Tuesday, February 13, 2007

God is Green

When in Norway I was challenged and inspired by my eco-friendly mate John Martin. I have been considering my response (and lack of response) as a believer towards climate change.

I’m teaching my kids about Global Warming and am struck by the fact that I was taught all of this when I was in primary school but society seems to have done damn all about it. I was even more angered to read that evangelical Christians in America adamantly support the Bush administration in downplaying the threat of global warming.

-By 2050, about 75 % of the glaciers in the Swiss Alps are likely to have disappeared.
-Climate change projections show an increasing likelihood of extreme weather events and climate extremes: floods, storms, famines and droughts.
-Those in the developing world will pay the price for the western world's energy consumption.
-In the coming year the first island will be wiped out as a direct result of global warming. It’s inhabitants are being evacuated.

Steve Stockman, at a conference I was at last week, claimed that we are the most selfish generation of people to ever live. We are ruining the earth for our children and grandchildren yet we carry on regardless.

How can I make any sort of impact? How can my recycling, sharing lifts, energy-saving light bulbs etc change anything when America and China are pumping vast amounts of pollution into the air every second? Well I don’t think we are given much of a choice, and in my every day choices and influences I feel I have to do what I can to protect this beautiful earth.

What a speel sorry! Check out Al Gore’s film, 'An Inconvenient Truth'. Much more convincing than I could ever articulate.

Also ‘God is Green’ on Channel 4 tonight looks like an interesting show.



ricky said...

For all you readers who want to know more about the 'Greenhouse Effect' follow the link:

It is a really serious problem...

Scientists have discovered that Greenland's ice cap is melting three times faster than it was 5 years ago. The feeling is that it's becoming really unstable. If it were to melt completely, the consequence would most likely be that the 'Gulf Stream' would shut down. That would mean that we could kiss goodbye to our warm climate. . .

William said...

Hi J-Mac,
don't doubt everyone's part to play in halting global warming (constant battle with the wife - I turn the heating down, she turns it up, and so on...)

But how far do we go - what priority do we give to "green" issues? How do we square this all with the knowledge that the bible tells us that this planet will be destroyed and replaced with a new one?
[Rev 21v1; 2Pet3v10-13, etc]
God may be "green" but sin has corrupted all of creation and at some point its all going into the fire....
Any thoughts?

Peace and Love,

J-Mac said...

I have thought about this. Creation is corrupted and some day God will create a new heaven and a new earth. Is this a reason for being apathetic towards climate change? Thats like saying our bodies are corrupted and we're all going to die so there's no point in trying to get better when we're ill.

How far should we go?
I think we should do what we can in our everyday lives and encourage others (friends, pupils, politicians) to join us.

Anonymous said...

Calculate your carbon footprint.


Adrian Eagleson said...

i think that the Genesis account is important as Man is given stewardship over the earth - we are called to act responsibly and for me with kids i want to preserve something for them and their kids to enjoy, not simply write off our time here as 'oh well it doesn't matter we get a new one when we screw this one up' mentality.

Jen said...

saw that God is Green programme on channel four-thought it was so challenging and more important than a lot of spiritual issues we spend time stressing about. If the bible is important and God gave Adam that job right in the beginning of it, then I believe we have to make an effort.

The Wee Italian Chick said...

Hi,John.I share a common frustration about the pollution issue.It enrages me that whilst I am struggling to make my street recycle,the Yankees wouldn't walk down to their local drugstore but choose to drive their 4x4 pollution machines..The Christian silence or,worse,support to Bush is even more appalling. We need more people like you to sensibilise,shake up and mobilize a,quite frankly,selfish generation of polluters. As Ghandi said,"don't give up because what you do is like a drop in the ocean;after all the ocean is made out of drops!!!"

Anonymous said...

Would just like to say that I beleieve God is sovereign over all things, including the earth.
Now if you check the olivet discourse in the bible about wars and earthquakes and so on then we can conclude that the earth is going to suffer these things. ie sunammi etc.
If God is in total control then we will or will not destroy the planet according to his will and foreknowledge.
These things may even be judgements upon certain regions like in the bible Sodom and Gommorah.
I think we have to be careful maybe we should make a plea to the Lord as he is capable of correcting any problem with the planet.
Richard Branson has already said that the top climatologist he has consulated has said it;s to late.
Other experts have said if we can get rid of the Co2 that has polluted the ozone we have a chance.
I will cry to the Lord and if he dont want it cleared then it wont be cleared and the planet will burn according to the word of God.
I would rather worhip the creator than the creation check Rom ch 1.

