The Extinction Diaries - Entry #1 - September 13, 2022
Updated: Feb 2
Be ashamed, O farmers,
Wail, O vinedressers,
For the wheat and the barley;
Because the harvest of the field is destroyed.
The vine dries up
And the fig tree fails;
The pomegranate, the palm also, and the apple tree,
All the trees of the field dry up.
Indeed, rejoicing dries up
From the sons of men.
- Joel 1:11-12, NASB 1995
I first became aware of the seriousness of anthropogenic (human caused) climate change about ten years ago. A friend at church was putting together a "Creation Care" group to bring more awareness to the issue. I learned from Scripture that humans in Genesis Chapters 1 & 2 were assigned by God to look after His creation here on earth. I learned from climate scientists that burning fossil fuels was creating a greenhouse effect in earth's atmosphere that caused global warming, and that we had to transition off fossil fuels to renewables as quickly as possible if we were to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Sadly, our efforts yielded few results. Although the senior leadership of the church tolerated our group, they did not actively support it. There were about 200 members at my campus, and 1500 or so in total at all campuses, yet we could never get more than 2 or 3 new people to come out to our meetings, and those that did come out usually didn't stay long. I wondered many times why this was not a top priority of the church leadership. The biblical case was clear: Christians were responsible for looking after earth's ecosystems. Clearly we had failed. And now, the horrific curse of Revelation 11:18 had come into effect: "God will destroy those destroying the earth." No reaction. Nothing. There were only two explanations. Either the senior leadership of the church did not understand climate change, or they did but would not act on it in order to not offend conservatives and their generous wallets. In the first case they are incompetent, and in the second, cowardly--more concerned about church growth and their careers than truth. Either way, they have failed as Christian leaders.
So I found another Christian group not affiliated with any particular church. This group was very active and had a lot of energy. I wrote a blog for them. We visited churches and tried to educate. We went on protest marches to raise awareness. We talked to our friends, coworkers, and families. We voted for the Green Party. We learned much more about the biblical basis of creation care and how God saw His works: as something precious; something to be cared for and loved. We learned that this earth will not be "burned up" as many evangelicals believe; rather it and humans will be transformed and renewed. We studied climate science to make sure that what we were telling people was true.
And yet here we are in 2022: carbon dioxide concentrations are the highest in hundreds of thousands of years. A couple of dozen positive reinforcement processes have kicked in making it difficult if not impossible to return to pre-climate change levels of greenhouse gases. Species are collapsing--currently we are losing about 200 per day. Oceans are losing their ability to support sea life. Rivers and lakes are drying up. Floods are out of control--one third of Pakistan right now, is under water, and 30,000,000 people are displaced. Fires are destroying the very forests we need to produce oxygen and decrease carbon dioxide. Crops are failing and food shortages are rampant. Despite this, fossil fuel companies continue to expand their operations and bribe corrupt politicians to do nothing that would diminish their profits. Conservative Christians are deceived by ignorant, cowardly, or corrupt pastors, and continue to vote for the destruction of earth: by electing the same politicians who were bribed with fossil fuel money. And so, it seems, we are in a death spiral. Only divine intervention can save us now, but given the curse in Revelation 11:18, it will not be what many Christians expect--especially for those who actively resisted any reasonable climate action.
I read the blogs and tweets of climate scientists and other informed people every day. Some are trying to stay positive, hoping to salvage something of our civilization. Others are depressed and angry. But no one can argue that they have not done their job well. They have proven climate change is caused by humans, and have projected various futures with risk factors, so political leaders know what the implications of their decisions will be. But still there is no concerted, urgent action. So I decided to write this series--The Extinction Diaries--and I pray. I don't know what else to do.