The Environmental Spectator
Without the evangelical community’s involvement, efforts to build a “broad coalition to pass major climate policies” are “doomed,” according to a just-released report from New America—a nonprofit group that claims to be “dedicated to the renewal of American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age.”
“Spreading the Gospel of climate change: an evangelical battleground,” according to E&E News, offers an “autopsy of evangelicals’ influence on U.S. Climate law.” While the efforts “failed,” the report concludes it is “not a lost cause,” as the authors posit that “there is an untapped potential for environmental activism in the world of evangelical Christianity.” The closing words are “it is a battle worth fighting.”
For the first time, “Catholic leaders representing all regional and national bishops conferences” have come together in a “joint appeal.” According to reporting in the New York Times, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, India, called the October 26 meeting at the Vatican a “historic occasion.”
What brought all these Catholic leaders together for the first time? Not the refugee crisis in Europe. Not the plight of Christians in the Middle East. Not to meet over the church’s current scandalous finances. Not a prayer meeting or a Bible study. It was climate change and the climate aid funds, which take from the rich countries to give to the poor, promoting renewable energy.
A theme of environmentalism is human beings need to be in harmony with nature so they can do right by it. This is, of course, a moral or ethical claim, sometimes with political implications. The assumption of this claim is humans have a choice about what they do: They can do the right thing or the wrong thing, where that difference is relevant. Environmentalism maintains the right thing vis-à-vis nature is to be in harmony with it, to avoid violating it, etc.
Obviously, I am framing things in the most general way, but my goal here is to address fundamental matters related to environmentalism. The basic issue is simple enough: Environmentalism is itself committed, implicitly, to individualism when it demands individuals alter their conduct toward the environment. The implication lies in the fact environmentalism places before human beings the very broad, general moral imperative, “You ought to act in harmony with nature.”
The reason most often cited for the success of the nonpolitical candidates is the frustration with Washington; the sense that the system is broken. Voters feel that we have no control and that government has gone wild. Even people who don’t watch the news or closely follow politics are aware of the “overreach.” It seems that, perhaps, the messages the outsiders have been heralding on the trail has caught on.
Washington’s overreach has been rolled back—by courts and commissioners and, even, in response, the government itself. In little more than 30 days, there have been five distinct cases that you may have missed—each, a victory for responsible land use.
While Pope Francis was shuttled around during his historic visit to the U.S. in a Fiat, he shared the news cycle with Volkswagen.
The pope made headlines with his calls for action on climate change. USA Today touted: “Obama, Pope Francis praise each other on climate change.” In his September 23 speech from the White House lawn, the Pope addressed President Obama saying: “I find it encouraging that you are introducing an initiative for reducing air pollution.” Addressing that comment, Business Insider added: “He praised President Barack Obama for his proposals, which aim for the US to cut emissions by up to 28% over the next decade.”
Pope Francis has yet to invoke the doctrine of papal infallibility for his environmental encyclical, Laudato si’. That would require the agreement of all of his bishops. Not all of the world’s leading Catholic clerics have concurred on the secular doctrine of environmental alarmism.
But an unconventional ecumenical ally has. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency co-wrote the encyclical, according to an op/ed by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), a Catholic congressman who is boycotting the pope’s planned address to the Congress this week.
Unless a federal judge issues a preliminary injunction, the definition of the “Waters of the U.S.” will change on August 28—giving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate the water in your backyard (even the water that might be in your backyard due to a heavy rain). Even, according to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, “any area where agencies believe water may flow once every 100 years.”
Hillary Clinton’s absolutely authoritarian environmental policy scheme makes Barack Obama’s audacious clean energy pitch seem timid. On the campaign trail in Ames, Iowa recently, the former Secretary of State said she wanted renewable energy to account for 33 percent of America’s electric power by 2027, 13 percent more than the president proposed last week.
“I want more wind, more solar, more advanced biofuels, more energy efficiency,” said Clinton. “And, I’ve got to tell you, people who argue against this are just not paying attention.”
Her cry of more, more, more, is a bit disconcerting, considering that Obama’s plan would “wash away” the coal industry, even though the U.S. accounts for only 15 percent of the world’s CO2 output, and even now is a global leader in renewable power, according to analysts.
Like a modern-day Sisyphus pushing his Prius hybrid up Nob Hill in San Francisco, today’s enviro-man has met his existential match. Tired of trolling online magazines, calling out the capitalists behind every skeptical op/ed on climate change, and reworking trite talking points on eco-health hazards before the next news cycle, enviro-man is finally giving up.
Retreating to rural Vermont, wearing only his Birkenstock sandals, and a tattered shawl, while carrying a handful of organic peanuts, he is prepared to walk the earth, alone inside his own tiny carbon footprint, never to agitate again.
According to a piece in this weekend’s MIT Technology Review, as the international climate talks in Paris approach this fall, many eco-activists are apparently too depressed about their real-world political ineffectiveness to get out of bed and join other revolutionaries on their parapets along the Seine.