Friday, November 25, 2016

Planetary Repentance

Image result for earth's atmosphere

On this Black Friday I'm reminding myself that a foundational tenet of my faith is that God is the Creator. I'm not sure how I reconcile this with the Big Bang and evolution but  I'm with Pope Francis that God can be present in these processes and we don't have to be shackled by misguided convictions about a literal six-day creation.

Even though humans  have made some feeble steps in exploring the universe, to this point there is no evidence of another planet like ours which sustains complex life forms. What we can agree upon, whatever we think about the origins of Earth and the creatures which inhabit it, is that there is a what seems like a gossamer thin layer around the planet which is the atmosphere allowing us to exist. It's only a few kilometres deep in a universe where distances are measured in light years. At the summit of the highest mountain, Everest, humans can't breathe without assistance.  

You may have been aware of late that many cities in Asia have been choked by pollution, the result of burgeoning populations, the acceleration of industrial pollution, and the development of a middle class which can afford inexpensive, carbon-spewing vehicles. They want the Western notion of the "good life."

Image result for asian air pollution affecting world’s weather

Recently cities in India and China have been forced to close schools and issue warnings about airborne particulate levels so high that they are beyond standards of measurement. This is far more than an inconvenience. It's estimated that between China and India six thousand people a DAY die of air pollution, which is more than 200,000 a year.

When I read the stories of severe degradation of air quality in other parts of the world I remind myself that ultimately we share that atmosphere and breathe that air. Even the world's greenest country, Iceland, is affected by pollution from Asia And when I decry what is happening I have to ask about my lifestyle, including hopping on a plane for a vacation in Iceland or anywhere else. Black Friday is another reminder of how messed up our priorities can be.

I realize that in order not to be a hypocrite about my desire to be a responsible citizen of Earth and a child of the Creator I have to repent, to change my foolish ways. It's finding the courage to do so.


1 comment:

roger said...

I hear ya. We all leave a carbon footprint, even those of us who hold the environment as being sacred and deserving better treatment.

We still have to heat our homes, fuel our cars...and yes, fly to Europe for holidays(!), but if we can at least make small changes that will not take all the fun out of life, that would be a start.

How about we start with NOT idling our cars forever, NOT throwing cigarette butts out the window, and NOT polluting our streams, rivers and lakes. Let's throw in boycotting plastic water bottles for good measure.

I am interested in one day purchasing a fully electric vehicle - right now, the range they can go without charge is just not high enough. I would also want to know if millions of people plugging in their vehicles is also going to cause problems.

Now excuse me, I have to join the lineups at the mall on this Black Friday(after going through the Tim Horton's drive thru of course).