CARBON OFFSETTING: THE NEW MIDDLE AGES
Before the world comes to its end, Iona shall be as it was. Seven years before the end, a deluge shall drown the nations: the sea at one tide shall cover Ireland and the green-headed Islay, but Columba’s Isle shall swim above the flood.
Old Gaelic Prophecy on Iona
the Christ, Europe, and you will fail and fall,
Fr Andrei Logvinov, 2003
This curious arrangement may give some a better conscience. ‘I’m going to indulge myself by flying to Spain on holiday. However, since I’ll produce X amount of carbon, I’m going to donate some money, so that a factory in India will be able to put up a solar panel and cut its use of diesel’. Let us be honest, however worthy this may seem on the surface, this is merely conscience money to offset personal indulgence. In fact, it is no different to the medieval indulgences that brought Roman Catholicism into such disrepute and sparked the Protestant Reformation.
With the religion of Roman Catholicism, it was: ‘I can indulge myself and sin as much as I want, because I am paying someone to pray for me, and that will offset all my faults’. Today, with the religion of ‘Western Universalism’, we have modern indulgences. Now we can say: ‘I can pollute as much as I want, because I am paying someone else to pollute less somewhere else’. Just as indulgences were absurd – why get 10,000 years off purgatory (since that is what medieval Roman Catholics were supposed to believe in) - when hell is for all eternity and 10,000 years is no more than an instant in eternity? So today, what is the purpose of paying for a solar panel in India, when the damage is already done somewhere else?
Whatever the short-term value of carbon offsetting, and no doubt this does exist, in the long term it is not going to help. Unless we at source in the old polluting countries (and how we have polluted since the Industrial Revolution began 300 years ago) change our way of life and set an example to new polluters like China and India, who are merely imitating us, nothing is going to change fundamentally. In the long term, only through a radical change of way of life, only through the one politically incorrect word that the Western world does not want to hear at any price, that is repentance, can there be any hope of prolonging the life of the world.
And repentance is of course the one thing that human beings will always avoid doing. So Adam blamed Eve for his disobedience and Eve blamed the serpent for her disobedience. So it seems, having learned nothing, humanity will continue justifying itself, always blaming someone else, ‘offsetting’ responsibility, never reproaching itself for all its sins and continuing to indulge itself, at any price, even though it may quite literally cost the earth. Repentance is not popular. It never has been, because it means changing and humanity is too lazy to change, too intent on saying, ‘it’s not my fault’ to change.
For years, God has called the Western world to repentance, showing it the death-agony of fellow-men in the millions of starving in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, pleading with it to change. There was some response, but only among a few. Why? Because to have helped the starving millions would have meant radically changing our way of life, stopping stripping their countries of natural resources, stopping selling them arms, stopping supporting their corrupt ruling cliques. Now God shows the Western world the agony of the rest of Creation, the natural world. Creation, filled with toxins dumped and pumped into it, in ever-increasing amounts with the passage of time, is dying. The present ‘climate change’ is only the beginning of its death-agony.
This death-agony of the natural world is also the death-agony of humanity, because man is not God, but merely part of Creation. Man spits in the face of God, but man who does so spits back into his own face, for every act of Creation toward the Creator rebounds on Creation. The death of Nature is ultimately the death of humanity. This we see in every flood, in every hurricane, in every advancing desert, for these kill not only plants and animals, but also the crown of Creation, humanity itself.
Once a prophet was sent. He said: ‘It is later than you think’. By and large he was not believed and ignored. Therefore, we say: ‘It is late. This time the evidence is all around us. Let us therefore change our way of life, or else we shall all die’.
of the Cross