Climate Science is Not an Opinion

Melting Glacier at Hurricane Ridge in Washington’s Olympic National Park

These have been challenging times for those of us who are concerned about environmental issues. Whether it is President Trump pulling the United States out of the Paris Accord, or the removal of pages of data about Climate Change from national web sites.   I am deeply troubled by the anti-science attitude of our present Administration. Recently the Press Secretary for the Interior Department refused to allow the Park Superintendent at Glacier National Park meet with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg out of fear that Zuckerberg would get a picture of the park superintendent with a melting glacier in the background. Denying reality is not helping any of us. Ridiculing the science of climate change isn’t going to protect our shores against rising oceans.

On his  approach to  Jerusalem, Jesus must have been thinking of  the way people he knew and loved were ignoring the warnings of those who feared the destruction of the Holy City.  We read in the gospel of Matthew Jesus’s cry, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you, desolate.” – Matthew 23:37-38   These words are traditionally read around Palm Sunday, but have more than one meaning. Jesus was referring not only to his death and rejection by the people, but the destruction of Jerusalem itself. Jerusalem was looking for a savior that would restore the city to its former glory. Jesus knew that if they continued on that path, only destruction and devastation would await the city and its people. In 70 AD, after uprisings unleashed the wrath of Rome, the city of Jerusalem was destroyed. People who didn’t flee were slaughtered. The temple was obliterated. Jesus wept over a city he knew was making decisions that would only bring destruction, grief and sorrow.

We are faced with a similar decision. Will we listen to the prophets God is sending us about the danger the earth is in or will we persecute them instead? Today’s prophets are mocked by Climate Change deniers as they warn us of the dangers of Climate Change, speeded by our use of fossil fuels. Skepticism has gotten twisted into a warped religious belief that recognizing and acknowledging climate change caused by people is somehow un-Christian. It’s hard for me to comprehend the logic of that reasoning. This strange philosophy thinks that if there is a real problem, God will save us from environmental damage we do, because that is what God does.  Most often though, God acts through us.   In other moments,  deep challenges have been times when people have come together looking for solutions.  Scientists discovered cures for deadly diseases.    Nations were born.  Life saving procedures were discovered and perfected.

God must weep for us in our foolishness when we act as if  the scientists God has raised up,  to show us what we need to change,  are mocked. God must groan over us when we   blindly assume it doesn’t matter what we do.  Climate science is not an opinion to be decided by our political bent, but a conclusion based on rigorous studies. God made us stewards of the earth for a purpose – not to destroy the earth but to care for it. God gave us minds so we would search for the truth. God sends us prophets so we will pay attention to their wisdom. God gave us an intellect to use. Our role as people of faith is to listen, to respond as we able to and set a direction that will be healing to our planet.   For God wants us  to pass on to our children and grandchildren a world that is healthy . . . a world where they can live to grow old.