Category Archives: Climate Change

Blog: Changes in the Congressional Cafeteria

Blog: Changes in the Congressional Cafeteria

Marge Clark, BVM
Apr 04, 2011

Oh, my! The United States has, for years, been facing a serious landfill problem. We are out of space to deposit more stuff that will be around for generations. Over the last few years, Congress has taken great strides to reduce garbage and to conserve energy. They have replaced as many lighting systems as possible with florescent bulbs, set up strong systems of paper recycling in offices, moved from paper to electronic communication and sharing of information – as much as possible. And, they moved from the non-disintegrating plastics and Styrofoam to biodegradable containers, flatware, etc. in the cafeterias. Great moves for the future health of the environment, including human health.

And then, today (4.4.11) I read in the Budget Tracker: In the House, the GOP killed a cafeteria composting program, replacing the biodegradable containers and tableware that Democrats had mandated with Styrofoam and plastic substitutes.

This raises for me a question coming frequently lately: Who wins in this; and who loses in this?

Blog: The Gulf Oil Spill Teaches Us Many Lessons

Blog: The Gulf Oil Spill Teaches Us Many Lessons

Maureen Book, NETWORK Intern
Jun 14, 2010

The crisis of the current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has reminded us of the fragility of not only our technology, but also of our ecosystems. As our leaders continue to come up short in their efforts to staunch the flow, the fact grows ever clearer that this event will have wide-reaching and long-lasting effects on the health of the Gulf, its wildlife, and the surrounding communities.

Criticisms of every variety have been launched at officials of BP, President Obama, and anybody with a connection to the situation. There seems to be a consensus that we ought to understand the technology we employ, and that we ought to be prepared for inevitable failures. There is no excuse for the present helplessness in the face of this human-caused catastrophe.

But the spill should remind us also that safety regulations, contingency plans, and repair technology will never insulate us from the destruction that is inevitable when we operate without regard for the limits of our humanity and Earth. An economy that relies so heavily on staggering quantities of fossil fuels cannot be called “responsible.” Our relentless drive for production and consumption – even at the expense of communities and ecosystems – cannot be called “safe.”

The oil spill should teach us lessons about the practicalities involved in accessing natural resources, should lead to improved safety regulations, and should prompt the development of robust backup plans. But it should also lead us to question whether our present course can be sustained. As people of faith who reverence all of Creation, we ought to know that it simply cannot.