PEP Newsletter

Ideas For Your Parish

__________________________________________________                                                                                                    October, 2021

It Won’t Be Pretty

            The book is called, The Ministry For the Future, the latest novel of Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit, 2020).  It begins with a deadly heat wave in India in which tens of millions die, but moves toward a hopeful sharing of resources that seeks to keep the earth’s increase in temperature to two degrees centigrade or less.  The UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow during this November will include over 30,000 delegates from around the globe, including Pope Francis.  In Laudato Si’ he wrote, “Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us.” [160]

Both Macro and Micro

            The crisis is real and must be confronted by governments as a whole (macro), as well as by local communities, churches and organizations (micro).  An excellent guide for helping to reduce our carbon footprint is The Climate Diet by Paul Greenberg (Penguin Books, 2021). It covers such areas as eating and drinking, saving and spending, fighting and winning.  Here is a sampling of some of Greenberg’s suggestions.

Changing Habits

  • Ease up on the meat and cheese; consider chicken and wild fish instead.

      “If every beef-eating American switched to chicken, the United States would cut its carbon emissions by over 200 million tons.” (p. 5)

  • Veggies are good, but roots are better.

      “In case you’re wondering which foods deliver the absolute most nutrients for the absolute least  emissions it’s  … carrots.” (p. 15)

  • Buy food without the packaging; and reduce the use of aluminum foil.

      “Aluminum manufacture requires a tremendous amount of electricity – around 3 percent of the global  supply.” (p. 21)

  • Reduce the amount of wasted food; compost what is left over.

      “Americans throw out about 40 percent of their food. . . . United States has larger landfill emissions than any other country on Earth, the equivalent of 37 million cars on the road each year.” (p. 23)

  • Use electricity instead of gas for cooking, water heater, dryer and furnace.

      “Every time you turn on your gas stove, or every time your gas water heater fires up, methane leaks into the atmosphere.” (p. 45)

  • Drink from the tap; it is by far the cheapest drink in both emissions and money.

      “The billions of plastic bottles manufactured every year . . . use the equivalent of around 17 million barrels of oil – enough to fuel more than a million cars and light trucks for a year.” (p. 27)

  • Change part of the lawn into a forest; plant trees as gifts to one another and for special occasions.

      “Just half an acre of lawn converted to forest and allowed to grow to maturity will sequester more carbon dioxide than a car emits in a year.” (p. 58)     

An Urgent Call

            “Trimming your personal carbon emissions has two effects,” Greenberg states.  “The most immediate and obvious one is a simple raw reduction of pounds of carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere.  The second and perhaps more important effect is that once we establish an effective climate diet ourselves, we might work to get the nation on one as well.” (p. 95)  This is the calling of the the Church and local parish, to be known as “Instigators of Change.”  The life of our species and of our home planet depends on it.