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Thursday, August 30, 2012

The GOP should rethink ecology

Photo: Flicker/James B Currie
With the presidential election ratcheting up the volume, the Democratic and Republican parties are lobbing more and fiercer attacks.

One Democratic critique is that the GOP doesn’t give a damn about the environment. Many Republicans are helping their opponents by, well, not giving a damn about the environment. 

Speaking at the GOP convention in Tampa, Virginia’s governor and chairman for the party’s Committee on Resolutions Robert McDonnell said that “the EPA is now the Employment Prevention Agency!”

The governor’s sentiments, echoed by other Republicans, is rooted in the party’s ideology of small government—which I often support, even if I do work for the government. In his speech to the convention, Representative Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, put it this way: “I'll take [the freedom offered by the American Dream] any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.”

I don’t know if I’m the sort of government planner that Rep. Ryan is referring, but, again, I understand why people of goodwill make such statements. Sometimes we regulators can overstep our bounds. Sometimes we move too slow to help people build their business. Sometimes we forget the humanity of the people that we are meant to serve. But very often we help when no one else will or can.

In other words, an ugly anti-environmental, anti-regulatory platform is not helpful and it will certainly not help the GOP in places like Ohio—a battleground state—that has many residents suffering from the ills of hydraulic fracking. As noted in a previous post, fracking is messy, poorly regulated means of releasing natural gas that is buried deep in shale deposits below some of the most beautiful parts of America. It’s also being blamed for contaminating peoples' drinking water. This is just the sort of situation where the private and public sectors need to partner to provide jobs, benefit from resources, while protecting innocent people and the environment.

Of course, there are Republicans that do care about God’s creation. These men and women may not receive attention by the media, but they exist and always have. They truly seek to conserve the greatness of America—and that includes its natural environment and heritage.

One group on the forefront of this battle is ConservAmerica, founded in 1995 “to resurrect the GOP's great conservation tradition and to restore natural resource conservation and sound environmental protection as fundamental elements of the Republican Party's vision for America.”

President Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir at Yosemite 
ConservAmerica provides wonderful resources on its website, including sobering quotes by the great Republican conservationist, President Theodore Roosevelt. This is one of my favorites: “The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.”

The website also includes a letter to Gov. Mitt Romney that you can sign (which I did). It urges the presidential hopeful to do the good work of caring for God’s creation. ConservAmerica deserves our support, much like Democrats for Life, the members of which oppose their party’s intensely pro-abortion platform.

Politics is an ugly business. And it can be a disturbing one for people of faith, those of us who seek a higher authority and a different kind of kingdom than those built by men. But the kingdoms of men do require our assistance because we and our children must live in them. That means that we must be present in the world to baptize it with the Gospel of Christ, the Lord of life, a term that Rep. Ryan used in his excellent speech.

And so as part of preaching and living the mysteries of the Triune God, we Catholics enter the political fray to keep the greedy and the selfish and the ignorant from harming the innocent. Sometimes this is the work of regulators like me, sometimes it’s the work of women and men of good will in the free market—but it is always the work of Disciples of Christ, who seek to build communities, foster relations, and nurture and protect all life as we journey together to God.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A book, and the truth about tech

Well, folks, the writing on the book Catholic Ecology continues. I've just "finished" Chapter 3. I think. Well, I'm sure it will be revised many times, but it has a beginning, middle, and endand lots of quotes by Paul VI, JPII, and B16.

Anyway, while my blogging is minimized as the book takes all my time, here's a chilling graphic that seems a bit odd to be sharing via computers. But here it is, and expect more on this topic to come. And keep the prayers coming for the book. Thanks, and God bless. Bill P.

Truth About Tech
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