Tag: anti-green

Conspiracy, correlation and causation

It looks like climate change is going to scupper one man’s ambition to be the next leader of our country. While Malcolm Turnbull considers this inconvenient truth, some might be thinking “at last, climate change has done something good”…

Some are looking forward to the day that climate change does away with our particular stretch of the Great Barrier Reef so that North Queensland can have waves.

And those who sell air conditioning are rubbing their hands together and counting their pools of money ala Scrooge McDuck.

This whole climate change phenomena has me thinking…

Many of my friends are skeptics. Some of my friends are believers. Most of the skeptics believe that the climate is changing (as it always has) though not because of human intervention. I oscillate between the two positions. I do think it’s funny that we’re worried about how much carbon dioxide is in the world when I always thought the net mass of chemicals everywhere was a constant… anyone who remembers photosynthesis lessons in high school science knows we just need to plant more trees…anyway. I’m not a climate scientist and do not intend to talk about what I don’t know in this post…

I have a theory that there are links there are between a few different philosophical outlooks on life.

I’m wondering about what correlation there is between the following beliefs and climate change.

  • Christianity
  • A “young earth”
  • The effect of sin/the fall on the planet
  • An old earth
  • Atheism

Biblical Christianity suggests that God intervenes in the workings of his creation, that it is under his control (particularly the Psalms) and that sin has tainted the planet as well as its people. There is an obvious link between humanity and any problems with the planet.

Because Atheism rejects the idea that anyone is in control – and must therefore assume that our finely balanced universe is always on the cusp of imploding under its own improbable existence* – atheists should be more concerned about climate change and therefore more ready to jump in and lend an environmental hand even if they’re not convinced by the science. Just in case.

My friends who believe in a young earth should find it heaps easier to believe that humans are partly responsible for what happens to the environment because we’re a more significant part of the planet’s history – and the change is occuring over a much faster period of time if the hockey stick graphs are to be believed. This has to be balanced against the fact that many of them are really good at ignoring scientists anyway.

Answers in Genesis has an article that pretty much sits on the fence, and one that suggests claims of our impending demise are greatly exaggerated

My Christian friends who believe in an old earth probably fall into one of two categories – they’re either the most skeptical of all when it comes to climate change, or they’re died in the wool believers. For the skeptics, the assumption that God’s sovereignty extends to the planet, meets the assumption that humans haven’t been around for long enough to have had a remarkable impact on the planet’s health.

For the Christian “climate change disciple” the idea that humans have wrecked the planet is consistent with the Bible, and the idea that scientists can teach us about how everything works is consistent with the way they understand the world.

I don’t understand atheist climate change skeptics. Where does their justification come from?

Regardless of these philosophical positions the suggestion that Australia should introduce an emissions trading scheme before the rest of the world is just silly. It comes from some sort of cultural aggrandising that suggests that somehow whatever our relatively small nation does will have an impact on the global scene.

From what I understand of the issue – particularly with relation to energy production (a fair bit at that point) – there are two things we could do that would have a major impact.

  1. Stop exporting coal
  2. Start exporting more uranium

I can’t see either of those happening any time soon.

*Not really what atheists think…

McDonalds takes “green” literally

I can’t tell if this is really dumb or reverse-subliminally brilliant…

McDonalds want to be considered a green company. So in Europe they’re changing their background colour from red to green.

Green is the new black. And the new red.

A dog’s life

Anybody who tut-tutted my coffee machine’s carbon emissions (2.3 tonnes per year) should think twice. Especially if they own a dog.

So says Good Magazine and a team of scientists… and who can argue with them… here’s a nice little infographic breaking down the comparitive eco-footprint of pets and four wheel drives… I’m guessing that a turtle is about on par with the hamster featured in the bottom left hand corner.

LaRouche is on fire

The nuttiness of the Citizen’s Electoral Council knows no bounds. Their latest press release comes complete with a 10 minute video of awesome badness. They’ve uploaded it badly on YouTube (it doesn’t work properly) – so you’ll have to check it out here.

They hate the Greens more than I do.

“Do you believe the world is overpopulated? Do you believe the world’s human population should be reduced?

