“It matters little what people say they believe when their actions are inconsistent with their words. Thus we Friends may say that we care for our environment, but as long as Friends continue to consume fossil fuels, our Peace and Environmental Justice Testimonies will fail to speak to humankind. Let our lives speak for our convictions. We may not be able to change how others use fossil fuels. But we can try to change our own lives. We must be ready to accept the sacrifices involved if we hope to make a real testimony for Peace and Environmental Justice. We must make Environmental Justice a way of life in a society that embraces fossil fuels.”
Despite the highly successful disinformation campaigns by those who profit from fossil fuels to convince people otherwise, how greenhouse gases work is a scientific fact. The reasons the planet Earth supports life are because of the presence of oxygen and water, and greenhouse gases trapping appropriate amounts of heat from the sun.
Homeostasis is the concept that variables are regulated in a way that dynamic systems remain relatively stable and constant. The amount of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) in the atmosphere have, until recently, remained fairly constant, resulting in stable air and water temperatures.
But the invention and widespread use of automobiles has upset the homeostasis of our environment, significantly overloading our air and water with carbon dioxide. Vastly increased amounts of greenhouse gases are increasing air and water temperatures, which have multiple effects. Warmer air holds more water, removing more water from the soil, leading to droughts and wildfires, and then to torrential rainfall in other areas. Glaciers melt, raising sea levels and reflecting less solar energy. More carbon dioxide absorbed by the ocean increases acidity, killing marine life. Warmer waters add more moisture to the air and contribute to heavier rainfall.
There is a significant time delay between when a dose of greenhouse gas is added, and when the effect of that is seen. It is estimated that this climate lag takes around forty (40) years!
Our water supplies continue to be contaminated from extreme fossil fuel extraction, and the pipelines used for their transport. The potent greenhouse gas methane is released by fracking, and earthquakes are caused by the fracking processes.
We are at war against our environment. Every drop of fossil fuel we burn is shooting a weapon that targets and damages our environment.
The usual response is something like “I know I need to reduce driving, but I have to have a car because…” We no longer have the luxury of that choice.
A moral response begins from the knowledge that we can not add another single molecule of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere now.
We have to figure out what it will take for us to live without a car today. Communities need to be redesigned so that essential businesses and services are within walking distance. Inter and intra-urban mass transit systems must be rapidly developed. While that is happening we need to use shared electric powered vehicles. We have to stop building and using gasoline powered vehicles.
Otherwise we are soldiers in a war firing weapons at our environment, and killing the Earth.