We all know that there is a lot of talk about the Global Warming crisis. After several days of workshops, videos, lectures, books, articles, etc. etc. etc., hearing both sides of the story, it is still not easy to form an opinion. All of these presentations were from mostly professional scientists or Catholic Social Justice Groups. I heard some professionals affirm that we are at a critical stage of decisionmaking to save our fragile world from an ecological disaster if we don’t reduce our human-made pollutants in the atmosphere. In other lectures, I heard professionals state that Global Warming is not a problem, but they admit that we are experiencing ecological change not necessarily by human means, but through nature itself. I admit that I tend to ignore multi-national corporations’ hired scientists, who naturally favor the agenda of these institutions while receiving a handsome sum of money for downgrading the Global Warming Crisis.
During the 1970’s there was the Global Freezing alert, where it was said that the sun would be blocked and we would freeze. The front cover of the April 8, 1977 of Time Magazine front cover has a picture of a penguin standing on a frozen mount of snow. The caption reads, “How to survive the Coming of the Ice Age.”1 Today we are told we will die of heat exhaustion. Either way, there always seems to be a prediction of an environmental apocalypse. Where does the truth lie? And from whom do we receive the objective truth on the environment?
On the one hand, when walking through the streets of Mexico City, breathing in black smoke from the cars, and breathing in the Los Angeles smog, which occasionally filters into San Bernardino, CA, I am convinced that we are in a Global Warming environment. On the other hand, standing on top of a California mountain on a beautiful clear day, it makes me not only thank God for the beauty, but I wonder if we really are in for an ecological disaster. By the same token, when I read about unusual weather in places, e.g. snowing for the first time in areas that were snow free, it makes me wonder if Mother Nature or Mother Earth has decided to change her appearance through a natural ecological shift.
So what should we do? Should we ignore the messages brought to us or do as one environmentally safe hotel did by replacing the Bible with Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth in each room?2
But then, I recently came across a new phrase which I never saw or heard before. The phrase is post-normal science. This word involves trading truth for influence. The environmental scientist and professor and director of the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research, Mike Hulme has confirmed this word in an interview in 2007. He admitted that “scientists—and politicians—must trade (normal) truth for influence.”3 Now when a scientist admits this, we are in trouble. Of course, I am far from being a scientist, but my understanding is that science discovers facts and then formulates a theory from what it has studied. Post-normal science is a politically correct system that invents facts to manipulate opinion.
In his novel, The Whole Truth, David Balducci uses the phrase perception management. This word phrase can cover a multitude of sins. It seems that this expression is not a fantasy of fiction, but in fact is a reality in our world today. Perception management refers to “Actions to convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning as well as to intelligence systems and leaders at all levels to influence official estimates, ultimately resulting in foreign behaviors and official actions favorable to the originator’s objectives. In various ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover and deception, and psychological operations.”4 This makes me wonder how much truth is conveyed and how much fabrication is in the global environment discussions.
Stewardship of and Care for God’s Creation is a principle of Catholic Social Teaching. God calls us to have a love-relationship with His creation because all creation is ordered to God’s glory and must be treated accordingly. It encompasses the respectful use of our resources and fosters the common good. Addressing the Diplomatic Corps, Pope Benedict XVI noted, “Truly the world is dark wherever men and women no longer acknowledge their bond with the Creator and thereby endanger their relation to other creatures and to creation itself. The present moment is sadly marked by a profound disquiet and the various crises – economic, political and social – are a dramatic expression of this.”5 With this in mind, I do have a solution for our environmental problems that we face today.
First, we cannot be prophets of doom. Second, we need to respect all of God’s creation. Individuals and communities are called to love, honor, respect, and save our earthly home. I am an advocate of clean air, of recycling, of clean water, of “green” and I’m an advocate in the defense of human life and our natural environment. I oppose those self-interest groups who often usurp our God-given resources for gain and profit, which result in contamination of God’s creation. I’m not that way because it is politically correct, but because I believe that God calls humanity to be just stewards of our home and all of creation. For sure, God calls us to have a love-relationship with His creation because all of creation is ordered to God’s glory. If we take this God-centered approach, we realize that it transcends all the scientific, technological, liberal vs. conservatives, politically correct, culturally correct, and economic spheres.
Br. Warren Perrotto, MSC
- Melanie Philips, The World Turned Upside Down, NY: Encounter Books, 2010, p. 278.
- Address of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to the Members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, January 9, 2012.