Green is the new bleak

A recent comment on a recent post asked me the following questions:

1. I am of the mind to think that when God gave us this planet to look after, it was sort of a house-sitting arrangement. He isn’t going to be too happy to come back and find we’ve trashed the joint, is He.

2. Global pollution and/or global warming are going to have the strongest effect not on the ‘Western’ world but the poorest nations and peoples. I think we have not only an ethical but a moral duty to ensure that this planet can support everyone on it.

I will take great delight in answering those questions in a forthright and thoughtful manner – and as a post for all to see, rather than as a comment.

I must start by nailing my colours to the mast – I’m a climate change agnostic. I think the climate is changing, I think people probably play some part in the change, I think the climate has always changed, and I don’t care. I really don’t. There are other much more important issues that I’m concerned about. Like locating peurile things on the internet to post here

I’m sick of climate evangelists banging on my door (metaphorically) and cornering me at every turn (also metaphorically) demanding I repent of my environmental evil and embrace their new creeds. The worst kind of green evangelist is the prosperity preacher – the ones spruiking environmentalism as an opportunity to grow your business through “triple bottom line  sustainability” – seriously that’s such a corporate sell out. Lets pretend to be worried about the environment and our workers while at the same time exploiting our customers for the benefit of our shareholders. 

Honestly though – I think there are much more pressing, serious issues for us to be tackling. Like keeping people employed, and tackling poverty. How are people in the third world going to afford air conditioning if they don’t have jobs?

Let me deal first with the first question. I like answering problems chronologically. I have two theological propositions to offer when it comes to climate change – and answering statement/question 1 above. I’ll give you the hypothesis, the hopefully contextual “proof text”* and the application:

a) We should reasonably and theologically expect nature to have it in for us. 

Biblical justification 1 – Romans 8:20-22

“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”

We should expect creation and vis a vis nature to be frustrated, to be broken, to be falling apart. This is pretty much why I’m not overly concerned that the ice caps are melting. 

Biblical Justification 2 Genesis 3  – starting from halfway through verse 17:

“Cursed is the ground because of you;   in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;  and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground,  for out of it you were taken;  for you are dust,  and  to dust you shall return.”

The “curse on mankind” establish our typically dour relationship with the environment. 

Not only are our lives insignificant in terms of the lifespan of creation – we can, and should, expect life to be hard work. We should be expecting the climate to change in a frustrating way. That’s what I reckon anyway. So I’m ambivalent about carbon trading, carbon offsets, carbon sequestration, and taxing businesses on the basis of their carbon emissions. 

Trying to tackle climate change is like urinating into a pedestal fan – pretty pointless. That is a crude analogy. But sums up my thoughts on anyone who’d rather pursue “pie in the sky” carbon taxes that will cost people jobs. It seems the Federal Government is going to backpedal away from that policy faster than an off balance unicyclist, which in my mind can only be a good thing. It was a travesty that the last election was thought on climate change policy. My good friend Ben argued at the time that the parties may as well have been making our response to alien invasion the big policy issue. 

Really, from Australia’s perspective, we’re a microbe in a sea of whales when it comes to pollution. Any stance we take will only be on principle – and it will be a phyrric victory that comes at the cost of Australian jobs and we’ll all end up drowning when sea levels rise anyway. Thanks to our propensity for coastal living. Now, onto proposition number two.

b) Part of our role in having dominion over creation is to bring order to disorder. 

Biblical reference: Genesis 3:23

“Therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.”

Biblical reference 2: Genesis 2:15

“The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”

Biblical reference 3: Genesis 1:28

“And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 

Some people believe that work is a result of sin – that we’re suffering this curse due to the punishment dished out in Genesis 3 – but work has been around from the beginning.

We are called on to “subdue” the earth and to excercise dominion over the animal kingdom. I would argue theologically that the idea of subdugation here is referring to bringing order to disorder – to ploughing fields in order to grow crops, to production, to using natural resources in order to cater for the prescribed “multiplication” in numbers. I would argue that the proverbial “paving paradise to put up a parking lot” fits into the category of “bringing order”. Particularly if the development is designed with obsessive compulsive people in mind. 

