A Christian Perspective On The Climate Emergency

I generally don’t comment on current events anymore. Except for this week, I don’t have anything in my life that I can write about. It’s a bit hush-hush at the moment, but you’ll know by the start of 2020, at the latest, when you read the yearly wrap up.

Recently 11,000 climate scientists declared a climate emergency.¹ Captain Planet had fallen in battle. Does anyone remember that show?

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Just me?

Anyway, they put forth six things humanity needs to do to save the planet. I’m going to list them and then will say something from a Biblical perspective. After all, the tagline is “Pursuing a thoughtful Christianity.”

Number 1

  • Quickly move from fossil fuels to low-carbon renewable energy and other, cleaner sources of energy. This includes eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels. Wealthier nations need to support poorer nations in this transition.

I got nothing.

Number 2

  • Reduce emissions of pollutants such as methane, soot, and hydrofluorocarbons.

I’m looking at you, China.

Number 3

  • Protect and restore Earth’s ecosystems, and encourage reforestation where possible. The scientists say up to one-third of emissions reductions needed to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Accord by 2030 could be met this way.

I like this. It’s Biblical.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.

So God created mankind in his own image,

    in the image of God he created them;

    male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.” Genesis 1:26-30

We are to care for the planet. Even in the Levitical law, there are commands about rotating crops to give the land rest. Every seventh year the Israelites were to plant nothing and eat from the previous year’s surplus.

When they disobeyed, God had them exiled and gave the land 70 years of rest.

Number 4

  • Transition to mostly plant-based foods while reducing global consumption of animal products, especially livestock. The scientists point out that it will not only lower greenhouse gas emissions, but it can improve human health.

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Number 5

  • Economies need to switch away from a goal of GDP growth and the pursuit of affluence, focusing more on carbon-free solutions. Economic focus should be on sustaining ecosystems, prioritizing basic needs and reducing inequality.

I’m curious as to how they plan to do that.

Number 6

  • Stabilize the world population, which the scientists say is increasing by 200,000 people per day. The scientists say, ideally, population needs to be gradually reduced in a way that still maintains “social integrity.” This would include strengthening human rights and making family planning resources available to everyone.

This one is scary. Several thoughts roll through my mind. One is the copying or the adaption of China’s One-Child law.

Another is forced sterilization. You know, for the good of humanity. Who gets picked for that?

We say it couldn’t happen, except it has, and in America, at that.²

“Eugenics in America took a dark turn in the early 20th century, led by California. From 1909 to 1979, around 20,000 sterilizations occurred in California state mental institutions under the guise of protecting society from the offspring of people with mental illness.

Many sterilizations were forced and performed on minorities. Thirty-three states would eventually allow involuntary sterilization in whomever lawmakers deemed unworthy to procreate.

In 1927, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that forced sterilization of the handicapped does not violate the U.S. Constitution. In the words of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes, “…three generations of imbeciles are enough.” In 1942, the ruling was overturned, but not before thousands of people underwent the procedure.

In the 1930s, the governor of Puerto Rico, Menendez Ramos, implemented sterilization programs for Puerto Rican women. Ramos claimed the action was needed to battle rampant poverty and economic strife; however, it may have also been a way to prevent the so-called superior Aryan gene pool from becoming tainted with Latino blood.

According to a 1976 Government Accountability Office investigation, between 25 and 50 percent of Native Americans were sterilized between 1970 and 1976. It’s thought some sterilizations happened without consent during other surgical procedures such as an appendectomy.

In some cases, health care for living children was denied unless their mothers agreed to sterilization.”

Eugenics is a terrifying one. Birth defect? Aborted. Too sick? Let them die. Too old? Sorry, grandma and grandpa.

Have you ever watched the movie SnowPiercer? It’s terrific. All of humanity is stuck on a train because of a climate emergency. It’s not a utopia.

The Main Thing

The question to ponder is, from what worldview does this plan’s execution come from?

One that holds to the sanctity of life? Or is it a utilitarian one where the needs of the many outweigh the few?

Is God a factor in any of this? He’s not hands-off. I love reading Job 38 to 39; it makes me feel small. It shows how much He is in control.

Here’s the thing, we’re to care for the planet as its stewards. Don’t be wasteful. Cut down a tree, plant two. The population isn’t going to grow beyond the carrying capacity of the land because it will quickly rectify itself.

Birth rates are falling worldwide now.³ God creates life, and there are fewer babies. It looks like God is already on it. He plays a much longer game more accurately than we do.

However, we’re not God. When we forget that, that’s when things go sideways.

Chill out, Thanos.

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¹ ‘Climate emergency’ with ‘untold suffering’ potential declared by 11,000 scientists

² Eugenics

³ ‘Remarkable’ decline in fertility rates

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