Thanks Lee

The Wee Italian Chick said...

Lee, I hope you don't mind me commenting on your comment...I totally agree with your last point that we are to adore the Creator over the created,like you can still love your partner even if their actions are not quite adorable all the time... Nonetheless,God's sovreignity is one thing and our personal responsability as Christians and citizens is a different issue. Interesting that you mentioned the book of Romans where,possibly more than anywhere else in the Bible,Christians are encouraged to abide by their governament rules,to live in the respect of their earthly lives even though God's kingdom was to be their ultimate goal. Biblical eschatology is a tough one to decipher,yet the scriptural call to "do justly,to love mercy and to walk humbly before God?"(Micah 6:8)appears to be a pretty good guideline for me on how to seek to live my life-seek to do the best you can!!! (sorry for the rambling!)

William said...

Further to my own question, I do think that we should be "good stewards" in all that we do. On the other hand, I recognise that many "greens" have idolised the Earth (and even given "her" a god-like name) and become almost militant about environmental issues and that scares me.

In the end it is a side issue for me personally, especially considering i) the low priority I give green issues compared to the importance of other "causes" such as the shocking levels of child sacrifice (abortion), ii) it doesn't appear to have been a issue raised in the early church, even as part of eschatology, iii) I suspect (J-Mac not included of course) that many "greens" are in fact bohemian hypocrites.

Ok, my last point is a bit tongue in cheek.

Lastly, I think God cares far more about us than our planet (he already destroyed it by flood because of sin!). Jesus said:
"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?"
That should define "missional" for all you Po-mos out there....

ricky said...

Guys, sin entered the world and the earth was cursed, that's clear in the Genesis account... In society today earthquakes, flooding etc does and will happen. BUT that doesn't mean that we should make matters worse by treating our planet whatever way we like.

Sorry, but I just don't buy that! There are numerous verses in the bible regarding stewardship, and we DO have a responsibilty.

Yes we can pray and cry out for help and wisdom and direction, but we are his workmanship, we are here. It's up to us! What about the next generation, our kids?

The consequences of irreversible 'Global Warming' would be severe and would result in yet more death and suffering. In my opinion there really should be no argument over this.

One last thing. . . The Ozone depletion and Greenhouse Effect are two different phenomena...

In the earths upper atmosphere (stratosphere)ozone depletion takes place as a by product of a chemical reaction between Ozone and Chlorine atoms (Chlorine atoms are released when UV rays react with CFCs)

The Greenhouse effect is a warming of the lower atmosphere (troposphere) caused by mainly C02 and CFCs as well as other compounds.

Hope this helps


indya said...

Lee, I don't think that the issue here is about worshiping either the creator or the creation... We are called to be good stewards, to look after that which God has entrusted to us and that includes the planet, our environment. I don't think that what will happen to it in the end is the point, I think that what we do with what we've been given is what matters.


Anonymous said...

Indy Ricky and the wee Italian chick. I do agree with you to a certain point.
By no means do i think we should disrguard our responsiblilty, I am not a determinist or a fatalist.
Although i do think there is a danger of Christians getting to involved with these issues.
If you take China for example Greed lust for power and so forth is what drives that country and they dont care a toss for the environment, I believe the root of the problem is SIN.
Sin has caused all of us to make bad discissions and destroying the planet is just one of the outcomes.
My view is that this issue is now to big for man to deal with EVEN THE SCIENTISTS HAVE STATED THIS.
I beleieve we do have a LIMITED amount of freedom on this planet and unless God wants to use us then I leave it to him to destroy or save the planet i am but a mere man. I think we have to be responsible how we live our lives and tell others to do the same, but as for saving the world i leave that to the Lord. Nowhere do i read in scripture that we are called to try and interfere in such things.
For me time is precious and i have seen Satan side track so many good young christians into getting involved in things of this nature and all of a sudden they have no time to keep there spirtual lives on track.
Thanks for the chat Guys Lee

Jen said...