Really though, I think our role as “caretaker” is to make sure humanity survives and prospers – to me this means beating the environment not embracing it. It means digging stuff out of the ground and using it to build houses. It means erasing middle class guilt for carbon emissions and keeping people in jobs – especially jobs pulling stuff out of the ground and making things out of it. Especially making airconditioners. That is the most appropriate response to global warming – make airconditioners for third world countries. 

Which leads me to question 2 – which was not a theological issue – but a moral one. I’ve decided to answer it tomorrow. This post is already over 1000 words long – I doubt you’ve read this far. Unless you’re Ben, a climate change evangelist or a climate change denier. I’ll talk about those last people too – and I’ll say something nice about the idea of “sustainability”. Oh, and I’ll do another post on why I don’t think fighting climate change is the primary concern of the Christian… this could end up being a fun series to write. 

Stay classy readers. 

*Because we know that: “A text without a context is a pretext for a proof text.”


Amy says:

I read it all (probably I should seeing as I started it).

Of course, I totally disagree with you but as I am at work and actually do work at work I will argue with you later.

Leah says:

I agree with this but don’t think our aim should be to beat the environment rather than embrace it. There are two aspects to environmental care:
1) Climate change et al
2) The environmental problems people were concerned about 15 years ago- pollution, deforestation, smoggy air, dirty water, plastic bags in the ocean, etc etc,

Problem #1 exists but no matter what we as humans do (especially we as Australians), we’re not going to change it. Not significantly. Like you said, the bible predicts it and it’s always happened and is going to continue to happen.

Problem #2 is different. Those issues are caused directly by humans and are *only* detrimental to both the environment and ourselves. Plastic bags were never meant to be eaten by turtles. Pesticides were never meant to flow onto our reef. Humans and animals were never meant to inhale smog. Etc, etc. That’s humans encouraging the destruction of God’s creation which is *not* what we were meant to be doing :P

Nathan says:

Yeah – I’m not really looking at problem 2 yet – though I will, when I write about sustainable living. I think living sustainably is a good thing. And is part of the pursuit of “order”.

There was a little bit of polemic in my post – and polemic is intrinsically exaggerated.

But I do think the bible is pro development – which sometimes means deforesting or destroying nature.

queenstuss says:

I am very much in favour of sustainability, and have some rather green tendencies. I disagree with much of what you have said today, actually.
Jury’s still out for me in regards to climate change.

Nathan says:

Care to elaborate on your disagreements? I’m not against sustainability. Just against the introduction of a tax on a possibly imaginary enemy made on the basis of “principle” that won’t actually achieve anything. I’m also against the green movement and their religious fervour, and the fact that if you choose to disagree you’re basically lumped with holocaust deniers and will probably one day be burned at the stake as a heretic – provided they can carry off the burning without emitting any carbon.

Amy says:

Okay, this will be long and meandering and not make much sense because I writing it in a hurry in my lunchtime, but here goes:

I don’t really want to get into the climate change debate here. I personally think that humanity has changed the climate over the last couple of hundred years through industrialisation, and I don’t think this is a good thing. I also do think that the planet’s climate has changed before and humans have survived it. BUT what I was/am talking about is not whether we have caused climate change, but more about the way in which we (ie the Western world) are living now is not sustainable, and that the effects of this will not only be a problem for us but also (and already is) for the developing world.

I also would argue against the idea that the GFC and jobs are more of an issue than sustainability/environmentalism (also, when I say environmentalism, I am not meaning ‘give up your refrigerator, don’t cut down any trees, don’t wash clichés or those companies that think if they put the word eco on their product and jump on the bandwagon it makes them okay but the acknowledgement that we should be living our lives in a way that is aware of our effects on the world environment as a whole – environment in its true meaning of the circumstances in which a being lives). I think we have actually reached a point where the world is in trouble with regards to the environment – the point where fisheries collapse, water is poisoned, and people starve while the Western world concerns itself more and more about making incredible amounts of money and living more and more elaborate lives. Poverty is inextricably linked with sustainability – our overuse of resources in the Western world is exacerbating poverty and this will lead to more problems in both the Western and Developing worlds given time.

