Sunday, August 6, 2017


Sad to say that I am old enough to remember when rank and file people were much more ecological in the past than we are today. We did it as though it was second nature!

I listen to XM's old radio program station. Some of these programs, especially during the World War II period reminded people not to wast precious resources, to save their "drippings" and use it again in place of butter or lard.  People were given ration cards to  make sure enough resources could go into the war effort and steel and iron were used for military purposes, automobile factories stopped production of new cars.

When I was a child, we did not throw away our glass soft-drink bottles. We brought them back to the store and received our deposit back and these were thoroughly washed and reused by bottling factories.

In fact, I can remember walking to a small grocery story about a mile from where I lived as a second grader, with my friends and collecting bottles thrown out of cars and discarded by others, not as ecologically minded as my family, and getting enough of a deposit back to buy candy bars and other healthy food items like real coke in its original green 6 ounce bottle that had been used over and over again and showed the wear and tear on its outside! You knew when you got an actual new bottle so shinny and smooth! Oh the joy of just remembering!

And my parents insisted that we not waste the food that was placed on our plate as kids in China were starving. To this day I lick my plate after I have spooned the last morsel into my mouth!

And in the early 1960's in Augusta, my father had a friend who would sell us spring water from the springs in his back yard. The water came in a huge glass jar on a contraption that made it easy to pivot without lifting it to pour into pitchers and glasses.

When we didn't drink the spring water, we drank the tap water and didn't complain! There were no plastic bottles, plastic bags or anything plastic that we would throw away!

We didn't need the pope pontificating of ecological concerns, we did it ourselves!


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...


It seems to you have been taking lessons on "alternative facts" from Kelley Ann Conway.

"During the 1940s and 1950s some parts of the United States experienced pollution episodes like those now occurring across parts of China. And even on good days the air wasn’t as clean as it generally is now." Washington Post, October 21, 2013

"In 1941, influenced by a similar policy introduced in St. Louis four years earlier, the city of Pittsburgh passed a law designed to reduce coal production in pursuit of cleaner air. Not willing to cripple such an important part of the local economy, it promised to clean the air by using treated local coal. The new policy ended up not being fully enacted until after World War II. While the idea was a small step in the right direction, other factors ultimately helped improve Pittsburgh's notorious air quality. Natural gas was piped into the city. Regional railroad companies switched from coal to diesel locomotives. And, ultimately, the collapse of the iron and steel production industries in the 1980s led to rapidly improved air quality leading into the 21st century.", 5 June 2012

"On July 26, 1943, in the midst of World War II, Los Angeles was attacked -- not by a foreign enemy, but a domestic one -- smog. The Los Angeles Times reported that a pall of smoke and fumes descended on downtown, cutting visibility to three blocks. Striking in the midst of a heat wave, the "gas attack" was nearly unbearable, gripping workers and residents with an eye-stinging, throat-scraping sensation. It also left them with a realization that something had gone terribly wrong in their city, prized for its sunny climate." South Coast Air Quality Management, District,The Southland's War on Smog: 
Fifty Years of Progress Toward Clean Air
(through May 1997)

No, we were not more into the ecology movement in the 1940's through the 1960's. Such an assertion is absurd.

Joseph Johnson said...

I'm not usually one to favor government regulation of business but I've often thought that a "bottle law" requiring the use of returnable glass bottles for soft drinks, beer and milk (something that businesses are not going to return to anytime soon solely based on market forces) would be a good idea. This appeals to me personally as much for returning to world to something more traditional as much or more than its obvious environmental benefits. Constitutionally speaking, this should be a state law.

Joseph Johnson said...

The same idea could be applied to a ban on plastic shopping bags in favor of paper ones. This would benefit the timber and paper industry as well as be environmentally beneficial because of the biodegradable paper bags (as many know, the timber and paper industry is very important to the economy of the state of Georgia--especially south Georgia where there are huge plantations of pine trees harvested on 20 year cycles for this very purpose).

Rood Screen said...

This is one of your more interestingly original posts. I suspect that contraception--the ultimate ecological disaster--is the wedge driving apart faith, family and ecology.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

So your parents, FrMJK were as dastardly as the corporations were, which by the way, did not have the technology that corporations have developed today to reduce emissions.

Shame on you and your parents for not doing what countless lay men and women of the secular world did from the 1940's through the mid 60's. I bet your mom must have never recyled drippings for cooking and flavor and always threw out her deposit bottles and never recycled her newspapers and made you eat everything on your plate and then lick it! FOR SHAME!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The only shame here should be for the absurd original post headline. It's false. It displays a flagrant disregard for facts. It is wrong.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

No, corporations did NOT have the technology to, nor did they see the necessity of, reducing emissions.

Two of the reasons that corporations were not "more into the ecology movement in the 11940's through the 1960's."

Your statement is false.

rcg said...

Rather, I think the headline would be a good starting point for a rational discussion on the topic from the perspective of Catholic ethics. Considering the core theme of this blog we could contemplate how this topic is addressed in Scripture and Liturgy.

From a practical viewpoint I don't disagree with the original post because the actions people and corporations took were less symbolic and political and more results oriented. I concur with your position, Fr K. because the concerns we have now were not prioritised by policy. And the extent of the impact of decisions and actions was not fully understood.

John Nolan said...

Fr Kavanaugh knows far more about environmental issues than he does about liturgical ones; concerning the latter he writes arrant nonsense. Is he in the right job?

rcg said...

John, we have need of rational, focused, and supportable argument. No thank you, you can keep him.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

rcg - The original post which included the absurd claim that "MOST CORPORATIONS WERE MORE INTO THE ECOLOGY MOVEMENT IN THE 1940'S THOURGH THE MID 1960'S THAN THE ECOLOGISTS OF TODAY" is patently false.

They weren't. Every shred of evidence shows that they weren't. The assertion is false.

The Egyptian said...

The fat was saved for more than cooking, every housewife worth her salt already did that, the fat was used for the manufacture of explosives, the military was in dire need of it, butcher shops collected it for the war effort

from Sinking the Rising Sun
By Jonathan Winters, William E. Davis

"there was another side to rationing and that was saving cooking fat and grease and turning it in at your local butcher shop for the manufacture of explosives and fuses. Since most people shopped on Saturday and it was the busiest day the butcher has a sign in the window Ladies, please don't bring your fat cans in here on Saturday", no one had the heart to tell him"