Saturday, July 4, 2020

Can Science Alone Take Care of the Earth?

Is Scientific knowledge sufficient to take care of the earth? The writer of an article in the recent Kyeongyang magazine doesn't think so. And goes on to explain. He is a priest in charge of environmental issues for the diocese.

He lives in an area where the subway and bus transportation is easy to reach; he travels two hours daily to get to his office during which time he reads, prays, meditates, and goes over in his mind a variety of different subjects the citizens face daily.

Public transportation is no big problem but during the summer with its long use can be uncomfortable. Airconditioning and the cold air can fatigue one easily. This is true also in the bus. Often in these circumstances, he takes from his bag a long sleeve shirt.

Riding in the subway he is often reminded in public announcements, asking for understanding since the air conditioning is now at its height. It is always difficult to keep everybody happy in such circumstances: some will find it cold and others too warm.

The thought has come to him that we may be using airconditioning excessively. In summer we are so used to the cool that when the cool air is not in contact with our skin we find it difficult to accept. In the hight of summer, there are those wearing long-sleeved clothes and have the airconditioners on high. Should we not reflect seriously on this kind of behavior? We are used to this kind of living which has become a habit and we justify it.

Many are those who don't have the luxury in the use of electricity because of poverty. Not only do they not have airconditioning but no fans. Some have difficulty sleeping with the heat and those that live in a one-room and rooftops who not only bothered by heat but have to suffer because of their living conditions.

He wants us when we are comfortable in our airconditioned rooms to remember those who have no fans and in their heat filled room. We have those with enough material goods and resources that heat and cold are no problem but because of poverty, many suffer greatly because of the heat and cold.

Science has improved the condition of humanity. Pope Francis has written on those that have benefited: "Yet it must also be recognized that nuclear energy, biotechnology, information technology, knowledge of our DNA, and many other abilities which we have acquired, have given us tremendous power. More precisely, they have given those with the knowledge, and especially the economic resources to use them, an impressive dominance over the whole of humanity and the entire world. Never has humanity had such power over itself, yet nothing ensures that it will be used wisely, particularly when we consider how it is currently being used" (Laudato si #104).

The Environment has suffered greatly from the misuse of our scientific knowledge. Moreover the rich have got richer and the poor, poorer. It is not the scientific knowledge but the use. We have not respected other peoples and creation but only in search of comfort and exposed to years of brainwashing accept in silence what we hear.

We have accepted the culture in which development brings happiness. "This has been a strong influence on our behavior. The fact is that contemporary man has not been trained to use power well because our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values, and conscience...In this sense, we stand naked and exposed in the face of our ever-increasing power, lacking the wherewithal to control it. We have certain superficial mechanisms, but we cannot claim to have a sound ethics, a culture, and spirituality genuinely capable of setting limits and teaching clear-minded self-restraint" (Laudato si #105).

Society has to come to this realization for things to change. A need to think of the environment and those who have been left behind in this race for development. We need to leave behind fossil fuels and work towards sustainable energy to reduce greenhouse gases. The government has to work toward these policies. and supply resources.

If we do not work to achieve a drop in the greenhouse gasses the earth will get warmer and the greater use of air conditioners and the greater use of energy and the vicious circle continues. The way I live can be infringing on the rights of others. We need all of us to cut back on the use of energy for the good of all and the earth.

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