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Ungreen thoughts — 7 Comments

  1. It’s going to happen anyway. The cost of oil is only going one direction, so we all better get used to flying a lot less (or winning the lotto). That’s just life. In fact the cost of oil in the future in going to have a fundamentally regressive impact on everything, unfortunately the base of Maslow’s triangle is going to get hit too, as food will inevitably increase in cost given the intense use of petrochemicals in it’s production and distribution. Arguably increasing tax generally will be the only way to provide some modicum of protection to the less well off in the west, but God help the 3rd world countries.

  2. Ah, so price rationing means that working people will pay the cost of environmental changes just as working people are paying for those who bankrupted the country to continue their extravagant lifestyles.

    Changes will bear down differently upon different areas of the developing world, places like Bangladesh face a bleak future, but in other places where there are sustainable farming methods, the decline of the West will leave them able to cope. Will Malthus be proved right, after all?

  3. I’m all for the use of sustainable farming methods, the issue is that the yields are typically lower, therefore the number of people we can feed now is more than we will be able to feed in the future. All human technological development merely forestalls the Malthusian eventuality, unless we get to the point where we can start populating other planets and consuming their resources. Speaking of which, must get the new Star-Trek flick out, haven’t seen it yet.

    Take heart, when we’re shagged, we are all shagged, regardless of wealth, though there will be an inequitable descent of the curve, but arguably those with less may actually suffer less as they have less invested in the status quo, the wealthy may find the changes too challenging to live with. Personally I plan to develop my rabbit hunting skills, especially after some added inspiration from the River Cottage last night.

  4. It is a pipe dream to expect major reductions in emissions from the airline industry while they use current aviation fuels – and at present there are no alternatives.

    If we are not to crucify God’s creation – and in the process humankind, ourselves, made in God’s image – we must urgently reduce emisions of greenhouse gases, of which those from aviation are a small but rapidly growing part. Carbon taxes are an alternative to crude rationing which would maintain some freedom of choice, and if used wisely the money raised, or part of it, can be applied to protect the poor and the vulnerable. But whichever way we cut it, we can no longer afford to be so profligate as we have become *within our lifetime* with fossil energy. And the more we use in the rich world – and we are still rich despite the destruction of wealth brought about by the crash – the more the effects of global warming will impoverish the poor world. It is a moral issue. We are meant surely to tend and care for God’s creation. Surely the Spirit is calling us to rediscover the old fashioned values of holy simplicity, modelled for us by Jesus. Let us live simply that others may simply live, and take personal responsibility for reducing our own carbon footprints.

    It is in fact a spiritual issue. Christians should be like salt and give a lead to our confused and fearful communities. A small start might be a public vigil in your parish to pray for a good result from the Copenhagen climate change summit in December. How about it?

  5. My concern is that ‘Green’ choices are being imposed upon the less wealthy by the powerful in the name of an agenda which the powerful themselves are not embracing.

    There is no reason why carbon taxes need be levied in a regressive way, though, unless one is a Green politician concerned about not alienating one’s middle electoral base. A 10% levy on the ticket price would be considerably fairer than flat rate charges on tickets.

    We had a Day of Prayer for our Nation in our church back in March, which included a focus on our use of God’s Earth.

  6. Rants are good! The Old Testament prophets specialized in vigorous denunciations.

    The Church of Ireland’s great weakness is that there is not a single person on the bench who does not weigh and measure every word.

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