"The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Voluntary efforts, papal decrees, and governmental programs within the context of the current system are doomed. Why? Because they depend on the very system that caused the crisis in the first place to cure itself. Excommunications would certainly show that the bishops meant business, but even that would be insufficient. "According to James Lovelock, one of the world’s leading earth system scientists, if the global average temperature rise approaches 3˚C (relative to pre-industrial times) and the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) rises above 500 parts per million (ppm), both the world’s oceans and the rainforests will turn into net emitters of greenhouse gases. In that event, the global average temperature could rise further by up to 6˚C, making the greater part of the earth uninhabitable for human beings, raising the sea level by at least 25 meters, and causing the extinction of 90 percent of species and a possible reduction of the world population by 80 percent." Minqi Li, Monthly Review, July - August, 2008. Human survival is at stake. But unlike during the Great Flood, God is now asking humanity a direct question, "Will you take responsibility for the covenant I have made between you and all the creatures of the earth?" Or will you escape into religious fantasies? What is required is a total response. The mark of seriousness is that we face the possibility that the system which provides our current lifestyle is the source of the crisis. If we believe that we can preserve this system, then we still don't take the crisis seriously. Under this system, corporations and nation-states are highly pressured to expand production and accumulate capital on increasingly larger scales. This is not the result of abuse, but is fundamental to global capital. This system cannot be reconciled with ecological sanity. Changes in personal consumer behavior will have no significant impact. Technological miracles are very unlikely. What is left? We must open our hearts to a future in which we care for each other.

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