The Solution, Not the Problem (humans)

I became aware of a writing by Fr. Roger Landry that had misunderstandings about the EPA trying to regulate CO2 (see, and I wrote him this response, which I thought I’d share here:

Dear Fr. Landry,

I read your article, “The Solution, Not the Problem,” and I’m with you on having a human-focused environmentalism.  What turned me from an environmental passivist to an activist twenty years ago — in which my husband and I started seriously reducing our greenhouse gases, now down 60% below our 1990 emissions and saving us money without lowering our living standards — was a 1989 film I saw, “Is it Hot Enough for You?”  The film showed that there were decades of decreased precipitation (drought and famine) in the Sahelian belt in Africa, and a mirror image of increased flooding in Northern Europe, and how this fit with what was expected in a globally warming world, if global warming were to be scientifically proven.  I didn’t need 95% scientific certainty about this to start acting.  It was God’s grace that allowed me to understand that I was part of the problem, I was killing people, and I needed to do something about mitigating global warming, so I did.  Later I came to find that in the same year, 1990, Pope John Paul II had admonished us in “Peace with All Creation” that it was everyone’s responsibility to mitigate such serious problems as global warming.

I’ve honed in on the science ever since, and by 1995 the first studies indicated that indeed global warming was happening, and humans were causing it.  Since then the science has kept getting stronger and more robust (proof from many different sources and angles), and the dangers more dangerous.

I know it is tempting to follow an agenda-driven falsehood than a truth-driven agenda, but God is truth, and scientific truths, though provisional and based on the best data and theory to date (and thus changeable), deserve our respect.  And I had nothing better to do with my life than glorify God through my Little Way of Environmental Healing, so I went for it.  I keep an image of a starving African madonna and child in my mind’s eye whenever I start backsliding.

I thought your article was right-on regarding the “overpopulation crowd” (who are not necessarily environmentalists by my definition).  I have found that people who are educated and accept the science, but are not necessarily environmentalists themselves often give as the solution halting overpopulation — in other words, it’s up to other people to solve the problem, not themselves; or they want other people to have fewer children so their own children can have more stuff and live as profligately as they do, or more so (to them that is the meaning of “progress”).

What I tell such people is, it’s totally contradictory that we should kill children in order to save children.  Who are we saving the earth for, if not for the children?

I don’t find any fault in the EPA trying to regulate CO2, since overabundance of this from fossil fuel burning (not from our breathing) is a main cause of global warming, and its knock-on effects of human harm and death, as well as harm to God’s creation.  It’s sort of like “the dose makes the medicine or the poison.”  I don’t think any environmentalist I have ever known has ever suggested that we stop breathing, or kill people or prevent their birth to reduce CO2. 

The EPA establishes such rulings so it can create standards for new vehicles to become more efficient.  The technology has been there for decades, but auto makers, in cahoots with oil, refuse to implement them (and if they violate EPA rules, all they do is pay a modest fine, which is passed on to the consumer).  Such auto efficiencies would not only save lives but also help people save money and strengthen the economy.  Also the EPA points out their main concern is for human health and welfare (they don’t even mention animals or “the environment”) — see

  • Endangerment Finding: The Administrator finds that the current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed greenhouse gases–carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)–in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.
  • Cause or Contribute Finding: The Administrator finds that the combined emissions of these well-mixed greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the greenhouse gas pollution which threatens public health and welfare.

The steps they are pursuing in requiring cars to be more efficient are very modest and 30 years late.  The fossil fuel and auto industries, quite frankly, are willing to sacrifice human lives and harm our economy for the temporary economic gain of the few.

There is other proof that the EPA is sensitive to the human issues.  For a couple of decades I’ve been handing out the EPA’s Happy Earth Day Coloring Book for kids (on reused paper, of course), and page 11 of that book it states:  “Don’t ever think you’re not important to our Earth.  You are!”  See:

I pray that we all join together and solve these environmental problems so that all people can live good lives, and be inspired by our goodness.

Yours in Christ,
Lynn Vincentnathan


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