Reflections on loving God, being Catholic, being a woman, being ill, loving life and anything else that comes to mind.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's Time for Sanity

I haven't time to wrte my Green post at the moment (I've been sick quite a lot and otherwise occupied these past two weeks). One or two things must be said though.

First, there are poor, developing nations that have neither the funds nor the infrastructure to care for their citizens. I would love to research nations one-by-one and write about those that are developing and those that are like Brazil:

"Speaking as the voice of the developing world," Brazilian President Lula da Silva gave a passionate speech where he scolded the developed world for not negotiating on climate change in good faith with poorer nations. He also said this conference is not about climate change, but about economic opportunities for the developing world."

Brazil is not a developing nation. It is, and for long has been, a corrupt nation. A nation that denies 98% of it's citizens the opportunity to rise above a level of poverty that no one in this country can imagine, even those who live in the Appalachians. In this country, we can choose to change our lives. Hard work, patience, creativity, faith, hope and often a hand up are all necessary. But in the United States of America, we can create lives for ourselves and our families.

In Brazil, particularly in the cities, many, many children live on trash heaps. Those who have families are fortunate as are those who live in favellas. Many children are left on their own, sometimes while they are just toddlers. They band together and survive but without the socializing influence of family and community, they become feral and very, very dangerous. There is a small middle class that is happy not to live as the poor do; mostly they are silent; the favellas are given a nice bright coat of paint just in time for Carnivale. And then there are the fabulously wealthy who have been known to hire death squads to kill homeless children as they sleep in shop doorways; one doesn't want to frighten the tourists away. Without the Church* and other charitable organizations, many, many Brazilians would be consigned to utter hopelessness.

Brazil is a beautiful country with abundant resources. But those who govern Brazil desire only their own wealth, their own comfort. Brazil and Mexico and Argentina and so many other developing nations need to look to their own misdeeds, to their own failure to acknowledge the dignity of the human beings who also just happen to be the citizens of their countries. Instead, Brazil is demanding handouts. And Europe and North America are planning to donate $100 billion to line the pockets of corrupt officials who go by many names but never provide a framework which will foster "domestic tranquillity and the common good"?! It's indecent! It's evil.

In the last paragraph of the article UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown sums it up beautifully:

"Without common action," extreme temperatures will create a new generation of poor with climate change refugees driven from their homes by drought, climate change evacuees fleeing the threat of drowning, the climate change hungry desperate for lack of food," Brown said. "Hurricanes, floods, typhoons and droughts that were once all regarded as the acts of an invisible god are now revealed to be also the visible acts of man.

That's their story and they're sticking to it. So nations have no responsibility for themselves. Instead, breathing causes all the problems that exist from warts to typhoons. CO2 makes up 4% of what we exhale with each breath. It's not a poison nor is it a pollutant. It's what causes plants to grow and actually helps filter harmful radiation. The world's climate changes because God created it to change: this is part of "the whole creation ...groaning in travail together." (Romans 8:22)

Evil men are perpetrating monstrous evil on the world. The truth is being revealed but most people I encounter are so steeped in the belief that simply living in a prosperous country is destroying the earth and that an apocalypse is just around the corner. God is no longer in charge. We are alone. Redemption is a lie. There are even those who trumpet: "It's too late to change! We're all doomed."

Yesterday I finally finished reading Sarah Palin's autobiography, Going Rogue: An American Life. I may have mentioned before that I like this woman. I will admit that I tend to like anyone who believes in baking cakes - cake may be my second favourite food, after butter. But when I learned her favourite verse of Scripture, I saw more clearly why I like her so much. Fallen Sparrow's often reminds me of this:

...God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.** (2 Timothy 1:7)

Our job is to be witnesses to the truth. God is in charge. We are not. It's as simple as that. We can wreck havoc with bombs but not with breathing. We must be good stewards of our world, we must not foul it with garbage and real poisons and pollutants (like hormones from birth control pills which actually harm fish), but we can exhale, without fear. Anything else is monstrous madness and we have been given the soundness of mind to know it. God has not created a zero sum game wherein my good prevents yours. Instead, he has given us a world full of abundance, of minds with the ability to care for the gift of this world and provide for our needs - both, at the same time. We must rouse ourselves and each from this silly dream and do our jobs as witnesses to the Truth.

* As in much of Latin America and most poor countries, many different Christian denominations minister to the needs of the poor. The Catholic Church is in the forefront (and everywhere else too) but my use of the term "Church" here includes all denominations.

** [for Nerds only] Translation from the King James Version. The RSV has "self-control" rather than "of a sound mind." Other translations use self-discipline, good judgement, sobriety, etc. Had I more time I'd conduct further research but for now, I'll depend on Liddell and Scott which includes them all but offers "soundness of mind" first. That translation is appropriate to this particular piece.

*** I can documentat the statements I've made in this post.


Sibyl said...

Amen, Fearless Drusilla,

Warren said...

You raise some interesting points.

I have long had doubts about Brazil. Recently a noted Icthyologist (scientist who is an expert in Fish) was arrested for holding on to preserved (dead) specimens of fish he was studying, because the Brazilian government believes it owns the very DNA that these fish contain.

Taking a dead fish's tissue out of brazil, in the rhetoric of Brazilian politicians is "plundering", "piracy", or "biological colonialism".

What sad little place would claim to own every leaf and tree and fish, living or dead? I can see trying to prevent export of live species.

To bring this around to your ideas, I wonder if the rich ruling class in Brazil sees it has two natural resources: Those which are plants and animals, the riot of rainforest life diversity, and the poor, which they can exploit with their left hands, and hold their rich right hands out, to receive the money which those poor people ought to receive.

A grave thing indeed, if it is true. I cannot claim to be sure of these things, I only ask them as questions.