Theologically yes we should expect life to be hard. But the point is we are not making it so hard for ourselves, but the most vulnerable in the world. The poorest people are those who can least afford to suffer (I also want to point out that these areas are already facing severe food shortages and reduced productivity from the current rise in extreme weather events). Jesus gave us a responsibility to care for ‘the least of us’ as well, so isn’t it a bit spiritually lazy to just say God told us that the world would be against us so we don’t have to bother looking into this issue? (also when God created this world He looked upon it and said that it was good – you can cut passages out the Bible and prove anything you want to say without the context of the whole). What is the spirit of what Jesus was trying to get us to do in this world?

You can be for sustainability and the environment without necessarily thinking that the Govt’s methods of tackling it (and also, jumping on the bandwagon) are the best, but I do think the individual can make a large difference to tackling these issues. The idea that it is pointless trying to change things is just lazy – every single person can make a difference, even small, to the whole. That is like saying, no-one else is living for Jesus so there is no point me doing so because it won’t change anyone else’s lives – but if you do and lead by example, someone else will, and then someone else and so on. Real change can happen.

There is a difference between having dominion over creation than sucking the life out of it, as it were. A farmer would be stupid to work the land in such a way that it was useless for the next harvest – how is the world any different? (You could also argue that we have filled the earth already – there aren’t many places where there aren’t people). People using up all the resources and letting half the world starve so they can live in a nice air-conditioned house and leave a polluted, diseased world for their children I don’t see as being in any way a Christian way to live.

We are called to live a life of sacrifice – and this might mean you give up your nice big car so that someone else gets a meal, or give up your cheap imported clothes because they are destroying the soil with chemicals etc.

Maybe it is all too easy to give up 10% of your income when you still get enough food and shelter and toys – maybe God calls us to look at our entire lives and how your choices can be good or bad. I may be coming across very strongly on this, but I feel that God has called me on this issue and that means I have to put it out there. has more on this and probably explains it far better than I do.

Nathan says:

I agree with most of that. But I don’t think the green lobby does. I don’t think I took verses out of context. The “it was good” came before the fall. So at that point creation wasn’t broken or frustrated. Believing in God’s total sovereignty, as I do, means that I think God ultimately controls the weather. And thus that any change in the climate is ultimately his responsibility.

You’ve touched on a point I intend making later – re the caring for the needy – I think gospel ministry to third world countries is a priority, and I agree that helping them cope with a changing climate is important. Much more important than taxing our companies for carbon they emit. If that tax was being used to aid developing countries in their development I would be all for it.

Amy says:

I will also add that the ETS as it is currently is pretty stupid. It basically puts the onus on households to pick up the slack while businesses can pay to get out of it, in the same way with the water shortages in Qld they put the pressure on households to reduce their water intake to prop up the whole system.

A far better strategy is to invest in green technologies that will create jobs – solar plants, geo-thermal power, biodegradable plastics, hydrogen fuels, vertical farming etc. The ideas are all there, just dying from lack of funding.

Amy says:

The green lobby is made up of many varying views and ideas, just the same as the variety of protestant churches, so I don’t think you can make generalisations on what the ‘green lobby’ thinks.

My point was that you can use Bible verses to argue whatever you like if you pick the right section. I wasn’t necessarily saying that you took them out of context. What I meant is that you do need to look at the ‘story’ the Bible tells about plans for us, the spirit of the whole as it were. And the way you interpreted the verses I don’t feel fits with the grand plan of the whole. That is my opinion. Yours is different, that is fine.

But was the fall the whole planet or humanity? You could argue that it was specifically referring to humans. There are also theological standpoints that say Jesus superceded/overruled the fall as the fulfillment of the law. But I don’t have the training to argue that at this point.

Does God actively control the weather or leave us to deal with the mess we have made? There are whole arguments there about sitting back and letting God take responsibility for everything instead of taking responsibility for our God-given ability to choose and the consequences of those choices.

I do think businesses should be looking at changing the way they operate to become more sustainable, and I guess the Government figures the best way to cause this is to hit them where it hurts. But the cynical among us could say that yes, the money raised should be used for sustainable investment etc and not as plain old revenue raising.

