Christian activist: Going green
It was way back in 1963 when social commentator and some-time Elvis-impersonator Cliff Richard took to the silver screen to opine: “We’re all going on a summer holiday”, and that, as a result, there would be, “no more worries for me or you, for a week or two”. The passing years have largely proved him right, for one of the many attractions of going on holiday is that you can take a break from the concerns of this life: Your humdrum work, your rigid routines, and all that pesky stewarding of the planet.
Ah yes, the planet. If only God had said that it didn’t really matter what we did to it because, well, he’s got loads of others, and, frankly, this one was an early attempt that didn’t turn out quite as he’d hoped. He might even have slipped in an apology for not quite getting the tectonic plates to fit together (to be fair, they can be tricky). Unfortunately, he seems rather more keen on exhorting us to look after what we’ve been given.
To that end, many Christians seek to mitigate the damage they cause through mere existence. However, all that virtuous practice – the composting, the solar panelling, the food-mile calculating, the cycling, the recycling – often unravels when it comes to holidays. We know that planes use an astonishing amount of fuel and that burning it up at 30,000 feet is pretty catastrophic for the atmosphere (for the record, it’s more than twice as harmful as using the same amount at ground level) but, well, Barcelona! And the kids! It would be unfair to expect them to suffer for our principles. And, after all, it is only once… or maybe twice… or at most three times a year if you’re going to be nit-picky and include that city break to Budapest. And I deserve a bit of sun and I just love Goa and have you seen the prices of flights? They’re so cheap! It would be a sin not to take advantage of them, frankly. And, anyway, I can justify it to myself in some way I can’t quite explain to you, but trust me, I’ve given it a lot of thought…
This is an extract from the September 2014 edition of Reform.