When will we learn?

THIS week – even as the world mourns the tragic loss of life in the unprecedented Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippine Islands – political leaders have converged on Warsaw, Poland, in yet another anticipated meeting on climate change. Concerned citizens throughout the world are hoping and praying for prompt and practical results.

The conference follows on the heels of an important report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which warns of the urgency of immediately addressing the alarming escalation of climate change in order to avoid catastrophic consequences.

Scientists talk of “tipping points” and “abrupt climate change.” Political leaders talk of the “challenges” that lie ahead. Scripture speaks of human crisis and God’s forgiving grace. All three make it clear that the time will come when we must face consequences; the time will come when it is simply too late.

At first glance, it may appear strange for the leader of a religious institution concerned with “sacred” values to be so profoundly involved in “worldly” issues. After all, what does preserving the planet have to do with saving the soul? It is commonly assumed that global climate change and the exploitation of our nature’s resources are matters that primarily concern politicians, scientists and technocrats. At best, perhaps they are considered the preoccupation of interest groups, naturalists or activists.

Nevertheless, there are no two ways of looking at either the world or God. There is no distinction between concern for human welfare and concern for ecological preservation. The way we relate to nature as creation directly reflects the way we believe in God as Creator of all things. The sensitivity with which we handle the natural environment clearly mirrors the sacredness that we reserve for the divine.

Moreover, scientists estimate that those most hurt by global warming in the years to come, are those who can least afford it. According to the Gospel of St. Matthew, the questions that will be asked of us all at the final moment of accountability will not be about our religious observance but on whether we fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, comforted the sick, and cared for captives.



13 thoughts on “When will we learn?

  1. I feel unclear on climate change. Our climate changed violently for millions of years before we were on the scene. I mean, how do we know what is a “man made effect” and what is not? And how do we know that our climate would not be violently changing regardless of what we were doing?
    I mean, I am all for responsibility of resources, of not polluting the air we need to breathe and the water we need to drink. I am for innovation and even regulation. I am not for fining our country (or any other for that matter) to pay the world because that actually fixes nothing. But still, how do we know that this is even a man-made thing?


      • just one other thought to add to what’s been said.,

        Recall the hole in the Ozone layer. Now that is a classic example of something that back in my childhood none of us would ever have believed sensible or likely.
        We were given ways of improving it by using newer and safer products etc. And from all accounts and aerial surveilance it appears to have improved. considerably.



    • I think that climate change is very counter intuitive. It seems a weird thing to me that people could possibly influence the overall temperature of the planet.

      But it’s not as though a changing climate is some kind of secret nobody knows about. If you were chatting to a climate scientist and you pointed out that climate had changed in the past do you reckon her reaction would be along the lines of
      “Wow I never knew that”. Climate scientists know that the earth has a history of climate change and yet they are still concerned about what’s going on now.

      Things like the IPCC reports are available on-line if you take the time to find and read them..

      Or I suppose you could find some former politician who’s not in anyway an expert on the topic and listen to him ramble on.

      As for “fining” – emissions in this country dropped by about 8% after the introduction of the carbon tax

      Even if you’re sceptical about climate change, when you consider the billions that pollutions costs us right now – mostly though hospitalization and premature death – you’d have to think that reducing that pollution is a good thing.


  2. Regardless of who is right and who is mistaken, the steps we are taking to renewable energy production make the world a cleaner and safer place. Good for the economy too,creating jobs in that field.

    There are other causes of climate change that we can’t do anything about, but CO2 even if minor is one we can. As custodians of the Earth we are called upon to care for it.


    • Unfortunately ” the steps we are taking” are far too tiny and probably far too late.
      Measurable climate change (caused by and causing oceanic temperature and chemistry changes on a massive, global level), soil-degradation and habitat destruction are proceeding at a rate (conservatively) 50-150 times more quickly than in any other time in assessable history ~ and that includes the environmental change that wiped out the dinosaurs and the Cambrian mass extinction event.

      Apart from asteroid strikes and other major events (massive long-term super-volcanoes, etc., none of which have occurred in the last few million years) the only other possible drivers are human or ‘divine’ intervention.

      Fortunately our’s is a primitive, not overly-speciated species, so we may outlive many of the more evolved, specialised species dying off at an alarming rate.
      But our turn will come: there’s a limit to the number of holes you can punch in the dyke before you run out of fingers.

      Whoever/whatever succeeds us the bearers of god’s image will look at the record and shake their heads in wonder that such a stubborn and stupid species managed to least for even the instant it did.

