I'm in a cranky mood today, so expect some kvetching over minor things. Take for example this piece by Bill McKibben, who is a excellent activist. I him support in his effort to get universities to divest from fossil fuel companies. This effort is so worthwhile, as it hits these companies where it hurts - the wallet and public image.
My nitpicking starts with the mere title of the piece: What religion can teach climate scientists.
More on this later. Take a look at the first two paragraphs.
Pope Francis’s remarkable encyclical, Laudato Si’, has been rightly hailed as a watershed moment in the climate debate, the moment when religion finally took note of what science had been saying for a couple of decades. As with all watersheds, though, the river at the bottom draws its power from all the creeks that feed in along the way — it’s worth remembering just how many people (a large number of them in Massachusetts) have worked over the years to build a true faith-based environmental movement. How they’ve managed to do it holds lessons for all of us trying to spread the word about climate change.Can we all stop and ask why the Roman Catholic Church - the leader of which is apparently an infallible conduit for the word of God himself - is now finally tuning in to what scientists have been screaming, ever louder each year, for decades?
Twenty-five years ago, when this work was just getting started, there was nothing easy about it: In liberal churches and synagogues, environmentalism was considered slightly elitist, a task to be gotten to once the serious business of war and hunger had been dealt with. In conservative congregations, anything green was considered a depot on the track to paganism.
Then you have evangelicals who are still in denial against all evidence and reason. How many more decades can we afford to waste trying to drag them kicking and screaming into reality?
And after all of this... they will mark it proudly on flags and wave them about for everyone: we've always known that climate change is legit! In fact, it was the Christians and Christianity which was instrumental in the environmental movement. Praise Jesus.
It has been this way with slavery in the South and it will be so for same-sex marriage and LGBT rights. It's good they are catching up, finally, but it's bloody aggravating.
In the end, it may be less the political power of faith communities that matters and more their ability to transform the bleak message of scientists into something that more people can hear. Faith-based environmentalists, after all, are allowed to have some hope that if they work hard, the world might meet them halfway.Such is the problem with basing your environmentalism on faith rather than evidence and science - you'll remain obstinately behind the times - perhaps with fatal results for our species and thousands of others on this planet.