It is not the exploitation of fossil fuels. It is neither corporations, nor government taxation and spending. It is not wealth. It is not political donations and special interest lobbying. It is not economic growth. It is not consumption (though consumerism is always wrong, no matter the ecological situation). It is none of these things per se. The problem is a loss of our sense of proportion. All these things may have their place in a healthy society. But we have lost a sense of their appropriate place and scale. We have taken good things and thought that by maximising them, then the common good would enlarge. We have thus enabled each of these things to become hideously deformed, metastasizing throughout the body politic at a pace and scale that threaten our collective life. We have taken certain goods and ideas and fashioned them into idols.
What horizon of reference can help us to regain our bearings and a feel for the relative weight of different claims upon our attention? When our actions and hubris have ballooned into reshaping the sky and oceans and earth, what backdrop can highlight our grotesque distortions of priority and probity? Against whom can we measure a life that is properly creaturely, aptly humble, truly human?