Saturday, January 19, 2008

Environmentalism as religion

An Australian newspaper reports on a suggested "environmentally friendly" policy regarding births and the reaction of Cardinal Pell to this suggestion:

CATHOLIC Archbishop of Sydney George Pell has criticised the Australian Medical Association for publishing a letter in its journal advocating a tax on children.
Speaking in Seoul, Cardinal Pell criticised a recent letter in the Medical Journal of Australia in which obstetrician and associate professor of medicine Barry NJ Walters called for the baby bonus to be replaced with a $5000 "baby levy" for every family having more than two children, followed by an annual carbon tax of up to $800 a child.
"I am not sure what is more extraordinary, that an obstetrician could hold such a view or that a leading medical journal could publish such a view, but either way, this is a striking illustration of where a minority neo-pagan, anti-human mentality, wants to take us," Cardinal Pell said.
Dr Walters, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, wrote that "showering financial booty on new mothers" rewarded "greenhouse-unfriendly behaviour" and that Australia deserved no more population concessions than India or China. Each child born should be offset by planting 4ha of trees, he said.
But Cardinal Pell, in Seoul to accept a $120,000 prize for his anti-abortion work, said extreme environmental proposals should cause alarm.

The suggestion by the professor that families with children should be subjected to a carbon tax is an example of a policy that is ultimately anti-life even though environmentalists claim to be the defenders of life. The reality is that in most parts of the industrialized world the birth rate has already declined to the point where local populations will shrink rapidly in the coming years. When we think of the future of the next generation we do want to ensure that the physical environment can sustain a satisfactory quality of life (so I'm not saying that I'm against protecting the environment). At the same time, we also want to see a future where citizens of the next generation (if the current generation is willing to give birth to them) has all of the dignity proper to the children of God and are not seen as simple "carbon footprints." Connected with the above suggestion of a "baby levy" for new children I have also recently read a suggestion that people should be able to get "carbon credits" for having themselves neutered. This is another example (I think) of the short sighted thinking and misplaced priorities that enforce the call that Cardinal Pell makes for a healthy scepticism toward the current trends in environmentalism.

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