      Just a momentary aberration in the evolutionary processes, they’ll say.
      And there’ll be nobody to dispute the judgment.


      • Don’t despair, Dabs. Geo-engineering, stratospheric aerosols, supply a solution.

        Just as volcanic eruptions in the past have caused mini ice ages.

        Trouble is, the cure might be worse than tbe complaint, and if one nation decided to go it alone the reaction from other nations might be WWlll.


      • ??? “stratospheric aerosols”?
        You can already see them at work ~ I understand they’re called The Police Air Wing …… 😉


      • ….But I don’t despair. It’s hard to feel much sympathy for self-inflicted wounds, especially deliberate ones. And while I feel deeply for the helpless and the ignorant, I won’t be here when the worst of it hits the fan ~ and until then I have the resources to take care of myself and do the things I think matter as far as I’m able.

        As a young activist I used to refer to humanity as a cancer of the planetary body-corporate , until someone pointed out that cancer, too, was a facet of the nature of things, literally and figuratively.

        And he was right; we’re terminally ill. Our only option is to do the best we can with what we’ve got ~ to validate our existence in the here and now ~ and wait for Ma Nature to recalibrate and reassert the natural order as and when.

        And she will; not even prayers demanding favours won’t sway her; we’re not nearly as important as we like to pretend.


  3. Climate change, the living planet and consciousness. Are these related and if so how? This is what I see.
    We, the top of creation, the human being are directly involved and dependent of the rest of all the other living beings on this planet. These are not here for our sole benefit to be exploited mercilessly. These are here in harmony with each other and us, the human beings. Note I am using beings after the word human. We are beings, who believe to be humans.it will change.
    As the top of the intelligent species, we have responsibility. To take care, to guide and foster the rest of the creation. We here to be the guardians, protectors of the planet. chialphagirl mentions that this is not the first time an unprecedented climate change is happening. This is true, this was happening uncounted times in the past. Even at the time of the Dinosaurs. Possibly even before that. Why, one could ask? My answer to that is that change is required, a radical change, which can not be achieved by evolution. A total redesign if you like. Later, when human beings arrived, the story was the same as it is today, we are abusive to the planet, seeking advantage, power and profit. This is true about Lemuria, Atlantis, the Egyptian empire, just have a look the known history. Cultures rise and fall for the same reason. Arrogance.
    How does it relate to today’s state of the planet? We are increasingly abusive to the natural world. Especially after the event of computers and so called virtual reality, our arrogance knows no limits. For some unknown reason we falsely believe we can exist without the natural world. But let me assure you, we can’t. we can’t make food for instance. Even the most artificial food originates form natural resource. We just manipulate it. We can’t create life, no matter how we try. Once something is extinct and no longer present on this planet, we can’t recreate it.
    We make holes in the ground to get something we mine for, iron, uranium, whatever. Once we finish, we just leave the scare to the nature to heal. It cost money to re-instate it to liveable state. It cost money to make and manufacture products of high quality, which last. Instead we have cheap products manufactured in low cost labour countries, who don’t give a hoot about environment. I landed in Hong Cong three years ago and could not believe the level of pollution in this part of the world. One could not see further than 200 metres. So thick was the smog. When we became airborne and flu north direction until Shanghai, there was a continuous cloud of smog preventing me to see the ground. A price of progress?
    Can you honestly say we have no impact on the climate? Take for instance the climate warfare, the US and the Russians are directly involved in manipulating the climate to retaliate against other countries. At the moment it is mostly only experimental stage, but they are able to manipulate the weather. Seeding clouds with chemicals to create rain, do you honestly think this is beneficial? Where do this chemicals en?
    Genetic engineering of plants, inoculating plants with poison to make them resistant to insects? How does it serve to the natural world? When I was a child and young man, natural farming practices were common. No insecticides, herbicides, just natural use of planting methods, relying on beneficial insects and birds, not planting huge monocultures. Organic farming phrase was not invented yet, but practiced naturally. And you say we not responsible for changes in the natural world?
    I say the natural world is underpinned with the same intelligence we are and it will take steps to protect itself. It is becoming increasingly hostile to the human being. And my prediction is that this will escalate. Unless we take notice and change. From experience thought I hold little hope we take notice until we forced to. The so called bible tells grim story of flood, predicts disasters. This is a book of prophecies and any prophecy fulfilled is a prophesy that failed. These prophecies are warning to us, to take heed and notice our behaviours. And tell us the consequences if we don’t.
    I could go on and on. But I believe this is enough to take note.


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