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What Would Jesus Do About Global Warming?

by Kate Trainor on February 14, 2008

Lent What Would Jesus Do About Global Warming?
Two British bishops are preaching the gospel of environmentalism and are urging parishioners to give up carbon emissions—and their cars—for Lent. With divine guidance and the help of Tearfund, a Christian relief and development organization, Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, and James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool, are leading a forty-day Carbon Fast.

Paul Cook, head of policy with Tearfund, spoke about the movement on the radio program Living on Earth:

…We’re working with some of the poorest communities around the world in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. And over the last few years we’ve seen these communities being impacted by the change in climate. So climate change really hits the poorest hardest. But of course, the causes of climate change are back in the U.K. and the U.S. and other developed countries where we emit much more greenhouse gas than we should. And so, you know, this Lent the carbon fast is a great way to kind of challenge us to do something about that, to rectify some of that injustice.

Tearfund, Cook says, also makes it a point to practice what it preaches. “We feel it’s really important for us, actually, if we’re calling on others to do this,” he says, “we need to be doing it ourselves as well.”

Cook also mentioned that it’s more pious to pedal a bike (perhaps in sandaled feet?) than to drive a carbon-spewing car. The benefits, he said, go beyond lessening your polluting footprint. “It can be fun as well and helps you to get a bit fitter, as you cycle a lot more and drive your car less.”

In this time of grand materialism; of Hummers and bling and keeping up with the Joneses, Cook thinks it’s time to get back to basics and practice the simpler lifestyle upheld in poorer nations.

Cook told Living on Earth:

I think Jesus would want to be at the forefront of seeing how he could live a much simpler and basic lifestyle. I think people sometimes wonder why are Christians getting involved in issues like the environment? But… as a Christian development agency, we see the impact that climate change is having on some of the poorest, most vulnerable communities in the world, and if there’s one clear message that comes through the Bible it’s that God loves the poor, he loves the vulnerable and the marginalized. And so I think Jesus would want to be at the forefront of making sure his actions were having a positive action on the poor, not hurting them.


Photo via flickr by garyfgarcia and Yardsale.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aaron Antrim May 4, 2008 at 6:14 am

I looked at this article and found that operating costs for rail and bus are not very different (looks like a difference of maybe 10%), but we need to consider the difference in capital costs. I’m not saying that I’m not a fan of light rail where appropriate, it’s just that this fact should be better clarified.

Also, Bus Rapid Transit offers many of the advantages of light rail (and some extra).


2 The Overhead Wire May 4, 2008 at 11:00 pm

Extra advantages over light rail? Give me a break. BRT is the oil and auto industry trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes. Most BRT backers (not you of course) just hate transit. In Berkeley there are folks that said lets do BRT because LRT is too expensive. Now the mantra for many is lets just do bus because BRT is too expensive. Some people are just always going to be against transit.

Now as for the operating costs, those are averages but 20 cents per passenger mile is a big deal. 20 cents times 100,000 miles is 20,000 dollars. If you have 150,000 riders per day on a bus and the average is 5 miles per rider, thats $180,000 dollars per day saved. Over the course of the year on weekdays that’s $46,800,000 per year saved. Seems to me well worth it to save using rail. Yeah these are rough estimates but it gets to the point of savings with electric rail transit on trunk corridors.


3 Alek F May 5, 2008 at 9:29 pm

those who support BRT – either are in denial, or are anti-transit. Because – besides being “flexible” (that is, being able to deviate from the given route), BRT has [b]no advantages[/b] whatsoever. Alas, the current Orange Line busway in LA’s Valley sector has demonstrated quite a significant number of drawbacks. Such as, deteriorating road pavement, very limited capacity (comparing to rail), uncomfortable & bumpy ride, number of accidents (ugh!) and potential for more accidents (mostly due to absence of crossing gates – which by definition BRT will never get installed); slower overall speeds; constant stopping at red lights (which increases overall travel times dramatically); and last but not least – much lower overall customer appeal.
The bottom line is – a Bus will always be a Bus – even on dedicated bus lines. I’ve taken the Orange Line quite a few times – and it’s no comparison to the wonderful Light-Rail lines we have! Hopefully, in the future Orange Line will be converted to Light-Rail.


4 Monotonehell May 6, 2008 at 12:22 pm

@Alek F: Regarding BRT V lightrail. Taking all that you’ve said into account; what’s your opinion of a properly run grade separated BRT like the Adelaide guided busway (O-Bahn) where the busway is on purpose built concrete tracks (as opposed to the poor attempt of the Orange line)? Especially in an urban sprawl where a light rail needs to be serviced by feeder buses.

Your arguments seem to all be absed on poor implimentation which can equally be applied to a poor rail system.

I been lead to believe that rail is best suited to narrow coridors with not too many stops inbetween, where as busways better suit urban sprawl (ability to provide door to door services without transfers).

FYI: en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ Obahn


5 Scott Mercer May 7, 2008 at 9:55 pm

Los Angeles has had a “busway on purpose built concrete tracks” since 1973. It’s called the El Monte Transitway (formerly Busway), and it actually uses hosts multiple bus lines from different transit providers.

It gets riders, (as does the similar Harbor Transitway) but not nearly as many our light rail lines do. Metro tries promoting them, but I have been on them: the buses are empty while the Blue Line light rail trains are much closer to full, even outside of rush hours. Even though it would be easier to take the Transitways for certain destinations.

Check out the map: The El Monte Busway has only four stops, while the Gold Line light rail has 12 stops in a similar amount of mileage (Gold Line is longer, but comparable).


6 Monotonehell May 8, 2008 at 4:14 pm

@Scott Mercer: The El Monte is not a guided busway like the Adelaide Obahn. Please visit the wikipedia page I posted. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obahn)

The OBahn is a not just another lane or a busway that carpools can share. It’s a guided busway, once a bus enters the busway the drivers do not have to steer, allowing the buses to zip through the suburbs at speeds up to 100KMph (62MPH).

It’s like a combination of a train and a bus, so you get the speeds and guidance of a train with the door to door service and feeders of buses.


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