So what is right?

SO, I have given up the car for Lent. So far so good. It has proved physically challenging at times, and has added some extra time to my journeys. It has required extra planning. It is going well.

I spent the day working at home. So no miles saved. Except that the people who came to see me drove to get here. Perfectly reasonable behaviour. How could I insist otherwise?

Therefore, I remained (relatively) ethically pure whilst they carried on burning up the fossil fuels. My work, despite any moral claims I might make for my own behaviour, meant that others had to drive cars.

It is a big problem. When I was at Canterbury Cathedral we adopted the Church of England’s ethical investment guidelines, which said that we should not invest in arms, pornography, gambling,tobacco or alcohol. I had some problems with this, as we were quite happy to sell alcohol in our conference centre, and could be partial to a drop or two ourselves.

I am a  trustee of a charity there is an email debate going on about our ethical investment. Should we go beyond the Church’s guidelines, for example, and disinvest from firms which make their profits from fossil fuels. This sounds reasonable except that we will have got to a trustee meeting by fossil- fuelled transport, and we will sit in fossil-fuelled heated rooms.

And please don’t mention the quantity of washing that cycling creates. The electricity used on the washing cycle must use up a great deal of the benefit of not using the car.

I suppose that all that I can say is that you have to begin somewhere. Tomorrow it’s old style telephone conferencing, and a trip to the University of Bath. There is a mighty hill leading from the station to the University. Excellent.


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