Getting to grips with Green charity
Trocaire are highlighting climate change for this year’s Lenten campaign:
Climate change in developing countries is undermining poor people’s ability to survive.
While rich countries continue to consume and use energy levels beyond what is fair and sustainable, the greatest impact is being felt by the poorest people who are least able to cope.
Their fact sheet draws heavily on the results of the IPCC, while their official policy paper is very much in the mould of traditional Catholic thinking, but with the innovation that social justice (a concept which I have never understood) has now been expanded to include “environmental justice”.
I genuinely fail to grasp their point of view, but it seems to be motivated by the idea that people in wealthy countries need to atone for their wealth by consuming fewer resources. UN-backed scientific studies allege that first world consumption is deleterious to the Earth’s climate, chiming perfectly with Catholic social teaching and with the objectives of aspiring socialist planners around the world.
It seems interesting to me that Trocaire would run such an overtly political campaign this year. We are encouraged to take action by emailing politicians John Gormley or Hilary Benn, asking them to support and strengthen the UN climate fund. I understand that it is normal for charities to be engaged in some lobbying, but I wonder if this aspect of their activities is becoming more and more prominent, diluting their important voluntary role in civil society.
In any case, it is to be hoped that there is still time for a debate regarding the correct antidote to world poverty. If we could take the time to understand global development from a sound historical and economic perspective, perhaps that would do more for the Earth’s poor, in the long run, than nearly any donation.