If so, you are a sucker for a lie invented by the highest levels of the British oligarchy going back to the rapacious East India Company, and its Venetian ancestors, which lie is now about to be turned into official public policy in the form of cap-and-trade, through the efforts of the modern British oligarchy’s World Wide Fund for Nature and agents Prince Philip, Sir Crispin Tickell, Sir Nicholas Stern, and Al Gore.“

“The 10-minute LYM video is a preview of a planned feature documentary on the roots of the modern Green movement, going back to the evil race-science called eugenics, which was heavily promoted by the aristocracy of Europe in the early part of the 20th century, turned into public policy by Hitler, and repackaged post-war as the environmental movement, by leading eugenicist Sir Julian Huxley and his co-founders of the WWF in 1961, the Nazi-educated Prince Philip and Nazi Party-member Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.“

You’ve got to watch the video. I especially love where they say they’ve thrown down the gauntlet to Al Gore. Lyndon LaRouche challenged him. At a CEC conference. That nobody heard of, except the people they spam with media releases. I’d hardly call that a gauntlet throw down.

You must watch the video. And check out the CEC website – everybody who disagrees with them is a Nazi (including Obama, the climate change movement, and anyone pushing swine flu panic).

The fun starts at 7.07 where the narrator puts on a British accent.

They really need to think about the whole Godwin’s Law thing…

Steve Fielding is in trouble – because if these guys are for you, you’re going wrong somewhere.

The best bit

Would you like salt with that?

My WebSalt article about the Greens is now up. You should go over there, read it, and argue it out with me in the comments… It’s much more balanced than my regular blogging fodder because it’s not polemic – it’s balanced… I hope.

“But there is much in their policy platform to celebrate – an Australian Christian Lobby media release issued prior to the 2008 election praised the Greens for their strong stance on climate change, refugees, overseas aid, work life balance and poverty. These are important issues – and should be serious concerns for biblical Christians.” “The criteria that determine an individual’s political preference will come down to personal convictions – that’s the fundamental freedom offered by a liberal democracy. So voters need to decide for themselves whether caring for the poor should be the government’s concern or the church’s? Or whether we should impose a Christian ethical framework on non-believers? Can we vote for a party that purposefully pursues an easing of restrictions in the circumstances surrounding the termination of the lives of unborn children? Just how much of a concern is the environment?”

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink

The NSW Government has just decided to ban bottled water.

Well, for Government departments.

They’ve done so after a country town in southern NSW introduced a blanket ban. This seems dumb.

People buy water for convenience sake. Water is important to live. The town in NSW will introduce filtered water fountains into the street.

I can’t help but think that this is an ailing Premier’s cynical attempt to ride a wave created by a small corner of his constituency…

“We’re asking government departments to phase it out unless there is obvious and practical commonsense reasons not to in the event someone doesn’t have cool water in a hot environment,” he [Premier Rees] said.

The Premier says the move will save taxpayer money and help reduce the impact on the environment of producing and throwing away plastic bottles.

“Local businesses in the town of 2,500 people are proposing to replace the bottles with reusables and then offer directions to filtered water fountains that will be installed on the main street.”

“At the very least, if they don’t ban it, then at least they will reduce their usage of it and in doing so, reduce the half-a-billion dollars a year that Australians are spending on bottled water.”

That’s half-a-billion dollars worth of convenience and jobs axed for ideological reasons.

Bottled water, in some people’s minds, is a tax on stupidity. Ever held a bottle of Evian up to a mirror? It’s free from the taps.

But that’s not the point.

As friend Paul pointed out in an email discussing the country town’s ban – people are buying the bottle not the water – you’re hardly going to stick your mouth on a tap in a public place.

Benny is most unhappy. Tap water gives him ulcers. He’s the only person I know who sees fluoride as an election issue.

Stupid hippies.

