Friday, October 26, 2007

Climate Change and Greed

“For two hundred years, we, in the west, have wagered the world that economic growth is the highest form of progress, burning more and more fossil fuels.” (David Suzuki)

I am not the biggest fan of Suzuki but I watched this documentary last night and got to wondering about the effects of climate change and where this all came from – and what is a Christian stand on this?

Well we are well aware this all grew out of Industrialization and the rise of oil as a basic economic underpinning. Although this 200 year history has spawned some of the greatest technological advances and conveniences – it has also caused major problems with our natural world. Suzuki points out problems in the “Canadian Arctic, Montana, Northern Kenya, China and India” - and how the erosion of soil, ecological disasters, and the melting of ice caps all effect various communities in major ways (ex: death, starvation, loss of soil to grow things, and moving of communities to adjust).

I watched in horror more or less at communities losing everything in sub-sahara Africa or Chinese villages having to move every few years due to soil erosion. It seemed like all the answers to the problems are being thought up but no one is taking them serious. Why?

Greed. A system that is 200 years old and building more infrastructure aorund the earth is not about to go ‘quietly into that good night’. There is still a lot of money to be made and many markets are yet to be tapped completely (ex: China). I see a struggle between global markets and the strain on the global environment arising and someone has to concede.

But as a Christian person this bothers me. The West is enjoying the benefits of industrialization – other countries are suffering for the amount of stuff we do to the environment to keep our convenient lifestyles. It makes me feel a little guilty for being born into this and then enjoying it. We have inherited a system that both benefits us yet destroys our lifesource – the earth. It almost seems the almighty Dollar is worth more than the Almighy’s objectives for us – to care for this earth. I know that we are called not to 'greed' but to 'care for the poor' - yet in the West I see the opposite happening. Will this switch before it’s too late?

And don't blame me I was given this world I didn't make it” (2 Pac – Keep Your Head Up)


My Garden said...

living overseas brings this home, as you have three meals a day and you become closer and closer to friends that eat one meal a day at times and sleep in order to save that they don't feel the hunger as was intense to come home...experience re-entry shock...and think about friends who are hurting and you are in a land with so much...and wastes so was intense to get used to this place again...truly life changing

BrotherKen said...

I find it hard to say for sure that industrialization is the key factor causing climate change. I suspect it is but there are a lot of scientists saying otherwise. It is hard to deny that climate change is happening, in the last 20 years we have seen a huge increase in violent weather, drought, floods, fires, etc. But some are saying this is just a natural cycle.

Here is one thing I can say with some certainty; If industrialization has driven the climate change in the past 20 years or so, I am afraid to think of what the nest 20 years will be like. No matter how much we conserve, re-use and recycle, the big industrial machine will go until it breaks and then it will start up again. Though I feel this is a certainty, I think all who care for this world and our environment should do what they can to "go green".

By the way, a good documentary to check out is "Who killed the electric car". And did you know that there is a dealer in Canada trying to sell an electric car made in France? It is called the ZENN if you wish to look it up on the internet. This cars costs around $10,000, has ZERO EMISSIONS, is totally electric, plugs into any electrical outlet with just an extension cord, and passes or exceeds Canadian safety standards! The only problem is that our government won't let them sell it here! The National News on TV did a spot on this last week. It is quite obvious that the Oil Magnates and the Auto Industry are controlling things behind the scenes.

Yes, I do ponder about the way this world is progressing for the worse, but then I read some Psalms, pray a bit, and remember that "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Jim Jordan said...

It is quite obvious that the Oil Magnates and the Auto Industry are controlling things behind the scenes.

True, Ken. They couldn't have a better ally in the White House.

Society, one thing to keep our eye on with Global Warming advocates is that many are in it for the money just like the crooked oil execs. The "carbon credits" industry, in which companies make payments to environmental concerns to balance their damage to the environment, have been under increased scrutiny. It seems very little of this money is actually going to clean up the environment. Greed is no respecter of persons.

All people are against pollution. Measuring one's degree of belief in man-made Global Warming is not as helpful as measuring pollution. Shifting the focus away from measurable [and relevant] standards hasn't helped the campaign against pollution. Congress passed the "Clean Air Act" in 2004 which, despite its great name, allowed for a greater amount of pollutants in the atmosphere (27 million tons extra if I remember correctly). Its got to be more than mere words and signing fancy oaths.

One question. I'm not sure how other countries suffer from our consumption. Do you mean that we demand low prices therefore we force them into sloppier production? If so, you may have a point. But the pollution in developing countries is a serious health issue there. Some of these countries have little or no environmental standards. In western Venezuela when the wind isn't blowing, it smells like oil everywhere and there is a dense fog of dust from the drilling. Its been reported that China has now surpassed the US in polluting the atmosphere. We also need to consider how the US and developed countries can help these developing countries mine their resources in an environmentally safe way.

SocietyVs said...

Actually, to be honest approximately 98% of scientists tie the global warming effects to pollution and industrialization.

The big problem is the West is not going to change but demands that others follow it - or get left in the dust. China is only as bad as it is because of sourcing out of factories to China - and it has caused huge problems over there. And in the end we are finding that the ones who follow industrialization are creating the dust - soil erosion (and removal of trees to curb that). The problem is huge in scope - it effects the whole earth and the pressures the West is putting on others to be 'ilke them'.

I see the earth being destroyed before my very eyes and global warming isn't a cycle - it's a fact - we just need to check the polar caps to know this (and the people's up there attest to these changes in the past 30 years - and they are losing their livelihood).

For me the problem is the greed of the West is destroying many cultural ways of life - for the sake of greed it would seem - or another vice - ethnocentricity. I wonder if Big Business would be willing to scale back it efforts in the name of 'saving the earth'. One problem there is they don't think they are destroying the earth so that's going to go nowhere and fast.

In the end, the thing that kills me is convenience - and the fact I enjoy this lifestyle - but many people have to suffer for this convenience. Al Gore might be onto something with the term an 'inconvenient truth' - because this is exactly how it feels to the West.

I am no guru in science or the environment but I don't need to be to see that in the past 7 years - the weather has shifted on the Prairies. Winters are shorter and way less harsh then they used to be. It is not surprising no more not to have snow on the ground until after Christmas (which is unheard of in these parts). Then when snow does come - it's a huge windfall in one month - that's bizarre. Things are changing - slowly - but enough so that even a city dweller like me see's it.

I don't know what the answer is - but I know it involves the end of industrialization on the scale it functions on.

BrotherKen said...

There is no doubt that the climate is changing and industrialization is likely a main contributor. And like I said I think we all have to do whatever we can to reduce our contribution to the problem. There is a lot we can do and many are really taking this up as a goal in life. But the majority will not. Industry and the marketing forces will not just shut down willingly. The problem will grow rapidly until there is either an economical collapse or an ecological disaster on a global scale.

Actually I think that we are going to see an economical collapse quite soon for another reason. The world is chewing through our natural resources at an alarming rate. The world po;ulation is skyrocketing and the available resources are plumeting. Many predict that we only have about 25 years maximum before this causes a huge economical crisis. It will make the "dirty thirties" look like a hayride. There will be no work, and even if you have money it won't do you much good anyway because there won't be any food in the stores.

We may not have to worry about slowing the industrial machine, God may be working things out His own way.