Well, you can see it for yourself. The Pope, God bless him, brightly lit from below and in a voice most mellow, emphasized by environmentally friendly music, tells us that the earth is swell and, to keep it that way, you should pick up your damn trash.
Who could argue?
Video has cute fish, cute frolicking kids, cute multi-cultural faces, bikes, greenery, lovingly fondled and in abundance, some shots of what looks like New Jersey, and dangling feet blocking the son.
Then there are words; chiefly these:
The relationship between poverty and the fragility of the planet requires another way of managing the economy and measuring progress, conceiving a new way of living.
Because we need a change that unites us all.
Free from the slavery of consumerism.
I can’t make much of the economics of planetary fragility and poverty, except as it relates to the ancient wisdom of not mixing the location of the food input and output cycle, if you catch my meaning.
But I sure understand the slavery of consumerism. I despise the word with its true connotations of greed, avarice, and insatiability. Try it. Say “I am a consumer“, thinking hard about what it means to consume.
Consumerism compliments, if that’s the right word, narcissism. Everybody knows that, yet we don’t often think about it. Pace:
5 banner-planes carrying junk ads stinking up the sky over San Francisco Bay right now.
— William M. Briggs (@mattstat) February 5, 2016
Fine, eliminate the word, have folks live more “in tune” with nature. Let ascetics abound. Then what? Good question, that.
There are certain advantages to a more ascetic or stoical life than many of us currently lead. These advantages aren’t only spiritual, but physical, too. Buying less unnecessary food is an excellent way to drop those extra 80 pounds—and to zap the credit card bill.
So you heed the advice to cut back—or have it heeded for you—and now you’re at fighting weight and debt free. Then what? A little planet or nature worship, maybe? Well, not worship worship, as hippy Woopie might say. Instead a kind of deep, yoga-mat-carrying appreciation that nature—rather, Nature—is alive. And maybe even looking out for you. Or maybe just a recognition that life can be so spiritual.
Care and appreciation of the thin scraping of dirt and water that forms the surface of our planet can’t be a goal in and of itself. Keeping things neat and pretty can’t be our natural end or the ultimate reason for out existence. Rather, they can be. But they surely can’t be what the Pope meant, right?
Would turning somebody into an environmentalist make them more or less likely to embrace Christianity? How about a vegetarian or even, God help us, a vegan? How about just a more caring person?
Could go either way, but I think the answer is weighted toward no for any of these categories. Lot of folks will look at this video and think to themselves that all the Pope really wants is for us to be nicer to Earth, maybe even nicer to each other. Niceness isn’t enough, though. Sometimes it’s even the wrong thing. Anyway, since most people already think themselves nice, their next thoughts will turn to those they feel aren’t so nice. Like polluters. Who are they? Capitalists? Mean people?
It takes real work to think that a person will watch this video and worry about that state of his soul. Would a person watching even know he had a soul that might be imperiled?
Ah, but what can you do in a minute-and-a-half, anyway? It’s only seed planting. Besides, the Pope said proselytism is “solemn nonsense.”
Incidentally, the Pope is wrong about global warming.
Hat tip to our friend Steve Skojec where I first learned of this video.