In the bad old days you gave up chocolate for Lent. I confess I never have.
More recently as some in the churches have gone a very dark shade of green, the suggestion is to have a carbon fast.
This year it is to to have a plastic fast. To some that means not using single-use plastic. Single use plastic has been much emphasised recently but we need to go much further than that and consider problems beyond that.
My concern is that that these Lenten fasts are temporary and don’t focus on central issues.
But before being very serious , here’s my suggestion for a fossil-fuel lenten fast.
Now what about a FOSSIL FUEL FAST?
That is a great challenge but how would we do it?
Now you are not going to use anything made or brought to you by fossil fuels.
Let’s see what happens.
You get out of bed and take off your pyjamas/nightshirt/nightie and you are bursting.
You go to the toilet and realise that the water in the loo and in the pipes has CHLORINE in it made courtesy of Natural Gas by Big Bad Jim Radcliffe. So you go outside and your neighbours see you having a wee.
You come back in and feel rather sweaty and want a shower. Ooops you can’t ! The water would be riddled with bugs were it not for the Chlorine made by Big Bad Jim. You had decided to have a cold shower when you realised that the gas is FRACKED.
You have a serious medical condition and need to take daily medication. But, you realise they are synthesised from gas or oil , so you decide not to take them on moral grounds.
You start to dress and then struggle to find clothes which a 100% wool, cotton or linen. In the end you go naked
You go downstairs, cold and sweaty, and dying for a cuppa. You are about to switch the electric kettle on and then realise that my GridGB says 47.3% of the elec is generated by gas, 6% by coal and 25% by nuclear (and greenies don’t like nuclear either). Though it went up to 35% or more during the storms – which stopped cycling!
You decide for some orange juice – but it’s in a plastic bottle.
Out of desperation you decide on a beer and realise you have a choice of an aluminium can or bottle – both made using fossil fuels.
You are thirsty so to keep your ideological purity you drink from the water butt – and chew an insect.
You are hungry, but you can only eat organic as other food is grown with artificial fertiliser from natural (fracked) gas. You remain hungry.
You need to check your e-mails. Stop, both the phone and computer are full of oil/gas-based plastic. So you don’t. The electronic web uses a good percentage of fossil-fuel power.
You are standing there in your itchy merino vest , woollen trousers and shirt etc and thinking it is time for work. Oh dear , how can you travel;
The car is out
so is the railway and bus
That leaves the bike, but each tyre was made from 2 litres of oil and the aluminium frame consumed loads of fossil fuel in its making. The saddle is plastic.
So off on foot you go in a pair of ancient leather shoes.
As you go it starts to rain, a lovely cold, wet, driving March rain which soon penetrates your non-fossil-fuel woollen clothing.
You are freezing and realise this fossil-fuel fast is daft and a rebellion like this will immediately result in your extinction. Shivering you go back home.
As you shuffle home you realise what a life your green heroes lead; some have private yachts and jets, others fly round the world on a regular basis, many have mansions.
You say “SOD IT” 1000 times , run home get a hot shower, put on clothes regardless of material, have a cooked breakfast, check your email and ring your boss to say you’ll be late.
That evening you call into your garage and swap your Nissan Leaf for a diesel SUV.
Yes, this is all very far fetched BUT it is the logic of Dark Greens, even when their behaviour does not match their words. It is the logic of Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibbin , Extinction Rebellion, Operation Noah Christian Climate Action and so much of the green movement today. Probably General Synod of the Church of England too!!
Yes, they are totally right that the planet is a mess and something has to be done to reduce the use of fossil fuels and over-consumption generally. Pipe -dreams that it can be done by 2025 or even 2030 are just that and counter-productive. No amount of appeals to renewables can make it happen.
This diagram of June 2018 shows exactly why. Look at the tiny orange band for renewables and even the blue for hydro. Despite rapid growth recently renewables only produce a few per cent of the total energy demand whereas fossil fuels deliver a good 80%.
No wonder every forecast of energy use recognise that fossil fuels will still be majorly used in 2050 , even if in decline. This is especially so for transport (when having electric vehicles actually means retaining fossil fuels to generate the extra electricity.).
The green mantra is that all fossil fuels are bad and ignore the fact that coal is the worst both for CO2 and other pollution and gas the best. Thus all three are demonised. We need this
The more coal is replaced by gas the better, but that does not sit easily with a green outlook.
As well as giving energy, fossil fuels give an immense number of products – not only the scourge of single use plastic.
A good exercise is to start listing them; pens, kitchen utensils, car-parts, bike-parts, in computers and phone, medicines
This diagram lists those made from oil. A similar list could be done for gas.
none of this is to say that fossil fuels are purely beneficial. Over the last 250 years they have given immense benefits to almost everyone on the globe.
But there has been an unacceptable price; the CO2 emitted is affecting the climate, which are anything but good.
Hence there need to be changes.
Activist greens argue for immediate drastic action as is seen with the recent activities of Extinction Rebellion. At best they are totally unrealistic and at worst they will be counter-productive and make both politicians and the public reject what is good in thier message.
Their claim is that governments are criminal and committing ecocide, but that ignores the strides (though very ponderous) that governments have made in the last few decades and that IPCC reports are listened too and acted on. Perhaps if they were not so full of virtue signalling they would see first how much fossil fuel they use and secondly that the slow hard graft by many in and out of government are bearing fruit.
As a result the whole issue of the climate is polarised, made worse by the frequent accusations of being a Climate Denier thrown at some, whether it is true or not.
Yes, I’ve poked fun at some of the green christian suggestions for Lent and then taken them one stage further.
Perhaps a better use of Lent (on top of the traditional Christian observation in prayer but not giving up chocolate) would be to getting fully informed of all the issues around climate and energy- and that means studying publications from all perspectives and not just those perceived to be S-O-U-N-D and too our liking. I note that many Christian green groups simply only look to one side i.e. those with a similar perspective to Klein and McKibbin and ignoring those of Ecomodernism, or even Matt Ridley!
As well as that all of us need to look at ways of reducing our impact on the planet, and here I’d need to give a thousand green tips. For myself I have followed some but find others I need to adopt. These cover all areas from transport, use of water, gardening, energy in the house etc.
Think of one or two green things you can start this Lent and carry on doing them for ever.
Have a profitable and green Lent, but more importantly a purple one which turns to red.
P.S. Burning fellow Christians at the stake releases loads of P2.5 – so I am safe!