I tend to stay away from the emotionally charged issue of religion but this is one opportunity I can not resist. I am so happy and excited about the three articles that were published in the Hampshire Review on January 23rd 2019, I could just bust! The first article was written by Don Kesner who confronts a popular TV evangelist who claims Jesus is on his stage in person (I thought it was an altar)! Conveniently, only the TV evangelist could see him. For a minister to pull this kind of stunt shows that our religions have ventured far from the teaching of Christ. Don goes on to point out that the Bible says that “judgement begins at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). In other words, it means that Christ’s first action would be to denounce the exploits of many religions! The next time I see Don, I am going to give him a big hug and thank him for writing this great article.
If Don has not gotten your interest, Alanna McGuinn, the Minister at the United Methodist Church in Capon Bridge, went on to say this: in Corinthians 12: 12-31a, Paul urges us to work together for the glory of God by recognizing and celebrating the diversity found in the body of Christ, i.e. the church. In other words, love and respect every human being regardless of race, ethnicity or religion! In a time when many folks focus on our differences as something to be afraid of, Paul would say that diversity is necessary for the advancement of the kingdom. Just saying Alanna…Jesus should go to your church! It is so exciting for me to hear religious leaders in our little community acknowledging the errant ways of some in the religious community! Said simply, if you are going to espouse that you are a Christian then your behavior should be Christ-like in all ways!
Finally, and certainly not least, we have the Rev. Roy Knight who says that ” the Bible is inspired by the word of God, but that inspiration is ultimately telling us that salvation comes from Jesus, not the Bible!” He goes on to say, “At some point, Christians need to decide whether they value their interpretation of specific verses over the actions of Christ himself”. So well said! Explained another way, “Christians can overemphasize the importance of the Bible and under emphasize the life of Jesus”. I really love this next part, ” Quoting Jesus saying things like “love your enemies” and “love your neighbors as yourself” is now seen as “liberal” among many political conservative Christians”. Wow Roy, I do not think anyone could have said that better but, I wonder how far some of the evangelists have wavered from the teaching of Christ.
Folks, since the beginning of civilized man, religions have played a major part in helping us survive in what often seems like a chaotic world. The gods of the American Indians explained the stars were holes punched in the sky by ancient trees. At one time people had a god for everything they did not understand. Even today there are a multitude of religions around the world with varying interpretations of what God is and how he wants us to behave. Religion plays a major part in modern society creating a place to congregate and share or discuss thoughts and ideas. It also creates a community of people who support all people in need, not just the ones who believe the same way! In today’s world I fear many of our churches are not using the actions of Christ as a guidepost in their everyday decisions. I am not a religious person but I try to live my life in a way I think Christ would have approved. If I were asked if I am a Christian, I would have to say yes, I follow the teaching of Jesus. So, if you see any of these local ministers walking around, make sure you tell them how much you enjoyed their column in the Hampshire Review on January 26th…even if you do not go to their church.
global climate change and global dimming
Let’s make this simple. For our purposes, earth is a very large spaceship with many rooms. Correspondingly the sun is like a large gas furnace that can put out many gazillions of BTUs. If one part of the spaceship is too cold, then another part of the spaceship is going to be too hot. If one part of the globe is getting too much rain, then another may be experiencing a drought. Our metaphorical rooms we are in here on the east coast are currently colder than most artic regions, and accordingly, there is another place on the globe that is much hotter than normal.
All this said, the real lunacy here is that some individuals still choose to ignore the indisputable scientific research so as to take this current weather aberration as proof that global warming (which should be called global climate change) does not exist. Let’s look at the chart of earth’s temperature over the last 100 years.
As you can see from the chart, the temperature of earth has risen almost 1 degree Celsius (1.8 F) over the last 100+ years. Some people believe that this is a result of natural forces. One can not totally dismiss this idea unless one studies long-term temperature changes on our planet. With the removal of natural disasters such as volcanos, earthquakes and asteroids from the data, earth’s temperature generally changes very little over long periods of time. ‘By long periods of time’, I mean thousands of years. Most scientist believe these changes are a consequence of fluctuation or pulsations in the sun’s energy output.
