Regardless, David Gessner once did an interview with Joy, and one of her responses has been a guiding light to me this winter as I work on a new book:
Gessner: Can you discuss the way we marginalize anyone who actually tries to fight for change? And this evolution of the perception of environmentalists as “extremists”? “It is a moral issue,” you write near the end [of her essay "Save the Whales, Screw the Shrimp"]. As a culture we seem to shy away from the word moral—it seems preacherly. How can we address moral issues when the culture looks down on the word?
Williams: I never show my work to anyone. When I’m finished, I just send it off. Whereas my friends could have lovingly mauled it and had complaints and suggestions, I choose to put it immediately in the hands of strangers, possibly fiends. This piece denies rhetorical niceties in that it hectors a you—that is you—for wrecking the Earth with habits and wants. But the you is me, and the they is us. We’re all pretty much responsible for the mess we’re in, some deliberately so, some just in the process of conducting normal somnambulist routines.
Pope John II said that “the environmental crisis is a moral issue.” I’m not sure what the new Pope has said on the subject. He’s recently closed limbo, which is where most environmental statutes end up.
I think destroying the Earth and its creatures—our mute fellow travelers—is sinful. If the word retains any meaning at all, it should be applied to the wanton acts we accept and tolerate daily.