Nathan says:

I think I would distance the sustainable practice lobby from the green lobby – sustainable practices are good for business (and for life).
The green lobby is good for the environment – they’re championing entirely different kettles of fish.
The “green” cause is keeping things “pristine” and “untouched” ala the controversy surrounding backburning and Miranda Devine’s ill conceived shot at the green movement. They’ve latched onto climate change as the ultimate Keyser Soze. If they keep talking about it long enough, and hard enough, we’ll all be too scared to do anything but bow to their pressures. Introducing stupid taxes. Preventing building of new houses because a finch might have to pack its bags and move elsewhere.
The greens have hijacked the language of sustainability – which is a terrible buzzword that everybody wants a piece of. Even us. And we’re the economic development body for North Queensland, trying to bring new metal refineries into the region. I don’t equate sustainability with the environment. And if I want to drink a beverage that takes 120 times the amount of water to produce than the amount I’ll drink – I’ll drink it. There’s no net loss of matter anyway, so that water will turn up elsewhere. And if my coffee machine consumes onerous amounts of energy and emits tonnes of toxic carbon – I’ll pay for it to do so. I’m not going to stop so that a hippy somewhere can unchain themselves from the gates of a coal mine.

Part of the theological argument I was making – particularly the Romans 8 bit – was that it’s not only people struggling because of the fall, the planet does to. And will continue to do so, despite our best efforts. I’d much rather put my time and energy into meeting people’s spiritual needs than their temporal.

“Does God actively control the weather or leave us to deal with the mess we have made?”

Both. Why pray for rain if he doesn’t have some say in the matter? I don’t think God has just left us to deal with our mess. But I think dealing with our mess is one of the issues we face as a result of the fall.

I agree that we’ve probably played some part in changing the climate – you’d be an idiot to think that changing the finely balanced conditions in the world would have no effect. And I agree we have to face the consequences and adapt. I just don’t think adaptation necessarily looks like the Greens suggest it does.

queenstuss says:

I’m short on time for elaboration today, but

a) I agree with much of what Amy said

b) I think ‘caring for the environment’ fits into the ‘love your neighbour’ category. For example, monoculture crops deplete the soil of nutrients, thus rendering them useless for future generations. They also require a lot of pesticides and fertilisers, that get washed into waterways and then into the ocean, and then damaging that ecology and destroying fishstocks, and therefore someone else’s food and livelihood. Monoculture crops also tend to mean trucking food long distances, thus using up various resources for transport. If I grow my own vegies in my backyard, or buy locally or organically produced vegies, I discourage unsustainable farming practices.

c) Take the case of the Fly River in PNG. It has been used for the last 30 years to sustain the copper/gold mining industry at Ok Tedi. That means that big ships go up and down the river a few times a week, which isn’t great for the people living along the river, but worse, the Ok Tedi mine has had some horrid practises in the past including dumping their tailings into the Ok Tedi River (which flows into the Fly) and polluting both rivers to an irrepairable state. The Ok Tedi Mining Company has been throwing money at villages all over the Western Province of PNG to placate them because it has been such a disaster.

Have to go build a train set, will respond more later.

Amy says:

I guess this is more a matter of those voices that yell the loudest are those that will end up being the ones seen as the ‘voice’ of a matter. And usually, it is those right on the fringes (both far left and far right) who will be heard at the expense of those in the middle.

It also may be a case of asking for the earth so you get your compromise – scare the crap out of people so they at least do something.

I think a whole lot of this is to do with semantics and word meanings. I see environmental and sustainable as being the same thing. I guess it is a matter of balance – if you drink coffee that doesn’t use water efficiently, maybe you buy your coffee from a place that has the best environmental practices, or that pays a fair wage. If you buy a big plasma television, maybe you install solar panels on your roof. If you drive to work then maybe you buy local produce so that it isn’t transported thousands of miles.

I just don’t think you can say that God will stop climate change if He wants to, and then do nothing about changing your lifestyle. I think the Western world has to look at how we have been doing things and realise that it isn’t working. This idea that the boom times will last forever is a fallacy (as we are already seeing).

Nathan says:

I’ll explain what I see as the differences between “green” and “sustainable” in a new post soon.

I’ll also address your original second question in another post.

