catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 5, Num 19 :: 2006.10.20 — 2006.11.03


Late night thoughts on getting around while leaving a small footprint

The esteemed editor of this publication asks, in the solicitation of articles, if transportation is a moral issue at the personal and/or social level.  Good question.  Undoubtedly so, I would answer since it is a matter of behavioral choice and therefore involves dimensions of, if not clearly right or wrong, at least better or worse.  The Jewish law in its wondrous detail addresses all manner of human behavior seeking to have all such done in a way that will please and honor the Divine (and keep awareness of the Divine ever in one's mind and heart).  The dissociation of belief and action, born of misguided concern over 'works righteousness', is a not insignificant problem in whatever remains of Christendom.  Who would Jesus kill?  Indeed.

As regards personal transport (as well as home energy and air travel), let me commend to readers an organization called Terra Pass.  Here one is afforded a simple and concrete means by which to shrink one's ecological footprint as regards energy, something Al Gore and Jane Goodall among others have rightly encouraged.  Terra Pass allows one to assess how much carbon one's car is putting into the atmosphere each year according to model of car driven and driving habits.  Then, one makes a prorated contribution with the funds then being used in the development of alternative energy, such as wind power. This can be a significant step towards leading a "carbon neutral life," as Gore himself models.

Based on the examples given, when Jesus said, "Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of me, you have done it unto me" (Mt. 25.), we assume he is referring to the least powerful among the human community.  But as we come to realize how much power we have to impact global climate and resource use based on our behavior and moral choice, perhaps it is not to much to see that vis a vis humanity, the earth is become one of "the least."  A friend of mine once mused in a group discussing ecological stewardship, "What if, when we come before the throne of grace, we were confronted with a pile of all the trash we produced in our lifetime?"  Or a representation of all the fossil fuels we used or carbon dioxide we produced?  And what if we were judged by the size of the pile?  Kyrie eleison.

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