Kevin’s Conversations: Changing the Climate Discussing Climate Change
This has predictably created much consternation around the world, and we especially hear the outrage here in the United States, many of the concerned voices coming from our own leaders and citizens.
Having strong feelings about climate change is understandable, especially for those who believe that human activity is causing serious harm to the earth and that we are risking the well being of future generations. It can only be expected that the news of last week would cause quite a stir.
And here we go again. On par with our current political plight, we hurl all kinds of insults at those who think differently than us on the issue and dig into the trenches to defeat the enemy, the wretched “other side”. And so, in many cases we direct our passion down destructive paths rather than constructive ones. We don’t seek to understand or work with or find any common ground with those whom we differ. Rather, we aim to humiliate them by demonstrating just how stupid and ignorant and immoral they are. All the more concerning when we see Christians participating in this type of behavior and they act no different than the rest of the world. Sometimes even worse.
As is usually the case, there is guilt of such conduct with those on both sides of the issue. Some who are upset by Trump’s actions have lashed out against anyone who supports his decision. The charges come strong that all supporters of this decision only care about themselves and money and their debased religion. That they are stupid and ignorant and thoroughly immoral science-deniers. That they dare not ever say another word about abortion because they have abundantly demonstrated that they, in fact, don’t care about life or the future of their children.
Meanwhile, some of those who support Trump’s decision lash back at the climate change proponents with charges of idolizing the earth and being so stupid and ignorant for being taken in by this big political hoax. That this Paris Climate Accord isn’t going to fix anything and people are dumb for thinking so. And that they are only concerned with pushing forward their political agenda of anti-Christianity and greater government control and purposefully economic killing measures.
Are there some on both sides of the issue who are guilty of the charges thrown at them? Probably so. But for many others, it’s not so cut and dry and brushing with that broad stroke causes more harm than good.
There are likely those who are against just about any kind of environmental regulation with an intentional head in the sand attitude and really don’t care much at all about how the future or even present environment is potentially being affected by human activity. Some who will not take the time to examine any evidence that shows that humans could indeed be damaging the earth and just write if all off as a hoax. Some who think that God will just take care of it and so that they don’t need to be concerned or that the Rapture is coming soon so why trouble ourselves with such superfluous things.
Yet there are others who are skeptical of climate change because they have seen evidence and testimony from more than a few other scientists who believe that human activity is having little to no effect on climate change, or that it is at least far from a proven fact as being so. Scientists with real credentials, some who are even environmental scientists. Also, those who are skeptical because they have seen evidence of data purporting climate change to have been manipulated for apparent political or job-preserving agendas. And they weigh the evidence for potential harm of human based climate change versus the potential economic harm caused by environmental regulation, economic harm which would hit low-income people the greatest because they are the ones who can least afford to take a hit, and they decide the greater good is to curtail environmental regulation where the whole of evidence in their informed opinion is that the overall probability of economic harm is greater than the overall probability of environmental harm. Many of whom are motivated by their Christian values to care for the earth in a responsible fashion and to care for other people, most especially the “least of these”.
And, yes, there are probably those who take on the mantle of fighting climate change and all those who “deny” it for purely, if not at least largely, political reasons. Some who do it with a heavy agenda to belittle those backward evangelical Christians or to advance their political ends in some manner. Some who will routinely use the claim of “settled science” and accuse many of being “science-deniers”, yet they, themselves, actually have done very little research or have very little understanding of the overall science.
Yet there are many others who have sincerely spent some time trying to understand the issue and the science of climate change and have come to the honest conclusion that climate change is a real risk and that we need to do something about the human activity that is believed to be a significant cause of it. They are not primarily motivated by politics or some kind of anti-Christian or anti-conservative agenda, but rather by a concern for the earth and the people who are or will be negatively affected by realized and/or anticipated climate change. Many of whom are motivated by their Christian values to care for the earth in a responsible fashion and to care for other people, most especially the “least of these”.
Nonetheless, we feel like we’re entrenched in another battle of us versus them. The good guys versus the bad guys. The learned and valiant versus the stupid and depraved. And we are none the wiser or better off when we engage in such comportment. In fact, we’re probably worse off in many ways.
Of course, each and every one of us thinks we are right in our stance. We wouldn’t be arguing for such if we didn’t think so. And we very well may have some credible reasons for being confident in our opinions. But just maybe there is some credibility and thoughtfulness to the other side, too. Just maybe we might make more of an impact in getting the other side to see our point of view if we’re first willing to acknowledge where they have reasonable points and mindful concerns. And just maybe if we had the perspective to try to work with the other side as much practically possible rather than to defeat them as much as utterly possible, we may just have a greater overall beneficial impact for all involved.
God help us to do so.