How should we respond to a problem that seems unsolvable? This is the question we ask in a series about the environmental crisis as we explore the fine line between hope and despair. In this episode we explore some of the wounds to the planet that often go unseen and we realize that the path to hope begins with the acknowledgement that the wounds are deep and troubling.
Looking forward to this one. Will try to get to it today. Mostly depends on the work I’m doing. When it’s less communication and danger I down a lot of podcasts. Had to move 1800 rocks yesterday ranging from 80lbs to 200lbs by hand. Realized I don’t like earbud go. The wireless earbuds. They just fall out from constant moving around and it’s a sucker finding a blueberry sized item in rock crevices lol.
Recognizing the woundedness of creation can be deeply saddening and infuriating. Seeing the impacts borne by the world’s most vulnerable is painful and heart wrenching. Looking in the mirror and seeing how my actions here in North America contribute to these two is the quite difficult. It’s hard to not become overwhelmed.
Welcome to the Forum! Thanks for chiming in. Are you a long time podcast listener?
It was a good series. I’m looking forward to the next two in it. I’ve never see reefs in orson. Not up close. I’ve seen small ones. We have some off of the beach I live but I’ve not really been there.
I enjoyed the discussion on invasive vs native plants. There are whole podcasts devoted to that issue.
I just happened to listen to this podcast yesterday where a mother and daughter talked about the suicide of their father who was a ecologist of sort. Part of what drove him to it was a bleak outlook on nature in the future. It was not solely that. He was also struggling with previous mental health and some sense of being a growing failure. It’s obviously a sad podcast episode. From listening to them it’s crazy how many are very deeply affected by ecology and environmentalism. One was of a survivor from another series who got triggered by going back to where he lived as a kid, he was like 80, and seeing the old farmland having become a subdivision and the creek he and his brothers played in turned into a big ditch. Just triggered him and he sunk into depression after having high hopes of traveling across the country to his homeland.
Which I kind of understand. When I moved to a subdivision several years ago it was so bleak it made be bleh. Just houses as turf. No sounds of birds, frogs or cicadas and crickets. Just silence and human noises.
The series makes me want to cry. Yes, of course, we should be concerned about our natural world and be challenged to do better caring for it, as our Creator God tasked us with doing. But, we are also called to a real hope that I’ve yet to hear articulated in the series, and we are called to deal truthfully with the subject. One missing component is that energy resources have literally fueled an amazing growth in prosperity and well-being around the world, and we in the West have benefited the most from it. Now we want to limit that prosperity for those who need it most. The Hoogerwerf needs to add a few readings to the dozens he claims to have studied, e.g. Michael Schellenberger, Steven Koonin, Matt Ridley, Bjorn Lomborg, Steven Pinker, and the growing list of smart people working to inject some reality against the those who’ve abandoned their senses and have converted to the religion of climate justice. As Christians, we should be more trusting of God’s providence and his plan for our future, and walk away from the climate apocalypse version (alternative reality) of our future in this world. There is much to be thankful for and we should be more focused on treating the human wounds in our world and whether we like it or not, fossil fuels will be an essential part of those solutions for decades to come.
I disagree. I think we very much need to be concerned with science and that includes environmentalism and meteorology.
I feel that your argument is similar to saying to someone you don’t need to worry about feeding your kids healthy food and keeping them physically active because they will get a resurrected body one day.
Also there is a wider range of interpretations of revelation and restorative theology than the one you may believe in.
The podcast “ The Bible Project “ has a entire series dedicated to “ heaven meets earth” and “revelation”.
I think you misunderstand my point. I am concerned, and as a scientist I’m deeply interested in what the science says and being a responsible steward of creation, as I live coram Deo. My point is that the topic deserves to be more fully explored in a way that opens the topic to Christians who live in faith before a God who is providential and sovereign, and has given us brains to view all perspectives on a topic. I don’t think it is appropriate to adopt the climate ‘apocolypse’ perspective (religion) without looking at the whole scope of the problem and its possible solutions (and their potential consequences), in way that provides a more complete perspective on the problem. I’m asking for a more balanced analytical perspective grounded a Christian framework to replan the emotional, and dogmatic perspective of the series.
Is it appropriate to adopt a climate change denial perspective when the evidence overwhelmingly weighs against the denialists?
No, it is not appropriate to adopt a climate denial perspective. As you say there is overwhelming evidence that the climate is changing (warming on average), and that human activity likely contributes to the warming, and that contribution is likely due to emissions related to fossil fuel use. Apocolyptic scenarios are entirely a different thing. The IPPC reports continue to revise their models (downward) and most scientists do not believe worst case models have a high probability (not zero) of coming true. That said, the activist community loves the worst case scenarios and uses them to bludgeon the rest of us into submission, or at least to be labeled as a ‘denier’ for not buying in. Unfortunately, Biologos seems to want to participate into the religion of climate activism rather than considering a more holistic view of how we as Christians should approach the problem (yes, I agree, it is a problem). Call people names who don’t agree is not helpful.
