The Pope is at it again! He has girded up his pontifical loins to take on the nay-sayers of climate change, sending out an encyclical—the highest form of pronouncement from the Vatican—that global warming is real, and is caused by human activity. We must do more, he says, to protect “creation” (that’s Theist for “environment”). Cutting back on fossil fuels is a must. We are stewards for the planet, not exploiters. He almost sounds like the Unitarian-Universalists I cited earlier this week who encourage their congregants to seek wisdom in “Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.” Three cheers for the Pope!
Or maybe two cheers. Unfortunately, for all the applause Pope Francis deserves for his stand on global warming, he is unwilling to acknowledge the other doomsday problem looming ever-larger on the horizon: too many people. The term “population bomb” is out of fashion, but I vote that it be brought back immediately to people’s consciousness, preferably in grade school. Francis’s encyclical places the emphasis on cutting back our consumption, or our consumerism—no argument there–but until the day when he stands up and says “we need to cut population growth as drastically as California is cutting back on water” and starts passing out condoms and spermicide in the narthex of St. Peters, we’re all in jeopardy.
Double jeopardy, because, in case you haven’t heard, our children and our children’s children are all on the road to either starving to death or dying from social unrest brought about by climate change and all its associated evils. Where are all those thirsty Californians going to live once they figure out there’s no return to the good old days? Or forget the Californians—they’ll crowd into some wetter state in the US—what about those unfortunates in China and India once the Himalayan snow pack stops producing the freshwater it once did for all those downstream? Where are they going to go? We’ve already seen what civil unrest can do in Africa and the Middle East: send millions across a dangerous sea in the hope that they might be among the lucky ones to make it to Europe where their integration is problematic to say the least and further unrest is brewing. Unless Antarctica becomes inhabitable, there’s not going to be a place for all the babies we’re welcoming into the global community. So many of them are destined to be the future refugees of the world.
There are only two ways out of this:
1) control the urge to procreate that takes over our bodies at puberty
2) do more to prevent the sexual act from resulting in pregnancy.
Put your money on some good latex stocks if you find no. 2 compelling. No. 1 is trickier. Unlike the Pope, most of us are not built for celibacy. Earlier this year he urged us not to “breed like rabbits” apparently meaning that husbands and wives should refrain from intimacy more often than they currently do. But if only the Pope would realize that self-control is not enough…birth control has to be part of the picture if we’re going to save “creation.”