Today, Michael Sean Winters has a piece on global warming and Pope Francis in the National Catholic Reporter. You can see his piece at http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/pope-francis-environment-us Please read it first so that you can understand my response, which follows:
Actually, Einstein supplanted Newton on certain aspects of gravity (claiming it moves at light speed, while particle physics seems to have been found a particle that moves simultaneously with its mate, making instant faster than light communication possible. The point is, no matter who believes what in physics or science, the answer is deeper. The data makes it likely that global warming is at least in part man-made, and the same folks have models indicating bad times ahead, however there is also data that shows 1000 years ago the temperature was a lot warmer on both the planet and the northern hemispher, with Baffin Island, Newfoundland and Greenland all useful to my Norse ancestors for agriculture.
That there are still resistent factions on both gun violence and warming have to do with entire industries that will be adversely impacted once the dominant theory is more widely accepted. The only thing American about that is Capitalism and the freedom to buy a microphone and use it. Wheher it is a good or bad thing, it is a right. (That First Amendment can be pain when not used to attach birth control). That is not libertarian, it is liberty itself. The whole drivel about Americanism and libertarianism from MSW is getting rather old, as is anything he has to say about scientism (he seems to contradict himself).
The Pope recently spoke about exploiting the earth, with a quote from Senator Santorum witha more dominionist bent. MSW expects an environmental message to have the same reception among conservatives as the economic message. Probably a good guess. Pope Benedict raised both issues in Veritas in Caritate and the conservervatives either went nuts or ignored him. Of course, the focus here is not as much what we do in the States as what we also do to our south.
The nasty thing about enviromental degradation (different than simple extraction) is that it is called a sin. It is also a sin that we all share as consumers. MSW calls for Divine grace in the face of sin. I am all for that and for calling for Divine guidance in following an alternate path.
What MSW failed to do was detail the sin. It is not against some vague principle of environmental wholeness or against some tree someplace. It is against real people, always poor people, whose environment is directly poisoned by extraction (look at Appalacia and coal or the Chinese who live near where computers are deconstructed - who also do the decontructing - and who are poisoned by it). Look also to those who live a simple life on the coast of the ocean who may have no high ground to escape to when the sea levels rise - or the poor of the Indian subcontinent who face similar dilemnas. Now, the bright spot is there are rich people with beach condos who will also lose their vaction property - however, they are insured so they lose nothing.
My point is (and I'm sure Francis makes it too - or will) is that the victim is not the planet, its people and the crime is still capitalism, which puts getting rich before people where at all possible.
How do we get out of it. Shift to better materials and processes and grow our own food and recycle our water indoors for each family, lest some idiot decides that birth control or abortion are solutions to our economic and environmental problems.