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Wind Turbines
  • d.w.golding

"Sound the alarm - heed the warning!"


The prophet Joel commanded the people of his day, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain”. (Joel 2.1) In our day, reasons for alarm are all too apparent. The average global temperature last year was the hottest ever recorded: “What we’ve seen with 2023 is off the charts” (Gavin Schmidt, director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute). (See https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/jan/12/2023-hottest year-record-us-scientists).


“I want you to panic…”, said Greta Thunberg in 2019; now, after last year, no description seems too extreme for even experienced scientists. [The language used by Dr James Hansen, the ‘Father of global warming’, is unprintable.] Granted, “it remains to be seen if 2023 is merely an unusual outlier” (Robert Rohde, lead scientist at Berkeley Earth), or an early indication that climate change could soon spin out of control. However, it’s undeniable that last year saw large numbers of extreme weather conditions, right throughout the world.


“Most of the increase is caused by burning fossil fuels – so of course that’s being phased out, right? Wrong!”, says Dr Katharine Hayhoe, the Christian, Chief Scientist at the US Nature Conservancy. “Instead of hitting the brakes, fossil fuel companies are stomping the gas pedal to the floor.”


To add to our alarm, studies reviewed by Mertz, Barnard and colleagues in Science Progress on 20.09.23 warn us that there’s a ‘behavioural crisis’ driving what they call “ecological overshoot”, the consumption of resources at rates faster than they can be replenished, and unsustainable levels of waste production. This means we would need several earths to sustain us long term – and that we could resolve the climate crisis and still be heading for environmental collapse. (See also https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/jan/13/human-behavioural-crisis-at-root of-climate-breakdown-say-scientists)


The authers say that commercial interests are engaged in “intentional exploitation” by inflaming our natural drives to acquire things, etc. As a result, says Barnard, “everything we know and love - a habitable planet and a peaceful civilisation - is at stake”.


Of course, scientists have useful insights as to how to confront these threats. However, the Bible also has things to say about it! “No one can serve two masters... You cannot serve both God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24) - “‘mammon’… a demonic power, which by its ability to master the human heart… constitutes an alternative kingdom to the kingdom of God…” (Tearfund)


Commenting on Joel’s call to “Sound an alarm”, Calvin says that, “When any judgment of God is impending, all must confess… and flee to the mercy of God.” ‘Confession’ must be followed by ‘action’: first and foremost by ‘speaking out’ to our leaders by campaigning, for example, with Tearfund and Christian Climate Action; but also by a thorough reform of our “dissolute and corrupt” (Calvin) lifestyles – see Tearfund’s Ruth Valerio on ‘consumerism’ at https://vimeo.com/791871505.


Highly commended: Dr Katharine Hayhoe’s free weekly newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/fae4224ba66d/subscribe-to-katharine-newsletter;


See also, https://www.e-n.org.uk/2022/02/features/the-promise-of-unfailing-seedtime-and harvest-a-cover-for-climate-complacency/0bc38/


And my article recently published in The Church of England Newspaper at https://www.drdavidgolding.com/post/antidotes-to-environmental-despair.


David W. Golding CBE PhD DSc DCL Formerly, Associate of the Institute of Sustainability, and Honorary Chaplain, Newcastle University; Voluntary Spokesperson for Tearfund.

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