Eight thoughts on the environmental lobby

The last Green post scored 42 comments – possibly more by the time you’re reading this because the last one was a thoughful and lengthy comment from Joel. Anyway, like I said yesterday I am not sure I can keep going down this path because it seems pretty circular at times. But, Amy’s pastor friend challenged my biblical position and I haven’t really addressed that since, so here are some biblical propositions:

1. The great Biblical imperative – or the greatest commandment we are given is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart” (Mark 12) we’re also to love our neighbours as ourselves. Some in the “green friendly” group make caring for the environment an outworking of “love” – I put it to you, readers, that God’s understanding of love should define ours. And rather than quoting John 3:16 – I give you Romans 5:8:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

If Jesus death is the focal point of God’s love – and indeed the focal point of God’s word – then should it not be our focal point? Rather than distractions like the environment. There are plenty of people worried about the environment and not enough worried about evangelism as far as I’m concerned. And while some claim care for the environment does not mutually exclude care for people – but nor is it the purpose of existence – and in fact it is a distraction.

2. Creation was made for man, not man for creation – we are given the impression from the first page of the Bible – from the creation story – that creation was made to house mankind. As a location for the narrative of God’s redemptive story. Jesus’ priestly prayer in John 17 thanks the father for those he was given by the father “before the creation of the world” – and Ephesians 1:4a is helpful too…

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

And Psalm 115:16 is more specific:

The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man.

God’s plans included us before the world was created. It’s not like we’re here as groundskeepers to look after the planet, the planet is here for us – in order that God might gather a people for his glory.

3. The great overarching trajectory of the Biblical narrative is a story of the movement from creation to new creation. The Bible starts and ends that way. The problem of sin breaks God’s good creation – so that it is no longer good – but cursed (in Genesis 3) and groaning (in Romans 8). We can not, by our toil, and based on the curse, expect anything but the fruits of our labours. There is no promise that we will redeem creation – but instead that God will. As Christians we must be careful not to make the mistake of trying to redeem that which is not ours to redeem. In Romans 8 the suggestion is that creation will only be released from bondage when God’s people are revealed – that to me suggests the order of priority – and indeed suggests that if you really want to see creation released you should be preaching the gospel. Romans 8:19

The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.

4. Putting caring for creation ahead of caring for people is a contravention of God’s command referenced in point 1 – there are examples where caring for the planet is a way to care for people, and I hear those points, but our priority as Christians is to worship God – and Romans 12:1 would suggest:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

And anyone who argues that less pollution is somehow of more value to a sovereign God, in control of the end of all things than the salvation of his elect should spend some more time reading their Bible.

I would contend that the Green movement often makes an idol out of the environment. The non Christians and pagans involved in the party would call it caring for the “mother earth” – and see some sort of spiritual significance to what they do. Significantly many “alternative” religions – those outside of Judaism, Christianity and Islam – elevate creation to the status of God. Thus doing exactly what Romans 1:25 tells us not to do:

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

5. It is right to care for creation – because creation in its natural state points to a creator. Maintaining the beauty of creation is a worthwhile aim. But. The brokenness of creation also points to the brokenness of humanity and the curse. Romans 1:20:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

6. Your concern for creation is shaped primarily by your eschatology – how and when you think creation will end will shape how and when you choose to treat creation. The Bible says that nobody knows when creation will end – Mark 13 – but that when it does God will control it.

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

It won’t be a cosmic accident. It will be purposeful. It may well be that God will use human stupidity to bring about the destruction (or almost destruction) of the world – that would be fitting. What we do know is that there has always been a sense of urgency given to gospel work because our lifespan is but a fleeting moment – evangelism is a task spoken of with far greater urgency than conservation. The gospel is the power of God – the same passage in Romans that argues that people will recognise that there is a God through faith is preceded by Paul saying just that – Romans 1:16:

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile

And now some that for the sake of not spending too much time on this I won’t go into too much.

7. God’s expectation is that we use the resources of the planet for our lives. That’s been clear right from the start – the trees in the garden bearing fruit that was good to eat, the curse suggesting that man must toil the ground in order to survive, buildings have always been made from wood and stone (the Temple for example). We are called to be good stewards – but whether or not mining is stewardship is not a question of theology but of economics – and we should not expect non-Christians to act in any way but greed.

8. Jesus curses a fig tree – not really relevant just an instance of God interacting with nature in a not very positive manner… Matthew 21:19…

Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

What’s next

I have perhaps two more posts on the environment in me, one coming up next… and one that’ll be the final version of my Salt article. I’m a bit bored with it anyway. For now.

