mother earth

Is the Pope an old hippy at heart?

It’s beginning to look like that. For Pope Francis , it is not enough to put up a few wind -turbines and  some solar panels on the roof of the Vatican  to reduce his own personal carbon footprint . He is preparing in the coming months to write a letter to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.He will also address the UN General Assembly and call for a summit of the world’s main religions. He is to issue an unprecedented  encyclical in March on climate change and human ecology. This is  all part of a revolutionary attempt  by one quite powerful and charismatic individual to harness his following and influence the UN climate change meeting in Paris in 2015 to achieve a universal commitment to reduce carbon emissions.

That strikes me as the kind of thing world  religious leaders should be doing  instead of indulging in the semantics of angels balancing on the head of a pin or waffling on about heavens and hells and other -worldly affairs of the bicameral mind.

Apparently this kind of thing  divides opinion within the Catholic church but also other creationist churches who find  the whole thing “unbiblical”.  I suppose that a lot of these churches , especially in America , believe it is in some way anti-capitalistic  to stymie business in any way. Others think that if we continue to gorge on the earth’s limited resources and pollute it with our industriousness and waste, it will cease to support us little organisms living on its surface .We’ll all die like ticks falling off a dead beast.

The fundamentalist idea appears to be that there is literally a god and if he made the world for mankinds’s use and pleasure , he’ll look out for it in his own way and that every human action …good or bad is…is actually all part and parcel of his own cosmic design ….His Big Plan we should just get on with our plundering …and let god deal with the mess. The idea is that it is the deity’s mess and we humans shouldn’t bother with things that don’t concern us.

Pope Francis’ view is that only the very rich are benefitting at the expense of the very poor. While a handful of individuals plunder the land and all before them , too many live in the  poverty of  this minority’s  looming , dark  shadow.That sounds  a reasonable stance  to me , but then again,  I don’t believe in gods and so don’t have to wrestle with my conscience and my  little hypocrisies ,  as to whether or not it is a good thing or not to be materialistically greedy. We all know that our materialistic culture is built on the backs of the world’s poor…should it only be the cheap Primark socks  or somesuch ,made for a pittance  by indentured children in an Indian or Chinese sweatshop. We are all part of that and for the most part , mostly ignore it in our search for a “wee bargain”.I’m sure those scrambling and fighting for their bargains in the New Year sales never give it a moment’s thought.

In the Bible’s Old Testament  it is recorded how God commanded man to have dominion over the entire earth. I suppose the self-belief starts right there for its  readers. It is why the likes of our own politicians in the Judeo- Christian tradition such as Sammy Wilson , have no problem poo- pooing and disparaging talk of melting ice -caps  or global warming .In that  fatalistic view , that’s the way it’s supposed to be anyway. After all some people in the the far right of Christianity are still awaiting with some glee “the Rapture”…where the “good”  believers will soar heavenwards while the the rest  are consumed in some underworld hell.

I think Pope Francis has got it right this time. On this one we’re both on the same page as pioneers such as Greenpeace.It’s those old hippies again….

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