Sunday, June 21, 2015


News of the 180-page papal encyclical about “ecological sin” is swirling in the media. The New York Times reports that industrialists are “fuming” with reactions as rude as “Who the hell is he?”.  On the green side, EcoWatch has gushed that this Vatican leader is “laudable”.

"We have a right to pollute,"
 spew out some.

The Pope has added moral force to the scientific evidence of climate change. He has cast an intense spotlight on profiteering carbon peddlers -- Big Oil, Auto and Highway industries, who want to keep patching the roads that sustain our oil addictions. The new Catholic challenge is about much more than transportation: it defends the poor as the most impacted and looks to the rich to carry the burden.

How we get ourselves and our things around in cities is a large part of human life. Engineers and corporate profit makers are not trained to be sensitive to spiritual flows. The smart ones, however, understand that their energy can be dazzingly powerful.

How will the American Establishment react?

In the US, WASPs, Jews and millions of atheists and agnostics are gasping as the leader of world Catholics gets intense media attention. How will they respond? Will Texas-based Joel Osteen lift his sight from personal issues to ecological ones? Will the California Interfaith Power and Light now get a larger audience?

Will God bless America?
The Pope’s encyclical does not focus on specific projects or technologies. How will the College of Cardinals hundreds of bishops and thousands of local parishes devise specific actions? And how will they pressure secular governments that set policy?

Should we subsidize cars for 4 billion people who can’t afford them? Or engender policies to reduce street and highway traffic and encourage green means of getting around by foot, bike and the many forms of public transport and mobility sharing?

Certainly sin-free Catholic street vehicles will be electric and get power without belching billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Beyond technology are ownership issues. Who pays for what and how?  

Maybe we should call podcars by a new name --  pope-cars!

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