As I have been reading earlier issues of church magazine there have been some articles that talk about caring for our environment and taking care of the earth. The debate on man made climate change (previously known as global warming this changed when it was shown that there has been no measurable increase in earths temperatures in 15 years) seems to be never ending. There are those that follow the man made climate change ideology almost to the point of religious fervor. People like Al Gore and David Suzuki have made several million in profits selling the idea of man made global warming, using there lobbyists organization to pressure governments to adopt green energy initiatives. Ontario has done just this and is celebrating this as a great investment and bragging about the fact that they are leading the way in environmentally friendly alternatives (such as windmills that kill thousands of birds a year). (http://www.sootoday.com/content/news/details.asp?c=64549) All the while ignoring the huge cost of electricity is costing people and the jobs lost at these coal powered plants. Ontario electricity rates have gone up nearly 100% in the last 10 years (5 center/kwh in 2005 to 9.7cent per kwh in 2013) http://www.ontarioenergyboard.ca/OEB/Consumers/Electricity/Electricity%20Prices/Historical%20Electricity%20Prices.
In the case of Ontario, the result is lost jobs, jobs that never happened, increase in energy costs for consumers and little not no benefit or change in environmental impact. (http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/05/01/ontarios-green-disaster/)
Sadly the environment movement has gone beyond the ideals of caring for our planet and where we live, to a religion that is fervently and energetically preached Those who deny or disagree with there ideology are shamed, and threatened.
David Suzuki is quoted as saying ““You have lived your entire lives in a completely unsustainable period, You all think growth and [climate] change is normal. It’s not. we can no longer tolerate what’s going on in Ottawa and Edmonton. What I would challenge you to do is to put a lot of effort into trying to see whether there’s a legal way of throwing our so-called leaders into jail because what they’re doing is a criminal act,It’s an inter-generational crime in the face of all the knowledge and science from over 20 years.” (http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=290513)
So we have these Religious leaders of environmental movement calling for politicians to be imprisoned for not subscribing their ideology. On the other side of the coin you have the skeptics calling them out on the things they claim as fact. Its a heated debate and certainly not one with easy answers.
Some who are reading this might wonder where I stand on these issues and how my religious faith impacts how I view environmentalism. Those that know me might be surprised at what I have to say.
I am a Environmentalist. which is why I have to disagree with Al Gore and David Suzuki. Suzuki claimed that climate change is not normal, however he has only been around for 77 years, Throughout the millions of years of earths history the climate has changed numerous times in subtle and drastic ways. The little ice age which occurred between 1350-1850 is and exzample of this. This happened just after a mid-evil warm period, the Earth has warmed up quite a bit since then. The Graph below show the temperature trends have gone up and down on a regular basis. While the average global temperature today is more than the mid evil warm period, it shows that temperatures do fluctuate up and down on a regular basis without mans help
I am and environmentalist because I support pipelines to transport crude oil to market. The fact is pipelines are significantly safer and drastically less environmental impact than any other type of transportation. Trains derail, planes crash, tanker trucks get in accident and yes sometimes pipelines burst and spill. all forms of transportation have a risk associated with them. Train, plane, or truck while transporting oil are burning fuel and putting those nasty greenhouse gases in to the air while transporting the oil, and when spills and accidents do happen a larger percentage of there volume is spilled vs pipelines, keeping in mind the media tends to sensationalize oil spills. So while people like Al Gore and David Suzuki are flying around the world to preach there gospel they are putting more CO2 emissions in our atmosphere than the average Joe consumer, who is effected by large energy cost as a result of there political pressure and ideology.
The problem with this religion of environmentalism is that it has morphed into earth worship. Often ecological natural disasters such as the recent typhoon in the philipines are pointed to as proof of climate change, while at the same time ignoring the fact that typhoons in that part of the world are actualy quite normal and natural part of the climate, just as hurricaines are a normal and natural part of the climate in the atlantic ocean. To say that storms like that typhoon are proof of climate change is like saying snow in canada is proof of climate change, or that it snowed and was minus 30 in edmonton is proof of man made climate change. Mankind is no longer viewed as dominant and the ruling species on the planet but rather the earth itself is superior to all else even God who gave us dominion over the earth in the first place. Would you tell your children we can’t eat because the food was produced in a environmentally unfriendly way and I can’t drive the store to buy that food because the earths welfare is more important that you eating? doubtful but that is essentially what Earth worshipers would have us do. They would have us living in poverty for fear of hurting the earth. They would put millions of people out of work for the sake of and ideology that the earth is all that matters, the consequences don’t matter, the livelihoods of millions of people around the world don’t matter, the suffering inflicted on them by there ideology does not matter. Ironically those who preach this earth worship would not or could not live to the same standards they demand of everyone else.
In Genesis 1:26 it states 26 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” We were commanded to have dominion over the earth and all animals on it. This dominion was not given to us to be abused but to keep and till the earth and take care of it. Because we have dominion given by God we have a responsibility to maintain our environment and care for it. We can do this in many ways that won’t result in economic and societal collapse.
To live the principals of environmentalism in the context of God and his gospel we need to stop worshiping the earth and start thinking more in terms of caring for the world that God gave us. There are many ways we can reduce pollution but we will never stop climate change, that is a fact of life on earth. Climate changes with or without our help. To try to stop climate change is like trying to stop a freight train with a piece of straw. Simply put its not going to happen.
So what can we do as disciples and saints with respect of environmentalism. Recycling is a readily available options in many areas. Recycling is a great way to keep pollutants our of our environment by reusing materials and keeping them out of the landfills. In this way we can help to keep our environment free of trash and other pollutants.
We can reduce our fuel consumption by not driving and using alternatives such as walking and biking. Busing contrary to popular belief is not actually less pollution but burns more fuel per passenger mile that cars.
We can support cleaner power options such as nuclear power rather than other power alternatives. Oil is not a clean source of energy, by its very nature it is dirty and has been since it was formed in the ground it was dug out of millions of years ago. mankind did not make oil dirty it was already that way but is the most efficient and effective means of producing energy we have, we can continue to support cleaner methods of getting the oil to market and production in cleaner and more efficient ways.
We can make sure when bad things happen like oil spills, we take responsibility and be willing to bear the cost of cleaning up the mess we made, We can pick up trash when we see it on the ground and help protect natural habitats with responsible development. It is important to strike the right balance between our God given responsibility to care for and take care of the earth and the life that we share our world with, and the well being of our selves and our families. This is no easy task but it can be done.
There are 2 extremes in this debate, those that deny pollution and climate change and those that preach man made climate change and it must be stopped. We as Gods children have a responsibility to manage our world and maintain a healthy balance between our own welfare and that of this world we live in. The earth is not going anywhere. Our focus needs to be on reducing pollution without negatively effecting our welfare. The earth is ours to care for. God expects us to care for it. We have a responsibility to do so.