Living sustainably makes economic sense. Living “green” makes very little sense. To me anyway.

queenstuss says:

I’m still lost on the difference between ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’.

The only difference I see is that green is a marketing term. As long as something is green or environmentally friendly then you can sell it.

I differ on your implications in the meaning of subduing the earth. I agree that we are supposed to dig things out of the ground to build houses. And that it is fine to clear trees for building houses or growing crops. But not to reckless abandon. It does matter if we build a society based around oil if the oil supplies are limited. It does matter if we clear hectares of trees and thus displace people in developing nations. It does matter if we pour tonnes of phosphates down our drains because that has an effect on the ecology of the water ways. It matters because there are more people subduing the earth that just you, or just Australia.

I think climate change is a separate issue from sustainability. The issue of climate change is driven mostly by politics and the media. If climate change actually mattered, the various governments would be putting money and effort into sustainable developments: renewable energies rather than coal power, public transport rather than expressways etc. The jury is still out for me as to how much climate change matters in reality. I think it is a reality, and the problem is exacerbated by man, but I think the solution lies in working with climate change not trying to stop it.

One last thing, we know that we are going to die, but we still eat well, exercise, visit the doctor etc to live the best we can. We know the earth is also cursed, shouldn’t we also look after it the best we can?

Leah says:

I think much of what Amy was talking about was *not* what Nathan was talking about. The things Amy discussed would fit into my Problem #2 (given in my first post) whereas Nathan’s article was about my Problem #1.

The greens (and yes this is a generalisation, but it’s still true of the direction our government and media wants us to take) support more than common sense sustainability. They think we have influence over the weather. The science behind those assumptions is dubious at best. There are many scientists who have backed out of the UN IPCC because they’ve realised what a scam it is. Scientists who say “now that I’m not being funded, I can say how wrong the idea of human-induced global warming is”.

Living so that we don’t suck the resources of poorer countries: good.
Living so that we preserve natural environments for future generations: good
Living so that we make less emissions so that the earth stops warming up so that the icecaps don’t melt: not good. Because we *can’t*. Nothing we do will stop the earth warming up.

Also an interesting point on solar energy: the amount of energy a solar panel produces in its lifetime equates to the amount of energy required to manufacture that solar panel in the first place. (NB: I’m not knocking solar energy, I think it’s very useful. But it’s not the most effective environment-saving energy source. I’m a fan of wind and hydro power, myself.)

queenstuss says:

Solar energy may well be energy-intensive in its production, but I see that as simply meaning more development needs to be put into it.

Different energy sources work better in different geographical situations.

Whether you think climate change is human induced or not, it still matters because of the effect it may/will have on humans.

Nathan says:

Solar energy can be sustainable if it’s replacing a less efficient model of generation – for example if you’re a tourism operation off the grid and chewing through 30,000 litres of diesel a year the system is efficient – the energy intensive thing is a bit of a non issue in this sort of case. The system pays for itself in less than 2 years. And produces more than enough energy – there is a particular case this refers to. So it’s not an airy fairy hypothetical.

Amy says:

Agreed with queenstuss’s comments on subduing the earth, but not so much with the idea that if climate change was an issue, that governments would be doing something about it – I work for the government and they are always the last to know! Like trying to get an elephant to jump, change in the government.

Re Leah’s comments – for me, point 1 and 2 are inextricably linked to each other, 1 causes 2 and so on. Also, there is absolutely no point in me arguing scripture with Nathan :)

Don’t agree with the statement that the science behind climate change is dubious at all. I think there is an expectation that science can absolutely prove something without question, which just isn’t the case. Call it the CSI effect if you will. There seems also to be a perception that this science is all new (thanks Al Gore) when scientists have been warning on it for decades. Even those who are not sold on climate change (whom often seem to be in unrelated fields I notice) I think would support the idea that we are polluting the planet and this is a problem.

And again, I certainly think we can at least mitigate some of the effects of global warming by our actions. We have to really. They have already had to evaculate one Pacific Ocean island because of the rising water level.

Re solar, the energy input and pollution in manufacture varies greatly depending on brand and price – basically, just don’t buy the Chinese-manufactured ones. And they are getting better every day. And solar power is really the only logical urban source of power – wind turbines don’t really work in suburbia.

