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Global Climate Change

The lovely and talented Dedee suggested that I write about global warming today. Another lighthearted and uplifting post written by the woman who ruined chocolate for you--say "Hallelujah," friends! You're in for a treat.

A better term for the phenomenon popularly called 'global warming' is 'global climate change,' since climatic effects are expected to grow more extreme (meaning that some places might get colder).

I am ill-equipped to address this topic properly; I'm tired, and I have a novel to write. (I don't mean to sound whiny, Dedee. This is a subject near and dear to my heart, and I was grateful that you asked. Really: thank you.)

I will tell you this, though. I believe, after much research over many years, that 1) global climate change IS a real problem; 2) that it HAS been caused in large part by people living in industrialized countries; and 3) that we DO have power--at least for a very short time RIGHT NOW--to do something to reverse the situation before more disaster strikes.

I also believe that I'm not going to change anyone's mind about this issue. But you should know that even President Bush's head science advisor and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, John Marburger, stated in a recent interview with the BBC that global warming is a very real threat.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), co-winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, is a great resource for those wanting to educate themselves. RealClimate.org is another thoughtful site putting good science out in readable fashion.

I have to say, I don't understand why taking care of the earth is not a higher priority for people of my faith; I don't understand why the majority of LDS Americans still support a president who has undermined environmental policy at every turn.

I believe that God has given us everything we have, asking that we show our love for Him by valuing His gifts and taking good care of them. We're not doing that.

"In the name of 'progress' and 'growth,' we have plundered our planet and despoiled our environment....Many of our environmental problems arise from the fact that our society has become obsessed with materialism...this reflects a misinterpretation by conventional Judeo-Christian philosophers of God's injunction to Adam about subduing the earth....The reason we are in trouble ecologically is because of our inability to see ourselves as a part of nature. We have not seen ourselves for what we are: part of the web of life and part of the biological community; a portion of an incredibly complex ecological system; and intimately a part of the total environment. The serious ecological problems which face us have as their basis a disordered spirituality." --A. B. Morrison, "Our Deteriorating Environment," Ensign, Aug. 1971, 64

I've read two books in recent months written by Christians very concerned about ecology: Pollution and the Death of Man, by Francis Schaeffer, and Serve God, Save the Planet, by J. Matthew Sleeth. These two men show very plainly that taking care of the earth is clearly outlined in the Bible as the responsibility of humankind.

People of other faiths agree:

"The earth we inherit is in danger; the skies and the seas, the forests and the rivers, the soil and the air, are in peril. And with them humankind itself is threatened. As earth's fullness has been our blessing, so its pollution now becomes our curse. As the wonder of nature's integrity has been our delight, so the horror of nature's disintegration now becomes our sorrow."--Rabbi Alexander Schindler, President, Union of American Hebrew Congregations

"In the Koran, God said that He created nature in a balance or mizam, and that it is mankind's responsibility to maintain this fragile equilibrium," says Richmond-based Islamic leader Dr. Imad Damaj. "We cannot maintain it by blaming each other, but must do so by working together." (quote from the Chesapeake Climate Action Network)

"Despite significant variations among the different Buddhist traditions that have evolved over its 2,500 year journey throughout Asia and now in the West, Buddhists see the world as conjoined on four levels: existentially, morally, cosmologically, and ontologically....Although the Buddhist doctrines of karma and rebirth link together all forms of sentient existence in a moral continuum, Buddhist ethics focus on human agency and its consequences. The inclusion of plants and animals in Buddhist soteriological schemes may be important philosophically because it attributes inherent value to nonhuman forms of life. Nonetheless, humans have been the primary agents in creating the present ecological crisis and will bear the major responsibility in solving it." --"Buddhism and Ecology: Challenge and Promise," Donald K. Swearer, Harvard University

