Aug 24, 2006

Epistles from Our Lady of the Environment

Catherine Bennett discusses the religious nature of environmentalism, whose most recent apostle is one Babs Haddrill. Babs is spreading the gospel--and taking donations!--via a pilgrimage from the UK to Australia over land and sea, but not by plane.
Although she could, as some visitors to her blog have pointed out, have not gone at all, since her journey will evidently leave some sort of footprint (an estimated 1.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide). But Babs believes the journey will, of itself, bring enlightenment. Less mystically, she plans to make amends. "I will still do what I can to offset these emissions and on the return hope to get more sailing in, which is very clean," she assures her critics. "I am not trying to preach to you about how you should live your lives so don't preach to me, this is what I believe in and I am going to follow it, so if you can't help or wish me luck then find somewhere else to look."

Many visitors to Haddrill's site, however, have been sympathetic to her quest, presumably judging virtuous intentions to be quite as laudable as consistency. For all the current popularity of angels-on-pinheads calculations about the amount of CO2 a person must offset if she wants to get to heaven, there seems to be a persistent, widespread conviction that, just by doing something, anything for the environment - sorting rubbish responsibly, not getting a Christmas tree, investigating the cost of solar panels - we will have acted meritoriously.
Readers of Tinkerty Tonk will be glad to know that I remain a skeptic of this particular church.

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