Sorry, I know I am ranting on this. I apologise if I am rude. I get a bit het up about these things.

Mark says:

If I may wade into the rising water… or not.

Like Nathan, my position is ambivalence to the world-wide environmental crisis.

There is lots of evidence for changing climate all over the world. The thing is, it’s been going on for thousands of years, all over the world. Claiming that it’s new, a crisis, and all our fault might be being a bit arrogant. (Unless you’re imputing the fall, and then it’s true – but I doubt many take that line as the solution is already available but equally unpalatable to those who want humanity supreme or want to be one with the whales).

I do think there are climate changes that have serious consequences – for each locality affected. Some may even have been caused by over-population, industrialisation, or lack of human fore-thought.

Should we be concerned? Yes, we have a responsibility to care for humanity affected by these changes, and those affected by poverty, and AIDS, and Cholera, and particularly those who have not heard the gospel.

Is the crisis it’s made out to be? I don’t think so. Climate change is normal, it’s been going on for centuries, it’s just it’s now a popular issue that causes anxiety that sells news and gives people something else to get passionate about. It’s something that we can see/touch. Tragically for some, environmental disasters have even killed friends and family. But that doesn’t prove that there is a world-wide or even Australian environmental crisis, nor does it mean we can do anything about it.

Can we make a difference? – prevent/mitigate future changes, clean up old messes? Perhaps, sometimes. Our world is mind-bogglingly complex and is constantly changing. We can intervene, but the chances are we do more damage than good. eg Aswan Dam destroyed the fertile Nile delta – provided some water, but created famine. The UN banning DDT killed 55 million people – from Malaria – it removed the best way to control Mosquitos (and had been proven safe for humans). Controlled burning off can help prevent/control bushfires, but it can also destroy habitats and species. Every intervention will have a consequence but to paraphrase Nathan above, people trump nature.

Should we look at cleaner/better ways to do things? Why not? That’s still within the bounds of “subdue the earth/work in the garden”. Likewise we should use our wealth to help those countries and peoples that are battling for survival, which is caring for the poor. Can we enjoy the great things God has given us? Absolutely,

I thoroughly recommend Michael Crichton’s book, State of Fear, which has influenced my lack of appreciation for the Climage Change lobby. If you’re not familiar with Crichton, he’s probably the best true science fiction author of the last decade. I say _true_ science fiction, as real world science plays a significant role in his stories. The novels are well researched, and he likes to pose “what if” questions that expose some of the ethics behind the scenes. I don’t always agree with him, particularly as we start from a different world view, but appreciate his attention to detail in presenting an argument. This book, unlike his other novels, includes a full bibliography and footnotes to the scientific journals for different sides of the climate change debate. Admittedly this does make it a less satisfying novel, but nonetheless fascinating for the arguments presented.

Leah says:

Amy, of course scientists who disagree with global warming would agree with pollution. I thought I made it quite clear that that (which was my Problem #2) is definitely our problem.

Also, if the scientists who disagree with human-created global warming are so uninformed and from unrelated fields, how did they get onto the UN’s IPCC in the first place? Dr. Miklós Zágoni used to be Hungary’s most outspoken Kyoto Protocol supporter and is now a skeptic. Hajo Smit of Holland is a meteorologist who used to be on the Dutch IPCC committee and has now reversed his opinion. There are climatologists, meteorologists, atmospheric physicists, Antarctic ice-core researchers, solar physicists and environmental chemists who disagree with the idea humans have caused global warming. I’m simply making the point that man-made global warming is not a given like the media likes to imply. There are hundreds of scientists- from related fields- who do not agree with it.

nathan: (re: solar power comment) – Like I said, I’m not knocking solar power’s usefulness. It has its benefits. I was only looking at the energy useage point. In the broad scheme of things it hasn’t saved any energy (I think), but it’s still useful because it can be a more useful way of producing energy in certain situations, maybe even cheaper depending on the relevant subsidies.

Amy says:


Sorry if it came across that way but I didn’t mean that climate change sceptic scientists would by default not think pollution was a problem – not what I was intending at all. What I was trying to get at was that even you think that climate change isn’t caused by people or isn’t happening at all that there probably is no doubt that the pollution we are causing is a problem.

