So what if the people who eagerly awaited the end of the world considered another possibility: natural disasters and the repeated failures of mankind are not acts of God, but they are warnings. The earthquake in Haiti killed many, because the people of the world allowed our fellow men to live in squalor, while the much stronger earthquake in Chilé had a minimal effect. The oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico, the Kalamazoo River, Red Butte Creek, etc. are not signs of the end of the world but of the inherent dangers of using petroleum to meet our energy needs. Oil developers claim greater safety precautions are prohibitive for their operations. Are they more prohibitive than ending oil exploration and extraction?
The attempted murder of Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords shows how the hateful rhetoric of partisan pundits affects the poorly educated and disaffected people. Though murder happens around the world everyday and is often the result of people in power exploiting the fears and concerns of the people they lead, the public finally saw this realized on a national stage. But the hate has not stopped. The people who contribute to an atmosphere of fear cannot recognize their own culpability.
With the earthquake and nuclear disaster in Japan, the world yet again bears witness to the dangers of nuclear power. Though many people will cite the low rate of deaths associated with nuclear power as opposed to coal or hydro, they conveniently ignore the health costs, the environmental costs, the moral cost. Strangely they never compare nuclear’s safety record to that of solar. The nuclear disaster in Japan is still not contained and may potentially have effects rivaling that of Chernobyl, yet the people continue to claim that next time they will get it right. The only way to “get it right” is to abandon the dangerous, irresponsible technologies. No amount of profit justifies risking the survival of life on the planet or in any region. Petroleum and nuclear are not necessary. Investing a fraction of the research and development budgets of these two industries into safer, cleaner means of powering our lives would yield huge results. Just look at this article to see the potential of change:
These posts were inspired by a conversation I had with an elderly American evangelical that I met in el parque de la paz, in San Jose, Costa Rica.