Regulating Footprints, Carbon And Otherwise


I have a great little grandson who is not yet two years old. He is bright, curious, funny, totally loveable, and most importantly he is named after his grandfather which makes it even better. When I look at him I am fascinated by the development of a little human being, how nature and nature’s God have allowed us to unfold in most complex and predetermined ways. Even though he is obviously more intelligent than other kids his age, I have been fascinated also by how they develop in the same ways. I guess one does not have to be Mike Huckabee to believe in a Creator.

I could devote the rest of the column to his humorous happenings, but it would probably bore you since you weren’t there. When I see him, he never ceases to amaze me. However, when I look at him, I do not realize that the “little man,” as I call him, is really a culprit in a great environmental crime.

Professor Barry Walters is an obstetrician at the University of Western Australia. He has published a letter advocating a tax on children for their carbon footprints. He recommends that the federal government end its $2500 baby bonus and replace it with a $5,000 tax on third and subsequent children. He then insists that there should be an annual carbon tax of $800 per child to purchase and maintain the four hectares of trees needed to sequester 17 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, family planning clinics and hospitals could attract carbon credits by providing greenhouse friendly services such as contraceptives of various types and sterilization. The upbeat doctor concludes that every baby in Australia represents a potent source of greenhouse gas emission for an average of 80 years, not just by breathing, but by exhausting the finite resources of our society. This is the polluter pays principle.

Wow, do you remember when we used to think that a child was a wonderful gift. Now the tyke is a grand polluter like Exxon and West Virginia coal companies.

The cardinal archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, has denounced the letter as an example of a “neo pagan, anti human” mentality which creates deep confusion for those interested in morality. Frankly I think that the Cardinal slanders paganism. Can you imagine Plato and Aristotle brokering that strange carbon tax?

Actually, it is probably that this so called environmental letter is really a slippery slope that leads to abortion on demand and quick euthanasia. Behind it stands the belief that human beings are somehow subordinate to other things like leisure, carbon counts, wealth creation, and other yuppie concerns.

So, what about “little” Michael. Well, he is not the third child, but he is symbolic of young life that is insensitive to environmental pollution as he likes very much to put things, like his parents’ car keys, into the trash. Yet, I think he is just being a scoundrel rather than a polluter. More often, when I think of his footprint, I see his image in the snow rather than his breathing and destroying trees. If fact, he really likes trees, leaves, and running in the local park, another example of an American wanting his cake and eating it too. I hope my son and daughter-in-law have been wise enough to put aside those carbon tax payments along with college tuition. Maybe the little man will not breathe deeply until he is a teenager.

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