Here here Ricky! I just watched An Inconvient Truth with Al Gore. It deeply affected me. Christians should be leading the way in the GREEN issues and persuading people not to contribute to this problem even if it is too late. You know Sodom and Gomorrah was mentioned there and I have just been reading that account in Genesis. Don't forget that Abraham managed to appeal, to stand in the gap, on behalf of man and challenge God on his decision to destroy them. In doing so it says he saved his nephew Lot and his family's lives. As for Noah, God saved the innocents-Noah and his family. I totally believe that he listens to his people and if we stand in the gap and pray about this and do something that at least we might give earth more time and save some more lost souls before Jesus returns. We are called to love our neighbours- by being good stewards of the planet, surely we are preventing suffering? Maybe my theology is wrong or I'm being hypocritical. Feel free to respond.

Anonymous said...

Jen just to say i agree with what you say i believe we should plead with God to withhold his judgement and pull man out of this mess, man himself has creatd.
What i don;t see Abraham or Noah doing is trying to get a green party together.
Noah built the ark which was a practical thing GOD ASKED HIM TO DO and more importanatly WARNED THE PEOPLE WHAT WAS COMING.
Other than living our lives as "Green" as possible and warning others of God;s judgement to come there is nothing eles i feel we should do.
The church wastes enough time on things it was never told to do.

John Martin said...

Guys your all missing a very importent point here and that is that this Climate debate is not about the earth or about people (where we define the soul is) it is about how this is all connected. Its all well and good talking about how the ice caps are melting but what about the people who are already dieing in Africa because of drought? and those who are fighting conflicts over water supplies? this is set to increase in the next 20-30 years.

In Mat when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was he said 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, EQUEL to this is LOVE your neighbour as your self'. This, to me, indicates how we love people is an expression of how much we love GOD!Obviously the planet should not become an idol as we have seen from many biblical accounts of how much God hates this. One thing the climate debate has done is to show how our so called 'externaities' of polloution from consuption and energy use are cheapening life in the developed world. So as you love the planet you are loving people which in turn is an expression of how much you love God.....

Suggested reading...

Heat-George Monbiot
Soil and soul-Alister McIntosh
Jesus and the Earth-(Can't remember author)
L is for Life- Ruth Valaireo

Anonymous said...

John Martin said "In Mat when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was he said 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, EQUEL [sic] to this is LOVE your neighbour as your self'.
I think you'll find that no matter what way you spin this, the bible reports Jesus as saying that the second commandment was "like unto it" - certainly NOT equal to it! See here.
This is key to this whole debate - how far do we go on "green" issues, is it an issue to divide on?

John M said...

Sorry, i did misquote the verse, however i do still think they are both of equal merit and i guess that is a matter of opinion.

I do not think this is an issue to divide on. The earth provides life sustaining systems...

we are wrecking those systems causing untold damage which often leads to loss of life.

surly this is a distributive justice issue??

God is a God Justice not of cheap grace. All people (or the powers of darkness) have to do is create doubt which causes people to sit on the fence, doing nout, going about business as usual.

To quote Ben Harper
"What good is a man that won't take a stand?
What good is a cynic without any better plans?
I believe there's a better way"

I think it is up to this generation of Christians to present the world with alternatives, what these are i have no idea, which is kinda scary and exciting at the same time..

The Wee Italian Chick said...

Lovin' the Ben Harper quote - his new album is a masterpiece. J-Mac,had numerous discussions following your blog and kinda inspired my latest post too..thanks.

catherine said...

John Martin,keep finding you everywhere! well said - don't know how I ended up here but couldn't not comment.

The idea that we can't separate faith from action is perhaps the issue here??(James 2:14-17)
Don't get me wrong I'm just as faulty in taking action, but is it not to be recognised in the green debate that the two can't be separated..
- if our apathy towards how the climate is affecting millions, surely we have a responsibility to take action as lovers of Jesus, and inhabitants of the earth..?

J-Mac, hi, you might be interested in 'The Great global warming swindle' channel 4 on thurs- again to add another dimension to this topic!

Anonymous said...

Okay all thess facts are coming from memory of what I was taught in Geography class but from what Ive picked up this needs to be a united decision but this wont happen.. America (who produce 33% of the total emmisions a year {which is also more than all of the LEDC's combined} refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol which was an agreement to lower the CO2 emmisions...

Also the thing about the islands disappearing is entirely true and theres one islan in particular (cant remember its name at the minute) is only 4m above see water now. This is vastly decreasing as more and more polar ice caps melt.

How are we as a small island supposed to help solve this - especially when we don't have the support of our entire country?!