I’m not aware that there is a “Biologos” view on this. Other than that we want to attend to what consensus science thinks is probable, and to also attend to scriptural imperatives toward stewardship and attention to the poor. That’s all a lot right there without needing to pursue anything like apocalyptic extremism, which I’m not sure I’ve observed much around here from any official or semi-official Biologos voices, though our public forum will run the gamut of all up and down that spectrum.
On the topic of rising sea levels and loss of biodiversity, where would you land? The scientific evidence has been mounting, and it is looking worse, not better. Articles in Nature have featured the impact on the Amazon or Gulfstream, for example -impacts that look to shift towards tipping points. Tipping points do not equate to apocalyptic prescriptions; they do warn of major shifts and changes in the ecosystems we have come to rely on. These warnings have been coming from ecologists, including Christian ecologists, since the 1970’s (at least). Part of what I hear in this series is a groaning for the loss of life (biological) and anticipated loss of life (or at least livelihood) from rising sea levels. (Again, rising sea levels are not apocalyptic pronouncements or predictions; the science is solid.)
Thanks! I’ve been listening to the podcasts for some time, though I haven’t posted on the forum before.
That’s the third part coming next week
This past Monday our guest speaker at the horticultural society was the daughter of our recording secretary and her topic was biomimicry. My initial take when it was proposed was not favorable. But I found it very interesting and more upbeat environmentally than most who take it up are able to achieve. I was very touched when she described how defeated and overwhelmed she had felt as she was going through college. But when she heard about this she described how energized and hopeful it had made her feel. She ended up majoring in related fields, teaching virtual courses on it during through pandemic and starting a podcast. I was very touched by that as I have enormous guilt over how bad things have gone for the natural world during my lifetime. I don’t feel personally responsible but I do feel enormous shared guilt over this. If biomimicry gives her hope I’m a fan. I refrained from expressing my doubts that it can ever reach into boardrooms and make corporations behave more responsibly. But as a blueprint of how to proceed once the will is there I think it is indeed hopeful.
Hillary - I’m looking forward to hearing that episode!
I don’t think I’ve ever changed a person’s mind who was not already changing a little bit. Except my fiancée. She use to be terrified of spiders. Now she won’t touch them, but she will use a cup to move them. She use to be a shoe grabber when she saw them and scream while attacking if she was the one in danger of dying. I guess it’s hard for me to get to moved over the loss of nature. I mean I get upset, and I’ve cussed at a few people and stuff when they were hunting out of season or killing a snake for no reason in a nature preserve. But I’ll never like get clinically depressed over it. I guess it’s because I know it’s still going to be here when I die. I expect the worse for like 200 years from now. But I can’t really get sucked into that because it’s just to fictional I guess for me. I also get hope from knowing more and more people are getting into native plants, accepting science and so on. My holdback is that they think humanity will triple in the next century. So if even 1/3 did not care then that’s equally to everyone not caring right now and that would be intense. I imagine poverty will keep growing. I see in my future skyscraper neighborhoods falling apart where everyone is still check to check each week. Seems like Gotham city when everyone is under the joker ot something. It seems bleak and I imagine the will mess up a lot of stuff and I would hate to be alive but it’s also so far fetched ( maybe ) that can’t really get lost in it outside of random pondering. Maybe though by the time I’m 80 in half a century it will be really bad though. Like you drive two hours to get to a tree grove and that’s if the pollution is not so bad I choke on it she outside of my filtered house lol.
Mark - that is tragic, and unnecessary. As is your “guilt over how bad things have gone…” The facts are that nearly everything is so much better than it was 50yrs ago it is almost impossible to imagine it. You really do need to read Matt Ridley’s book The Rational Optimist or other books like Ronald Bailey’s The End of Doom or Michael Schellenberger’s Apocalypse Never. Also check out the Factfulness website. On almost every metric that matters to human and planet earth’s well being we are much, much better off than we were 50, 100 or 500 yrs ago - pick your time period. We as humans love to focus on the negative to the detriment of the positive and that is especially true of our social media obsessed world. Saying all that, I do agree that we need to continue to work to defeat injustices and unnecessary assaults on the natural world.
Onward and Upward!
Interesting. I had not heard of biomimicry before, at least not as (what might be called) a movement. This article gives a clear explanation with a good variety of examples of the concept in use and its benefits. I also ran across the Biomimicry Institute that seems to be the advocate for the R&D and application of various technologies inspired by nature in the search for solutions to contemporary problems of all kinds. This type of organization seems to be interested in doing exactly what you are concerned about, Mark, making it’s way into the powerful spaces.
And I wish them all the luck in the world with that. May their cleverness with public relations spread like weeds.