So, if you want to suggest a new topic for me to think about and write about go for it. I promise it will be as hyperbolic and intolerant as I am capable of.

Also – I am considering writing about singleness. I was single once. Spectacularly so. And I think I’d like to write about it while I can still empathise with those struggling with it now. Plus it’s always topical. Any better ideas?

Green debate humming along

The Green Debate continues. This fail blog post seemed too serendipitous to ignore. Join in. If you dare. I’d be particularly interested if anybody has time to actually read all the Bible verses Amy’s friend the pastor has submitted for consideration.

Apology (of sorts)

I apologise to the un-named pastor for my at times hyperbolic reaction to his reaction to my theological position on climate change.

We disagree. Fundamentally on the issue. But some of what I said was graceless and made the same mistakes I accuse said un-named pastor of making – namely casting aspersions on his character and ministry on the basis of his criticism.

I will leave the whole post as is because discussions is ongoing and I think with this disclaimer the spirit and tone of discussion can be rescued somewhat.

That is all.

Against my better judgment

Long post – in summary some “pastor” thinks I’m ignorant because I think we should be preaching the gospel rather than caring about the environment. 

So, Amy was so annoyed by my theological viewpoint on the environment in this post that she called in an “expert”. He responded with a particularly long critique of my position, my post, and at times in a way I would consider an affront and pretty insulting – like where he compares being a climate change agnostic to being Pontius Pilate. Which I guess kind of backs up my point that climate change is essentially being considered as a salvation issue by some people.

I also like the part where he compares climate change to slavery and suggests that I’ll never amount to anything like Wilberforce or Newton.

Oh, and the bit where he suggested that God is not in control of the weather. So I guess he doesn’t pray for rain, and he probably ignores that awkward bit in the Bible where God brings a flood, and the bit where he brings a seven year famine, and the bit where he makes it dark when Jesus is being crucified… 

And who can forget the bit where he suggests that Jesus saw feeding the 5000 some lunch was as important as the teaching he was doing that lead them to being hungry – you know, the teaching about the kingdom of God being near. The teaching about how they should turn to him or face death and judgment. Oh yeah, that’s right. Jesus was all about temporal needs. That’s why when he told the paralysed man to get up and walk he did it AFTER forgiving his sins. That is the first and only time I will use block caps here to voice my displeasure. 

But he went to the time and effort of responding so here is his unabridged essay (it’s very long) below. 

I feel like I need to mount defences on some of these points but have not figured out the best way to do that. While I figure that out feel free to read this and jump in with your own critique – I’m sure Amy will either direct him here to respond or pass on our responses – because that seems only fair. 


This will be a long post – responses to all of this topic by a Pastor friend of mine (also studies economics before Nathan starts critiquing credentials to argue about economics). This is transcribed as is from a word doc so I have copied out what para was referenced in italics, and his response normally. Hopefully all will be clear (and that the Hebrew actually comes through).


Firstly, he would like to point out to Nathan that disparaging companies that have a triple bottom line is a bit rich when you buy coffee from http://store.ministrygrounds.net.au/ (who support “Rainforest Alliance”).

Also, that isn’t labelling yourself as a climate change agnostic the same as ‘washing your hands of responsibility’ a la a certain other individual 2000 years ago?

And, finally, that you are quite happy to travel NZ and admire the beauty of nature and post photos of such on your site – but not visit industrial sites and other sites of human achievements.


Okay, in response to comments:

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?

Hmmm – not a house sitting arrangement as such but still His creation that we have been entrusted with to be good stewards of. Gen 2:15 tells us that man(kind) was given the task of working the garden to provide food but to also take care of it.

According to the Strong’s Bible Dictionary:
The word Work (NIV) in Hebrew means: עָבַד
A primitive root; to work (in any sense); by implication to serve, till, (causatively) enslave, etc.:— X be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, do, dress, ear, execute, + husbandman, keep, labour (-ing man), bring to pass, (cause to, make to) serve (-ing, self), (be, become) servant (-s), do (use) service, till (-er), transgress [from margin], (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper.

