Friday, March 24, 2006

'What size is your "carbon footprint"?' Who cares?

BP (which used to be "British Petroleum," but the company seems ashamed of that name, now) has been promoting itself with two commercials lately: one promoting ethanol; the other making people feel stupid because they don't know the size of their "carbon footprint."

I didn't care until the final tag's finger-wagging moralism: "we can all do with less."

My score? Twelve tons of CO2 Sounds pretty impressive, huh? But no! That's "less than the US avg of 18.52." I'm so ashamed!

Well, turns out I can redeem myself: all I have to do is go get an SUV--hoohah!

(Now, just so you know; I'm not against moralism; I'm just against moralism in service to a neo-pagan superstition.)


Mark Anthony said...

Umm, what exactly is the "neo-pagan superstition" of which you write? Global warming? Greenhouse effect? I'm just asking...

Father Martin Fox said...

Generally, it is an approach to nature, to the environment, that I am referring to.

There is an earth-worshipping segment of environmentalism that I have in mind, not hard to find, if you look for it.

Beyond that, there is, in my judgment, an approach to these issues that I think generally puts facts in a secondary position.

Thus, discretely, specific issues may or may not have sound thinking behind them: global warming, particular concerns about conservation and stewardship of resources, etc.

But the larger movement around these issues has, in my judgment, taken on a kind of "religious" mindset.

Here's an example: next time someone goes on and on about recycling, try responding that you don't recycle--you think it's a waste of time, and might actually be harmful.

Perhaps the reaction will be grounded in fact and reason, and the other person will calmly explain why s/he thinks recycling makes sense; but I bet the response will be shock, as if you'd just committed a minor sacrilege.

(And, yes, I am skeptical of the value of recycling, although I actually do recycle sporadically.)

I don't claim any expertise in these fields. But the more I see on most of these hot-button environmental issues, the more skeptical I am that these subjects are being treated with objectivity and dispassion -- and I don't mean by the partisans, but by the "experts" who are supposed to give us the straight dope.

I may be wrong, but I strongly suspect a major current of all this is that, well, the ultimate science is secondary; the policy prescriptions justifed by the alleged threat of global warming or oil running out (a ridiculous claim), etc., are good for us even if the justification ends up evanescing (as I predict they will).

All that said, there are some good grounds for some of these impulses. I'm not for materialism, and I am for good stewarship of the world God gave us. But I think most of what we're fed on these subjects, from almost all sources, is poppycock.

Dad29 said...

You have a ways to go, Father.

Fidel Castro has a personal collection of over 300 automobiles.

Forget the CO2; that's about 800 tons of ferrous oxide on the hoof.

Anonymous said...

Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of ecology and the environment, pray for us!