Also, to clarify – I didn’t say all scientists who disagree were from unrelated fields, just most of the ones I have been exposed to. But I don’t necessarily read/watch the same things as everyone else.

Sorry if I have upset you.

Alison says:

So I left a comment before and it reckoned I am not a member of my own blog or something, so I am leaving that out and having another go.

Anyway, like I said already, I studied Natural Resources Management back in the days before it was hip, and it used to frustrate me no end that people (ie Christians) would always say “aren’t there more important things to worry about than the environment”, which used to always make me want to say “aren’t there more important things to worry about than marketing mobile phones” or whatever it was they did. Christians always jump straight to comparing the environment to the gospel in a way that they don’t with other ideas. Why is that? Isn’t it also more important to share the gospel than fix pot holes, fiddle about with coffee ;), design clothing etc…

Also, our bodies are also subject to decay. If we help someone live a little longer, they will still die one day. I think the bible also makes it clear that the poor will always be with us, and that “make poverty history” will not ultimately be successful. That doesn’t mean we don’t put earnest effort into such things.

Nathan says:

My problem is not with being nice to the environment – it’s with the evangelistic fervour with which green people pursue their opposition – and with the moral persecution they throw at anyone who dares to hold a dissenting position.

I’m ok with reducing pollution – and I probably didn’t stress that enough – just not ok with reducing pollution as the be all and end all of ethical human behaviour.

“If we help someone live a little longer, they will still die one day.”

Are you using that statement to suggest that caring for the planet and future life is more important than caring for actualised life – that is people who are here not speculative people?

In economics there’s a mantra that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar in the future.

I don’t know too much about the future – I prefer to leave it in God’s hands (this doesn’t mean not acting to shape it, just that ultimately the result is out of my hands). I think God will sustain life until it’s time to not to sustain life anymore. And that may be tomorrow. Who knows? As that is the case I think my priorities are as follows:

1. Preach the gospel
2. Care for people’s material needs
3. Care for “the future” generations of people, and their material needs
4. Care for the environment
5. Care for animals.

The environment and animals make the list – they’re just not on top. I like the 80/20 theory – that 20% of my activities should take 80% of my time and resources, so that doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for the other four activities on the list – and where it does, I’ll spend it proportionally based on the order of my priorities.

Amy says:

I know I said I would stop arguing now but I couldn’t resist:

My problem is not with being nice to the environment – it’s with the evangelistic fervour with which green people pursue their opposition – and with the moral persecution they throw at anyone who dares to hold a dissenting position.

Strikes me as slightly funny but couldn’t they say the same thing about Christians?

Nathan says:

That irony was intentional – I just don’t see how for a Christian caring for the environment can be equated with the gospel.

I also think it has become a pseudo gospel for our pantheistic friends.

Amy says:

Tim said you just put that in there to bait me. So guess he was right :P

Nathan says:

Tell Tim he should get off his bum and defend you in the comments.

I’d like him to comment more – but obviously being a scientist and having an iPhone is keeping him busy.

Amy says:

I have already told him that – especially as I had already managed to convince him I was right :)

He’s not busy – the dead people aren’t going anywhere. I think he’s too lazy to type on the iphone keyboard to comment.

But I shall express your displeasure… :)

Tim says:

Hey some of us do a lot of work!
Not me specifically but the potential is there.
I didn’t feel the need to defend anyone, you’re all doing just fine without me.
I agree with your general ideals and list of priorities Nathan. I just don’t like people in general much at the moment. People individually are fine but as a group I prefer animals. :)
Also it’s hard to justify helping people specifically when to a large extent the problems we face are our own fault. Animals/environment aren’t responsible for most of the trouble they’re in today. It offends my sense of justice. And overall in poverty stricken areas if you improve the environment you’ll improve the quality of life for the human inhabitants as well.

Oh I almost forgot.

Amy is right abut everything. How dare you question her august opinion and impugn my honourable name.

Nathan says:

Ahh, the plot chickens.

I think that’s much funnier than it probably actually is.

Amy says:

That’s better. You’re allowed back in the house now.

Tim says:

Hmm. Work day, later in the week after not much sleep.
Hilarious. :)