Then the word Take Care (NIV) in Hebrew means:
A primitive root; properly to hedge about (as with thorns), that is, guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc.:—beware, be circumspect, take heed (to self), keep (-er, self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (-man).

So there is both a sense of tilling the soil and labouring in the garden (yep even in a perfect world there was work!!) but also to be protective and preserve it.

See also Gen 6:19, 30:31,
The first 5 books (the Pentateuch) give this latter word a meaning of ‘preservation’ for the future. Along with the commandments and laws where the same word is used in Leviticus (18:4-5) gives the clear indication that this act of preservation is not passive but active.

The other side of this is Revelation 21:1 tells us that at the end of this age this current earth will pass away – be concluded with.

Subsequent to the Genesis 2 account, I am not aware of any revoking of our responsibilities that were given to us by God. The only addition is that the ground is now cursed because of our sin (Gen 3:17-19a) and the work and care we engage in will be more difficult.

So the upshot in a snap shot is that while we do not know when God will wrap things up in the future, He has given us a clear responsibility to take care of things until He (destroys/renews) it and makes us a new earth.

2. Nathan
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.

See initial comments above

3. Nathan re Romans 8:20-22
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.

Interesting point. But what was the point of Paul raising this – it was as evidence to the fall of mankind. So are we carry a similar level of concern about mankind? I realise they are not the same. Humans are the only aspect of creation which were created in the image of God. But also like us, creation longs to be liberated from the consequences of sin.

We do not sit on our hands and do nothing about the liberating of humans – we seek to introduce them to Jesus, disciple others and also work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

So yes there is to be a higher level of responsibility towards seeing people come to faith, but that does not mean we can abdicate responsibility for the ‘ice caps’.

4. Nathan re Genesis 3:17
“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;…

The same word ‘curse’ is used against people 1 Sam 14:24 & 28.

5. Nathan:
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.

Perhaps Nathan takes more of His theology from Billy Joel’s ‘We didn’t start the fire’ than from verses such as James 4:17

6. Nathan:
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.

Such a fatalist and sad position to take. It is too hard so I won’t try. I would not expect Nathan to be a John Newton or a Wilberforce:

“Among his (Newton’s) greatest contributions to history was encouraging William Wilberforce, a Member of Parliament for Hull, to stay in Parliament and “serve God where he was”, rather than enter the ministry. Wilberforce heeded the ex-slaveship captain’s advice, and spent the next twenty years successfully working for the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Newton

Or a Nathan – his namesake who was prepared to confront the King 2 Samuel 12:1-12

Or a Jonathan 1 Samuel 14:6-15

Or the list could go on of God honouring people who were prepared to take a stand against impossible odds!

7. Nathan:
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.

Yep – Kinda like a David against a Goliath hey!!

But also don’t we have a responsibility as a nation to do something about the effects of our exports? That would be like us flushing the toilet and saying it is the beach goer’s responsibility to clean up our mess.

Actually economists suggest that it is well within our GDP ability to nationally absorb the increase due to the environmental recommendations.

8. Nathan re Genesis 1:28
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.

Great point. It is interesting then that we have people starving to death because of our inability to subdue the earth appropriately!

Paving paradise is like paving the veggie patch – when it really comes down to it, it doesn’t make much sense. We take some of the most productive food producing and grazing land and build houses on it. Where is the logic in that?

9. Leah:
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.

See my comments above DT6-8
(Amy’s note: Not sure on the reference here – hoping someone else can work it out – Deut perhaps?)

10. Amy:
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

Jesus in Matt 26:7; Mark 14:7 and John 12:7 talks about the poor. It was a comm. On saying that all the hearers would be able to finish the rest of the Deut 15:10-11 passage that Jesus was quoting.

11. Amy
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.

Absolutely. Australians have invented amazing things like black box flight recorders. We could become an international innovator by creating Green Collar workers who build green technology when everyone else are saying it is too hard. The attitude that says we won’t move until everyone else does is nonsensical.

12. Nathan:
. 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.

Sovereignty and control are too different things and are not synonymous. To say God controls the weather would also suggest that God causes the weather to do what it does. Yep God can intervene and so can we at times. But that sort of logic suggest that God is also in control of the gunman that shoots up the kids at school etc.

