As the election to the European Parliament gets closer, I want to highlight some of the biggest European sins that unfortunately are not very present in the political debates.
The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia describes gluttony as “the excessive indulgence in food and drink. The moral deformity discernible in this vice lies in its defiance of the order postulated by reason, which prescribes necessity as the measure of indulgence in eating and drinking.” It is opposite of contentment and fasting. Gluttony is exetremely common in Europe and the rest of the so called Western world, not only in its original food sense but also when it comes to consuming other goods. In fact, consumerism is the defining social end economic order in modern Europe.
Consumerism is caused by the economic envy of Europe which sees endless economic growth as the main political goal, and it is because of this consumerism we see the horrible greedy neo-colonisalism where Europe enslaves poor workers in Asia and Africa. But not only does consumerism oppress poor workers, it also destroys the environment. It becomes increasingly clear that the world’s climate, water, forests, air, flora, fauna and more get polluted and destroyed by sinful humanity. The environment is a broad topic so let me just focus on the main environmental issue of our time: climate change.
I don’t want to spend so much time refusing climate skeptic’s arguments since that has already been done by others – check this website to find good replies to what they say. We have to agree that man-made climate change is a fact, and that it is caused by inequality and injustice. As the video above shows, it is mostly rich countries that has caused climate change due to their industrial pollutions while it is the poor countries that will suffer the most from climate change’s consequences. Climate change is thus not just one of the biggest market failures, but also one of the biggest neo-colonial strikes against the global south. Europe gets rich through pollution and let the poor countries pay the expensive, life-costing bill.
Europe is often viewed as a quite progressive voice in climate negotiations, and it is true that the European Union is better than countries like the United States, Canada and Australia who are extremely egoistic, block negotiations and constantly gets Climate Action Network‘s not very glorious price fossil of the day at the various Conference of the Parties. But it isn’t hard to be better than these countries. When you look behind the fancy rhetoric and ambitious goals, Europe is not keeping its promises and is not very interested in sustainability at all. This is especially true for the conservative parties in the European Parliament like the EPP, who hardly show any climate action.
Furthermore, a lot of emmissions are cut simply by outsourcing production to Asia and Africa, as I talked about in my last blog post. Yang Ailun at Greenpeace China says: “All the West has done is export a great slice of its carbon footprint to China and make China the world’s factory.” This is beneficial for the Western powers for two reasons: 1) They can easily hide the true environmental costs of their fight for endless growth and consumerism, and 2) They can blame China for being a threat to the global climate and demand that they won’t cut their emissions until China does it.
The result is that we are consuming more resources than the earth can handle, and if ecerybody lived like Europeans we would need two to three planets. If we believe that all people are created in God’s image (Gen 1:27)and have equal value, we must establish global equality, stop consumerism and environmental destruction, and care for God’s creation so that future generations can enjoy it as well. This is however not the priorities of the main European politicians. Jean-Claude Juncker, the presidential candidate for the conservative European People’s Party who will probably become the next President for the European Union (yes, I also heard is name for the first time today) does not have environmental issues or climate change on his agenda. What he has though is money, wealth and growth. Pray for mercy over Europe, because the future looks dark.