We have long noted that the Global Warming (Climate Change) bell ringers are some of the greatest offenders, when it comes to our sensibilities. They ride in private jets to swanky resorts to hold meetings admonishing the world’s population. They manipulate data to support their enlightened theories; they live in opulent mansions (sometimes multiple opulent mansions) and drive the very best cars. They profit from what they preach, and live like they don’t need to care, while telling the rest of the world to make do.They threaten us with an apocalyptic nightmare should we continue our meager (comparatively) lifestyles, while they continue to live like the exalted kings of old (or oil kings of the Middle East). We tolerate this because they are spreading the word and bring awareness, and we feel guilty if we leave the lights on at night in deference to the religion of Global Warming.
Now a new entrant into the debate (that is not decided) has emerged, the very Pope himself has decided to chime in. The leader of the Catholic religion has decided to take it upon himself to lead the charge against Climate Change and has given even more legitimacy to the quest to eliminate “man-made climate change”.
First order of business, issue a decree (encyclical) declaring man-made climate change as real and as a pressing danger. The second order of business, admonish the leaders of the world for not fixing it, come to the US and lecture Congress, visit New York and deliver the same lecture to the UN. It does seem that one group, the Chinese of all people, are taking his call to action seriously.
Another good question will be what happens to the data collected. Will scientists that are also Catholic be obligated to manipulate data to support the Church’s doctrine or will they now face excommunication if they continue to question the science behind it?
Is the Church going to be able to tell those without power that they cannot burn coal or even wood for that matter, or is he simply going to suggest that the US carry that burden to equalize the carbon output?
Practice what you preach
I have long been a critic of the “Al Gore types” of the world because they use the time honored tradition of “do what I say, not what I do” and expect their followers to tow the line while they enjoy the fruits of our “dirty economy”. Now the Pope has an interesting dilemma in front of him. Lead by decree as the others have, or will he lead by example?Will we see the Papal Jet running on bio-fuels as he runs off to spread the good word and visit with his followers? The US Air force has been testing several blends of bio-jet fuel and could be helpful in picking a blend that won’t lead to a crash. However, the price difference is substantial and will require considerable investment to ready the aircraft. But if we are to save the planet shouldn’t he at least try.
Better yet, will we see high-tech video conferencing developed for the Vatican and the network of Catholic diocese and parishes so that such travel is unnecessary? Will the Cardinals forgo travel to Rome in favor of such devices? Would the Vatican support the development of such infrastructure in developing nations, so the Pope could visit without having to leave the confines of his home?
Will we begin to see solar panels on churches and windmills in school parking lots? The Catholic Church is seen almost every city on the planet, a real statement could be made by adding these energy sources in very visible places. Cathedrals with micro windmills on the bell towers would be a high impact statement with great visibility. Of course we would need to get over the obvious limitations and what they might do to the architecture.
What about all of the vehicles the church owns around the world. Shouldn’t they be running electric cars or hybrids at the least? The conversion of thousands of individual cars held by staff, Priests, Bishops, and Cardinals would be a very big statement to the world. Not to mention the boost that Toyota and Tessla would see to their bottom line. What an endorsement, not buying a Tessla is a sin. it was quite a comparison to see Obama's gas guzzling GMC up against the small French Fiat, but was that just symbolism or a reflection of commitment?Lets also remember that the Catholic schools have buses as well. Those could be converted to electric power, or at least be running on natural gas. With the Church behind the conversions those highly visible machines could be running all over the planet. At the very least shouldn’t the Popemobil be running on electric power?
Let’s not forget the weekly/nightly celebration of Mass. Bringing the congregation together even once a week fills large parking lots with cars, a lot of them SUVs filled with families. Is the Pope going to proclaim that those who do not car pool are somehow committing a violation of God’s word? (Or at least violating the leadership of Pope Francis) Will Parish Priests be the environmental policemen telling their congregations to use the bus to come to church or at the very least, car pool? Shouldn’t those Priests be encouraging those that come nightly to ride the bus, or perhaps a Parish van running on natural gas could be used to pick them up and take them home.
Speaking of Mass, will the weekly bulletin and calendar handed out in church be replaced by an email sent to the parish? Those that don’t do this are still killing trees and adding to landfills everywhere. If the Pope makes the production of such wasteful paper goods a sin imagine the impact. Prayer guides could also be converted to digital formats and bibles replaced with Ipads.
Pope Francis leads one of the largest groups on the planet. The Catholic Church transcends borders, languages, and cultures and reaches every corner of the globe. Followers are found everywhere, in government’s highest offices and running some of the worlds largest corporations. Will the Pope use his influence to lead by example and make bold changes or will he use his influence to force change on others? Personally, when the Pope looks at the cost and the burden his recent words are going to create on the Church and followers he might reconsider this course of action.