Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

This is certainly the upside of peak oil.

What will they think of next?


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I am so glad to live in Walworth New York. Wayne County New York is an agrarian paradise. During the summer the road sides are dotted with small farm stands standing in front of handsome old farm houses. Pick up your fruits and veggies put your money in a little box and you are on your way.

For ravenous carnivores like the Chellis family, Wayne County has another hidden pleasure. Just down the road, really in middle of nowhere, stands Joe’s Meat Market. At first glance Joe’s looks like a regular farm but on closer inspection the astute eye will note that cattle trucks parked by the slaughterhouse. Here local cows, pig, ect. are brought to be slaughtered, butchered, packaged, and sold. The prices are significantly LOWER than the local supermarkets and the quality is far superior.

After living here for a few years we were able to get our hands on a freezer. We now buy our beef by the quarter and our pork by the half pig. They come from local farmers who are our neighbors. The animals are treated humanely by farmers who remain committed to authentic husbandry. This allows our family to eat well at a cheeper price and with a cleaner conscience.

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Industrial and farming are two words that should never be in the same sentence except by way of contrast. Kinda like the words industrial and ecclesiastical. Mega-churches with cheap salvation. Mega-meats with cheap chicken. Everyone once in a while a news story offers a warning about the dangers, even the sins, of industrial farming practices and their effects on the food supply. Few seem to ever think deeply about the implication no matter how disturbing or disgusting the details. Today’s massive meat recall is such a story.

If your conscience is not bothered by eating that large, cheap steak from your local supermarket you might want to pick up a copy of Matthew Scully’s book Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy. If you are thinking… oh boy, I am not reading some left-wing diatribe from some animal rights freak… reconsider. Matthew Scully is a conservative who has written for National Review and the American Conservative. He has served as a speech writer to conservatives like G. W. Bush (does he still count as a conservative?), Dan Quayle, Bob Dole, Robert Casey, and Fife Symington). It is worth checking out.

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Governor Mark Sanford would be a welcome addition to the Republican 2008 Presidential Ticket. A rock ribbed conservative, Sanford’s voting record as a congressman was nearly as fiscally conservative as Ron Paul’s (often they were the only nay votes).

One of the few bright spots visible within the near future of the Right, Sanford also offers a hope for a renewed interest in environmental questions among conservatives.

This 2007 article by Sanford is entitled A Conservative Conservationist: Why the Right Needs to Get Invested in the Search for Climate Solutions.

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Excellent book review at University Bookman.

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This article, entitled Christianity and the Survival of Creation, by Wendell Berry is well worth reading and considering in light of our global warming discussions.

Here is the conclusion:

Despite its protests to the contrary, modern Christianity has become willy-nilly the religion of the state and the economic status quo. Because it has been so exclusively dedicated to incanting anemic souls into heaven, it has, by a kind of ignorance, been made the tool of much earthly villainy. It has, for the most part, stood silently by, while a predatory economy has ravaged the world, destroyed its natural beauty and health, divided and plundered its human communities and households. It has flown the flag and chanted the slogans of empire. It has assumed with the economists that “economic forces” automatically work for good, and has assumed with the industrialists and militarists that technology determines history. It has assumed with almost everybody that “progress” is good, that it is good to be modern and up with the times. It has admired Caesar and comforted him in his depredations and defaults. But in its de facto alliance with Caesar, Christianity connives directly in the murder of Creation. For, in these days, Caesar is no longer a mere destroyer of armies, cities, and nations. He is a contradictor of the fundamental miracle of life. A part of the normal practice of his power is his willingness to destroy the world. He prays, he says, and churches everywhere compliantly pray with him. But he is praying to a God whose works he is prepared at any moment to destroy. What could be more wicked than that, or more mad?

The religion of the Bible, on the contrary, is a religion of the state and the status quo only in brief moments. In practice, it is a religion for the correction equally of people and of kings. And Christ’s life, from the manger to the cross, was an affront to the established powers of his time, as it is to the established powers of our time. Much is made in churches of the “good news” of the gospels. Less is said of the gospel’s bad news, which is that Jesus would have been horrified by just about every “Christian” government the world has ever seen. He would be horrified by our government and its works, and it would be horrified by him. Surely no sane and thoughtful person can imagine any government of our time sitting comfortably at the feet of Jesus, who is telling them to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you. . . ” (Matt. 5:44).

“In fact, we know that one of the businesses of governments, “Christian” or not, has been to re-enact the crucifixion. It has happened again and again and again. In A Time for Trumpets, his history of the Battle of the Bulge, Charles B. MacDonald tells how the SS Colonel Joachim Peiper was forced to withdraw from a bombarded chateau near the town of La Gleize, leaving behind a number of severely wounded soldiers of both armies. “Also left behind,” MacDonald wrote, “on a whitewashed wall of one of the rooms in the basement was a charcoal drawing of Christ, thorns on his head, tears on his cheeks — whether drawn by a German or an American nobody would ever know.”(n14) This is not an image that belongs to history, but is one that judges it.”

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I suspect that climate change is being influenced by human activity. I also suspect that their are many other causes of climate change that are perfectly natural, not all of which are fully understood at this point in history.

Further, I am skeptical of attempts by the government to change the weather. They do not seem very good at accomplishing lesser goals. I doubt that the billions spent on reducing global warming would have much impact. There are better things to do with our money.

Still, I think we have reason to be concerned. God’s call to dominion is not a call to rape and destroy. I believe in free markets but the best of our free market economists understood that the things of primary importance must be placed beyond the destructive forces of the free market. The permanent things, things like faith, ethics, truth, goodness, and beauty do not hold up well in a free market environment. This is the problem of post-modern relativism. Everyone is free to purchase their own truth. The market sells plenty of interesting versions.

What about the environment? Can market forces help us achieve a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable environment? Or should our natural resources, like faith and truth, be beyond the reach of the highest bidder? I do not have an answer (although my tendency is to want to hear more about free market answers to our climate troubles).

Still, when I read “conservatives” debunking global warming, I cannot help but wonder if they are really attempting to “conserve” the worst of late modernism? I wonder.

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