Environment: March 2008 Archives


Yum. City CarShare, our local carsharing coop, just got its first smart fortwo cars. I love the way they’ve maintained their values, working closely with community groups, supporting transit and livable cities, and investing in cars like the Prius, fortwo, Mini Cooper, and Toyota Yaris — all of which are on the government’s list of the most fuel-efficient cars.

(This, in light of the way carsharing industry behemoth Zipcar is rapidly moving away from its greener roots, and stocking earth-unfriendly cars like BMWs and Mustangs. What use market share, if you give up on your values getting there?)

A senior official at the Vatican recently discussed his list of seven mortal “social” sins:

  • “bioethical” violations such as birth control
  • “morally dubious” experiments such as stem cell research and DNA manipulation
  • drug abuse
  • polluting the environment
  • contributing to widening divide between rich and poor
  • excessive wealth
  • creating poverty

“A person that commits a mortal sin risks burning in hell unless absolved through confession and penitence,” (emphasis mine) per AP’s description of Catholic theology. The media’s been particularly fixated on the environmental angle.

While the list doesn’t carry the weight of the Pope or the Vatican as a whole, it’s interesting to see a massive 2000-year-old institution working to amend points of theology, particularly those of personal sin, to adapt to changing understandings of the world. Not all Church policy positions (e.g. opposition to the Iraq War) get dealt with at the level of God-will-condemn-your-soul-to-hell mortal sin.

(And isn’t it fun to be able to change God’s rules as you go, like when the LDS Church suddenly declared in 1978 that men of African descent—but not women of any race—could become priests?)


Anirvan Chatterjee is a San Francisco Bay Area tech geek and bibliophile.


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This page is a archive of entries in the Environment category from March 2008.

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