"Hinduism and Jainism offer unique resources for the creation of an earth ethic. The variegated theologies of Hinduism suggest that the earth can be seen as a manifestation of the goddess (Devi) and that she must be treated with respect; that the five elements hold great power; that simple living might serve as a model for the development of sustainable economies; and that the concept of Dharma can be reinterpreted from an earth-friendly perspective. The biocosmology of Jainism presents a worldview that stresses the interrelatedness of life-forms. Its attendant nonviolent ethic might easily be extended to embrace an earth ethics. Both traditions include a strong emphasis on asceticism that might discourage some adherents from placing too much value on earthly concerns, but, as we have seen, Hinduism and Jainism both contain concepts that can lead to the enhancement of core human-earth relations." --"Hinduism, Jainism, and Ecology," Christopher Key Chapple, Loyola Marymount University

There's so much more to write; this topic is overwhelmingly huge. I could spend months on it alone and not exhaust the nuances of the issue: aspects of the problem; evidence from all over the planet; ethics; solutions both societal and individual. But I have the proverbial miles to go before I sleep, so I'll quit now. Thanks for your patience.

Reader Comments (13)

One of the places I agree with you is in why this isn't just common sense for LDS people. Whether a person believes in global warming or not, it makes sense to take care of what we have. We are stewards and there may be enough to take care of us all, but I still believe that God expects us to do our part.

Oi, I'm going to get on my soap box if I'm not careful.

Thanks for addressing the issue.

November 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDedee

I'm of your faith and I agree with you. Especially with all that we are taught about taking care of the earth that was created for us. I just wanted you to know that I don't understand it either, nor am I a big fan of the aforementioned president.


November 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWho Am I?

Wonderful post! I loved the interfaith perspectives.

November 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJen of A2eatwrite

I believe that there is a climate change...but the reasons I'm not so sure of. It used to be warmer in the 1600's(I think that is what I read). There is no doubt that there is change and looking after the world is a good thing. It was in the paper today the the ice has already formed up north. This after years of warming and the ice forming later and not as thick. Again, not sure why the sudden change there. Is it a natural phenomena, or...

November 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSirdar

Amen, sista. Way to include everybody. You're so smart.

November 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Another educational post. Thanks for the perspectives of different faiths. I agree we are responsible to look after what we have and we are called to be stewards of this earth.

November 7, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterdawn

Luisa, is there any topic about which you cannot write? You, like Isaac Asimov, could have a blog in every section of the Dewey Decimal system.

November 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Here is my resounding AMEN:

Gore was right, plain and simple. I love when people who are not at all educated on the subject still think it's a matter of "belief" as opposed to FACT. Those who have studied the issues agree-- and they don't exactly hand out Nobel Peace Prizes like Halloween candy.

I share your faith, and (since I live in Utah) I am surrounded by others who do too. In this latest election, the "environment" was the recipient of sheer MOCKERY. MOCKING the notion that we should take care of our sacred earth. This mockery was coming from people who claim to believe that God created the earth for us because He loves us. HOW do they not see that what they're saying and doing (and NOT doing) and VOTING FOR is NOT congruent with what their religion teaches them? I just. Don't. Get it. They pride themselves on being more righteous in their politics, and yet they've missed the boat completely.

Whoosh. I'm stopping now. You know I could go on about this eternally...

(Fantastic post, by the way!)

November 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBrillig

That was brilliant! Another resounding AMEN! from over here.

November 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

I wonder where you would have gone if you were NOT tired! whew! I like the interfaith support!

November 7, 2007 | Unregistered Commenteranjmae

amen, sister

November 7, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterpainted maypole

Yes yes yes!!! Bravo!! I'm giving you a standing ovation (or, at least, adding this to my Google Shared Items)...

http://catherinemcniel.blogspot.com" REL="nofollow">catherine

November 9, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Hi, my name is Dustin and I work with Christians in Conservation: A Rocha USA. I noticed that you mentioned the book "Serve God, Save the Planet" in your post, and I thought that you might like to know that its author, Dr. Matthew Sleeth, has recently become the president of our organization. We would love for you to check us out at our website, en.arocha.org/usa.

November 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDustin F

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