Lower Oil Prices, Pope Francis’ Ecological Encyclical, and Houses Built on Sand

By Frank Morris
Frank Morris
Frank Morris is the founder of Ecological Advisors, Inc. and is a member of the FAN Board of Directors.

Oil prices are falling just before the release of Pope Francis’ ecological encyclical, but lower oil prices perhaps threaten financial contagion on all continents.

Even as Goldman Sachs warns of a trillion dollars in zombie oil investments, as American shale oil producers pull back on drilling plans, and governments in Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Nigeria, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador and those institutions that hold those nations debt obligations, shudder, (because high oil prices were budgeted to pay each nations debts and social expenses) Pope Francis prepares to release his Ecological Encyclical.

I’m going to make a prediction, that the Pontiff’s ecological encyclical is less about “The Earth” and more about how humanity lives on the earth, and commits to the Common Good and their love of neighbor.  Oil prices fall, and the people cheer.  But maybe people should stop cheering and THINK, Pray, discern, ready themselves, and if there means provide, work and invest in a more ecological economy.

Matthew 7: 26-27 “But everyone who hears these saying of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand, and the rain descended, and the floods came and blew and beat on the house and it fell, and great was its fall.”

Pope Benedict provides a modern perspective:”If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation. Respect for creation is of immense consequence, not least because creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God’s works, and its preservation has now become essential for the pacific coexistence of mankind…Mankind must renew and strengthen the… covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God.”

I don’t see the creative love of God being mirrored through hydro carbon exploitation.  I don’t see houses built on rock, when nations depend on high oil prices to pay their bills. I see hydro carbon exploitation and distribution contributing to war in the Middle East, Ukraine, and South Sudan.  I see the concentrated wealth and violence inherent in hydro carbon exploitation contributing to government corruption and malfeasance in Brazil, Nigeria, and Mexico.

Reading the signs of the times, I see hope and potential in ecological innovation for the common good, and justice and peace THROUGH maintaining the integrity of creation.

I see low carbon transportation and light rail in Lima Peru, and Israeli clean water technology being exported to China and globally.  I see the German Energy Transition employing renewables to cultivate as much as 75% of their electricity on sunny/windy days, and improved energy storage technology becoming economically competitive.  I see local, organic foods becoming more available.  I see the passive house movement employing insulation to make building more efficient.  I see solar energy costs dropping, and the technology being used to electrify rural Africa and India.  I see material science providing great opportunity to provide better quality of life with lower ecological impact.

I see a great competition at work, between the forces of violent exploitation and peaceful cultivation.  I see a struggle between fear and greed, and hope and sustainability.  I see houses built on the sand of hydro carbon dependence, and the rock of ecological innovation.

I see the Pontiff’s message coming at the right time.  Will we as Franciscans have the wisdom to listen and act?


Published in: on January 8, 2015 at 12:01 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Reblogged this on Felician JPIC.

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