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.
Certainly we are gluttons when it comes to the material things of this world. But there is way too much propaganda cited in this article. “We have to agree that man-made climate change is a fact…” Yes, the urban heat island effect is one of them. It distorts the temperature record. But ignorance is rampant when it comes to C02’s effects. Dismissing such world-renowned experts as Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT, or fellow Christian Dr. John Christy, both of whom served on the IPCC, is childish. Putting climate change in the same category as pollution is ignorant and foolish. As Dr. Christy has noted, the climate system is chaotic and thnking politicians can control or affect it is “hubris.” Climate science is still primitive no matter what the guys in white coats who have been gluttons for government grants may tell you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJwayalLpYY
Thanks for your comment. As mentioned above, I recommend https://www.skepticalscience.com/ for responses to arguments from climate skeptics. I find it fascinating that you think it’s “childish” to dismiss the works of two ex-IPCC climate skeptics, while you at the same time dismiss the thousands of climate scientists in IPCC and elsewhere that argue that man-made climate change is a fact and that it is devastating. In fact, the skeptics are a tiny minority among climate scientists, see http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus and https://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus-advanced.htm So for climate skepticism to work, you have to dismiss scientists’ opinion totally, rather than argue that those who trust the opinion of the vast majority are “childish” while those who trust the opinion of the very small minority have the truth.
Thanks for this post. Here in the UK there is a real possibility that an anti EU party will win the election. They have very little to say about climate change unfortunately and there is a danger that after the elction Europe will see UK through these lenses.
And it shouldnt be forgotten that we are all individually guilty of climate change, including you! – to be able to write this blog I assume you use a pc or laptop, which uses precious metals and consumes electricity, no doubt mostly from fossil fuels, even in Sweden! (Im not picking on you, I am as guilty if not more).Yes politicians should be leading with appropriate policies, but we are all consumers, even in developing countries (personally I find it disgusting that the Indian governement spends millions of pounds on space technology whilst allowing other ‘developed’ countries gives millions more in aid so that some of its poorest people have food to eat! But I digress…).
Individuals definitely have a huge responsibility in living sustainable. Personally I have spent years lobbying for green and fair electronics at my Swedish website http://rattviselektronik.wordpress.com/ and I completely agree that the electronics industry is dirty. This is why I bought both my phone and laptop second hand from people that didn’t want them anymore to minimize their harmful production impacts.
To live like Jesus I think we must limit our consumption to a point where it’s not only sustainable but also so that we can promote global equality. That’s why I promote the Costa Rica solution, where one limits oneself to live on less than 13 000 US dollars a year: https://holyspiritactivism.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/how-to-create-global-economic-equality-the-costa-rica-solution/
13 000 USD depends where you live.
In a country such as Sweden, I think it’s easier to live comfortably earning and spending less money, since you have a better welfare state.
Here in Brazil public services are not that good. Although I agree that most of the time we tend to spend money with things that aren’t really that important. But it’s a nice discussion.
That is a very interesting perspective. Most people in the West that I’ve talked to say it’s the other way around – they think it’s expensive to live in rich nations and cheap to live in poor. Perhaps they don’t think about the costs for health care, medicine, school etc.
I hope though that if churches practice community of goods like in the book of Acts, hopefully they will be able to pay the health care costs of its members – especially if they cooperate with wealthier communities abroad. I think the Costa Rivs principle would be easier to live up to then.
O! For me it is really surprisingly the other way around.
But first of all, one should discuss what would be the basic needs in order to calculate the costs of living in each place.
But all of this should be part of a bigger discussion, and inside or outside the Church, social and economic equality are seldom discussed in a deep manner.
I myself am to blame on that =)
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