Sorry that sort of argument is rubbish!

Yes ultimately nothing happens without God allowing it, but that also does not mean we can abdicate our responsibility either.

Free will??? Where have I heard of that before? We choose – and God holds us accountable and responsible for our choices. Otherwise, on the basis of Nathan’s argument we can blame God for allowing sin to enter into the world and He is a mongrel for punishing us for something that we have no responsibility for – after all isn’t God in control???

13. Amy:
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.

The fall affected all of creation – the planet and mankind.

Hmmm not really. Yep we were the ones that stuffed up – but the results affected the planet and animals etc.

14. Amy
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.

It is seen that taxing is the best/fairest way to bring about change in business. A user pay system rather than levies and one off payments. If an industry pays money to reduce their carbon emissions, then they pay less tax. If they choose not to for economic reasons, that is OK as long as the tax goes towards other mitigation measures. So yep it should be put back into sustainability issues – not to prop up the budget bottom line. But that is a government policy decision. Once again, when governments do not take responsibility for the decisions and the past decisions, we end up perpetuating the problem rather than working towards better management.

15. Nathan:
. Preventing building of new houses because a finch might have to pack its bags and move elsewhere.

But would Nathan be a prepared to say – grandma, you have to move because they are resuming your house for a highway – take one for the progress team! Yep a bit of a jump, but when do we say the cost is too much?

16. Nathan
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.

But the problem is that we don’t pay for it. The true cost of the impact on the environment is not worked through. It is an external cost that is not recognised and therefore not passed on to the consumer. As a result the purchase price for so many things are artificially lower because the cost on the environment is not recognised or factored in to the costs of production.

17. Nathan:
I’d much rather put my time and energy into meeting people’s spiritual needs than their temporal.

Wooow – That flies in the face of what Jesus and James stood against. James 2:14-26. Jesus would never had feed the 4,000/5,000 healed the sick etc. When we became Christians we would be zapped off the earth. Nup sorry that does not wash at all. We have a responsibility to care for the whole person, not just their spiritual needs. Whatever you did to the least of these…. (Matt 25:31-46).

18. Nathan:
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.

But what if rather than throwing up our hands in the air we actually tried to reverse some of what we have done. Our bodies have the ability to reverse some of the damage of smoking if we stop soon enough. The planet has the ability to rebound if we act. It will not get back to Eden, but to say it is all too late is a cop out as well.

19. Queenstuss:
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.

Call me a cynic, but climate change will only matter if the people say it does. The democratic governments are elected by the people and we ultimately are responsible for what the governments do. If we shout enough, the governments will act.

20. Leah:
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.

On what basis is this argument made? My understanding is the jury is still out on that. So we can either say until we have conclusive proof we will do nothing – or we can say, let us do the best we can, even if it costs us financially and in changing our behaviours to have a better way of life. And if it helps great. If not – have we really lost anything?

21. Alison:
. 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…

I guess the thing is that Jesus wants us to live life to the full (John 10:10) and a part of that is how we worship God. That is more than going to church but in our vocations – is the gospel more important that building safe houses? In a lot of ways yes. What good is it to gain the whole world and lose your soul (Mark 8:36). But what is the gospel – it is good news. If someone is homeless and hungry – to see them become a Christian but then starve to death or die of exposure does not fulfil the James 2:14-17. It was never meant to be an either/or but a both/and.

22. Alison:
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

This is such an inaccurate interpretation of the text. Jesus expected his audience to finish off the Deut passage themselves. Not use it as an excuse to say it is all too hard Deut 15:10-11. Part of the reason for us being in the situation we are is because people misquote either out of convenience or ignorance. Once ignorance is corrected – it is a question of obedience or disobedience!


Okay, that’s it. Phew!

Sub edit fail


The Townsville Bulletin’s sub editors have made a slight mistake today – incorrectly identifying the Member for the Burdekin – Rosemary Menkins – as Gandhi. Obscure political statement? Warranted kudos? No, I say mistake. Or joke.

It appears next to this comment by perennial political bridesmaid (and never the political bride) – Greens candidate Jenny Stirling.

