they are free as long as they have the supposed freedom to consume. But those really free are the minority who wield economic and financial power. Amid this confusion, postmodern humanity has not yet achieved a new self-awareness capable of offering guidance and direction, and this lack of identity is a source of anxiety. We have too many means and only a few insubstantial ends.
204. The current global situation engenders a feeling of instability and uncertainty, which in turn becomes “a seedbed for collective selfishness”. When people become self-centred and self-enclosed, their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume. It becomes almost impossible to accept the limits imposed by reality. In this horizon, a genuine sense of the common good also disappears. As these attitudes become more widespread, social norms are respected only to the extent that they do not clash with personal needs. So our concern cannot be limited merely to the threat of extreme weather events, but must also extend to the catastrophic consequences of social unrest. Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.
205. Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning. We are able to take an honest look at ourselves, to acknowledge our deep dissatisfaction, and to embark on new paths to authentic freedom. No system can completely suppress our openness to what is good, true and beautiful, or our God-given ability to respond to his grace at work deep in our hearts. I appeal to everyone throughout the world not to forget this dignity which is ours. No one has the right to take it from us.
I wonder if vd, t would change his tune about the seriousness of climate change after Pope Francis’ encyclical. (I hear unity and obedience to the teachings of the magisterium are traits that Protestants lack.) So far, the responses to Laudato Si at American Spectator have been pro-market and not particularly submissive.
Still, vd, t gets points for edge.