Welcome to Doomsday

Bill Moyer's half right. In his article, Welcome to Doomsday worries that the environment is under threat by religious fanatics. Drawing on The Godly Must Be Crazy by Glenn Sherer of Grist magazine, Moyer warns that the fundamentalists now in power blithely ignore enviromental concerns because they believe the world will soon end.

why care about the earth when the droughts, floods, famine, and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the Bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the Rapture? Why bother to convert to alternative sources of energy and reduce dependence on oil from the volatile Middle East? Anyway, until Christ does return, the Lord will provide.

So what excuse do the rest of us have? Unless it's just fundamentalists who drive gas guzzling cars, strip mine, pollute, burn hazardous chemical, and otherwise go merrily along their way ignoring the environmental catastrophes in their wake, there's a bigger problem here.

It's what Mark Buchanan calls The Cult of the Next Thing--the relentless, insatiable, religion of American Consumerism, something that Brian McLaren has labeled as "even more dangerous than Islamic fundamentalism."

The adherents of this religion--known as consumers--also ignore the "pestilence brought on by environmental collapse" and have no interest in "converting to alternate fuel sources"--why should when they could by a SUV to make them happy, or fill their lives with the latest goodies from the mall?

This insatiable desire for stuff affects even the most green among us. Salon.com, a liberal and pro-environment website in it's editorial content—recently featured an add for a gas guzzling Cadillac that can go from 0-60 from a few pulse pounding seconds; with no mention of its fuel efficiency or use of alternative fuels.

The fundamentalists preaching the Gospel of More Stuff at Cheap prices are just as dangerous as those waiting for the rapture. And there are a hell of a lot more of us out here--so what's our excuse?

One other note. While in the UK recently, I came across a piece in the Daily Mail about the so-called "progress paradox"--that while Britons enjoy the highest standard of living in their history, many of them are unhappy. The piece claimed two reasons for this: people now watch more than 20 hours a week of television, and spend more time working to earn more money to buy more stuff. Where did all the extra time come from? From relationships--the time spend with friends and family has dropped dramatically--traded for some new Jimmy Choo shoes and a few more hours with the telly.


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