“Jobs, justice, climate. That’s the theme of the protests at the G20 conference of world leaders and it hits the mark fairly and squarely. In Britain alone, 35,000 people marched and there was no violence, no ramaging crowds or damage to property, just real people fed up with a system that ultimately sees ordinary people’s lives and well-being as expendable. The only way we have ever had any sort of real and lasting social progress has been through non-violent expressions of people power: Mandela in South Africa, Martin Luther King and civil rights movement in the US, Gandhi in India and so on. And if all things are equal, the ballot box. ”

Good water use

Last time I posted something pointing out how awesomely unsustainable the use of water in production of coffee is people jumped up and down screaming and we ended up talking about the plight of battery hens.

Here’s another picture from Good (click it for full size) highlighting how coffee is not the worst of the bunch, and suggesting giving up steak as well. Greens arguing for not eating meat… that’s original.

Election Scorecard: Candidates in Townsville

The campaign proper has been underway for two weeks now. Here’s part one of my take on the candidates for Townsville’s three seats:


Mandy Johnstone – Labor’s factional darling somehow got the nod to replace Mike Reynolds, the seat’s former member. It says a lot about Mandy Johnstone’s campaign that her campaign website features a prominent photo of Anna Bligh and a tiny photo of Mandy Johnstone. 

She seems nice enough – but is yet to make any impression on the campaign, except for an announcement of $10 million in funding for the Jezzine Barracks development. 

Grade: C+

Murray Hurst – The LNP picked a former Cowboys Coach with some experience as a Thuringowa City Councillor to run for the seat – at the time they had no idea who they’d be running against. Hurst has visibility, has a connection to the city’s most popular icon, and has some experience in government – what he doesn’t have is the ability to make any promises on anything before “he gets into government”. Oh, and he annoyingly drops a football metaphor or reference to his coaching experience into political discourse at the drop of a hat. 

Grade: C

Jenny Stirling – we all know how I feel about the environment – and in particular the Greens. Jenny Stirling is largely to blame. Every time she speaks I want to punch myself in the face. If I was to act out that compulsion I would be black and blue – she talks everywhere. Anywhere her views can be expressed – be it the Bulletin’s feedback forms, Magnetictimes.com, letters to the editor, her own website, the media… she’s everywhere, commenting on every issue. And running at every election. While I’ve been here she’s run for council, for Mayor, for Federal Government, for the State Government, and now is running again. That’s five elections in three years – and she’s lost them all. Unfortunately her vote is increasing – and she’s probably got the profile to give this election a real shake. She also knows a media opportunity when she sees one. 

Grade: B-

Warming to the debate

It’s probably time I addressed Amy’s second point.

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 completely agree with the second sentence. We do (and particularly Christians do) have a responsibility to look after those in need.

Spiderman’s uncle summed it up best: “With great power comes great responsibility”.

If climate change is going to cause issues (and increased unpredictability in terms of weather events, changing rain patterns etc do have markedly enhanced effects on these villages) then we need to be helping people in areas at risk develop resilience to these events.

While I don’t like the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) because I think it’s economically, politically and scientifically stupid – I’d be less opposed if the money was being spent on mitigating climate change globally.

Personally, I don’t think climate change or pollution has a massive bearing on the debate – there are other issues I believe need solving first. I think we should be looking at how the benefits of technology and research developed in the first world trickles down to the third, particularly medicine, and agronomy.

I also really like the idea of microfinancing as a way for individuals to directly help disadvantaged individuals. Kiva seems like a good example.

So, not to harp on the egg thing, here’s an equation.

If I buy 12 dozen cartons of eggs a year at $2.60 each, rather than paying $7 for free range, I save $52.80 – that’s $52.80 I can lend to these entrepreneurs – who, if successful, will pay me back so I can lend it again.

The loans are made in $25 chunks.

Just remember though – if participating in this scheme – that the following warning applies:

By participating in the Program or otherwise using this Website, you hereby acknowledge and agree that (a) Kiva makes no representation, warranty, covenant or guarantee that any funds you lend to a Borrower via the Website will be repaid and (b) loans made via the Website (each, a “Loan”) bear a high risk of non-repayment.