I was interviewed by a reporter from the Modesto Bee, a large newspaper in mid-California. The reporter asked me how the cross-country campaigning has been influencing the children. I said our Sarah, 10, has been exposed to a tremendous amount of social and environmental issues as we’ve traveled. And this has motivated her to want to make a difference. In the last year, she started a club among her pen friends. The club revolves around what kids can do “…to change the world.” The project they are working on now revolves around how kids can impact pollution in the oceans, and Sarah, for instance, has been diligently doing research and trying to come up with ways to help… And by the time Sarah is an adult, there might be a whole lot more ‘ocean’ for her and her friends to worry about. Today on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle was an article that said two seperate scientific studies show global warming and polar ice cap melting is happening “at a faster pace than believed.” And this could cause sea levels around the world to rise 13 to 20 feet by the end of the century… I gave a talk at St. Joseph’s Church in a hard scrabble area of north Sacramento today. I talked about breaking the 5th Commandment (Thou Shalt Not Kill) in relationship to abortion. But here’s an interesting theological question. If my energy-glutonous lifestyle in America (driving everywhere, central heating and air conditioning, significant consumption of products that take all kinds of fossil fuel to make — cars, furniture, appliances…) contributes significantly to global warming, polar ice cap melting, and, ultimately, the death of my Sarah and some of her friends in the next generation — in God’s eyes, have I (in a very real sense) broken the 5th Commandment? Well, sure. Note: USA Today just carried a piece on ‘Smart cars’ called: Zaps. They are mini-cars developed in Europe that are four feet shorter than BMW’s Mini Cooper. (The joke is the car is so short that Zap boasts it can be parked perpindicular to the curb.) The care gets 85 miles to a gallon — meaning considerable less emissions per mile. While most people would look at this as a positive environmental step, given the alarming global warming trend we’re facing — I see the introduction of a few of these ‘smart cars’ in America as a mere drop in the bucket (or one less drop in cascading glacial melts). What would be tremendously ‘smarter,’ would be for engineers to be rapidly designing these little cars with electric or solar power, in tandem with us going to Walkable communities with wide lanes for pedestrians, bicyclists, buggies… Anything environmentally less at this point is like: rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic… At St. Joseph’s today before I talked,a priest in his homily said one of the “great Commandments” is to “Love our neighbor as ourselves.” Another question: If we were Sarah (or anyone in her generation), would we want our generation just steaming ahead in our comfort and consumptive lifestyle and trashing the world for her (or them)? Is that in any way: “Loving our neighbor as ourselves.” Hardly.