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Temperance: Another way to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

June 6th, 2013

“In his classic study of the cardinal virtues, Josef Pieper was quick to point out that the rich meaning of temperance is not captured by the concept of moderation. Moderation is only a small part of temperance—the negative part. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, temperance gives order and balance to our life. It arises from a serenity of spirit within oneself. The reasonable norm allows us to walk gently upon the earth. Temperance teaches us to cherish and enjoy the good things of life while respecting natural limits. Temperance in fact does not diminish but actually heightens the pleasure we take in living by freeing us from a joyless compulsiveness and dependence. Temperance therefore means a lot more than the so-called “temperance movement” regarding the consumption of alcohol!”

“E. F. Schumacher, in his most influential book Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, contrasted the consumerist way of life, which multiplies human wants, with the simple life, whose aim is to achieve maximum well-being with the minimum use of the earth’s resources. The “logic of production” that demands more and more growth in consumption is a formula for disaster, he argued. “Out of the whole Christian tradition,” Schumacher concluded, “there is perhaps no body of teaching which is more relevant and appropriate to the modern predicament than the marvelously subtle and realistic doctrines of the Four Cardinal Virtues” and in particular temperance, which means knowing when “enough is enough.”

Excerpted from The Good Life from a Catholic Perspective: The Challenge of Consumption by Msgr. Charles Murphy

Read the full article and learn how practicing the virtue of temperance can reduce your carbon footprint.

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