Our current situation is in no way similar to the standard temperature variations that the earth has endured. For the entire earth’s temperature to rise almost 2 degrees F in 100 years is unprecedented. Even if one could find any increase in the ancient temperature data, that does show an unexplainable hike in the earths temperature similar to what we are experiencing today, this does not take into account the CO2 that we are pouring into the atmosphere in-ever increasing amounts. Everyone knows that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, which traps the sun energy in the atmosphere, not allowing the natural release of energy into space, much like a very large piece of insulation that only allows energy in but not out.
As a species some of us will survive global climate change. We may have to move New York City and many other large cities inland, New Orleans will be a great scuba diving venue and weather patterns will of course change in ways we can only imagine. The ocean has already risen 1/2 foot and ice caps are melting faster than anyone predicted. Deserts will become oases and jungles will become deserts, but we are very adaptable and many of us will survive.
One last point I need to address: the concept of global dimming, a concept which very few have heard of. For the last 50+ years scientists have been conducting a simple experiment around the world. They use a large shallow metal pan and place water in it to measure the rate of evaporation, which indirectly corresponds to the amount of solar energy that reaches the ground. Over that time, it was determined that there has been a decrease in the energy reaching the earth’s surface, until 1990, when aerosols were banned worldwide. At that point in time global dimming slowly changed to what is called, global brightening. Global brightening is when more of the energy from the sun is absorbed by the earth, rather than is reflected back into space. A proposed explanation for the early decreased in solar gain is the increase in particulate matter in the atmosphere from to cars and smokestacks. In more recent times there has been a reversal in this trend as a result of fewer car and smokestack emissions, thus allowing more energy to reach the ground. Now for those of you with a nimble mind, consider the consequences of the more recent increased solar gain and increased greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Oddly enough, we may have been slowing global climate change until 1990; this being due to the fact we were dumping so much particulate matter into the air! More recently, as we continue to clean up the air, we may actually see an accelerated rise in global temperatures. And this corresponds to what the world is seeing, the ever-increasing destruction of our polar caps and rise of the ocean.
So there you have it: global climate change in a few short paragraphs! It is happening and will continue to happen and we will have to learn to accept whatever an angry Mother Nature chooses to throw our way. Current calculations say that even if we were to stop putting CO2 in the atmosphere today, it would take many years for the earth’s weather system to return to something similar to what currently exists. Meanwhile, storm and rain patterns will be altered, ocean temperatures will increase and we will be like children on a scary ride at the amusement park, always wondering what is around the next corner.
There is one doom’s day scenario that people need to know about now. There is an extremely large mass of frozen methane (methane Hydrate) at the bottom of many of our oceans. If oceans temperatures continue to rises, these large deposits will begin to melt, and that folks, will be the end of the world as we know it! The oceans will turn red and the air will become poisonous and flammable. As I stated, this could be brought on by the warming of earth’s oceans, which is exactly what we are doing. Maybe we better get busy terraforming Mars just in case!
Several years ago the World Bank has issued a report stating that the average temperature on our home planet, earth, is going to rise almost “ 7” degrees in the next 40 years. Many of you probably say that this is of little concern. Of course, those people living along the coast are probably not in that group. I would imagine that many people living in New Jersey and New York have joined the ranks of believers in global climate change. After several years of increasingly weird weather patterns and warming trends around the planet, many die-hard anti-global-warming people are finally beginning to see the light. Many scientists for the last 30 years have been trying to warn us of the coming change in climate brought on by the industrial revolution. The science is simple and well researched; when you add significant amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere, more of the sun’s energy is trapped on the planet. This in turn causes temperatures to rise which then causes ice caps to melt, the oceans to rise and weather patterns to shift. The one point that many people do not realize is that if the ocean temperature rises enough, there will be a release of methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. There are immense stores of methane at the bottom of our oceans which are kept in balance by very cold sea water. If ocean temperatures continue to rise, this methane will be released and life will threatened on our little blue marble, which may then become more red than blue if methane levels are high enough. Increased levels of methane have already been observed over both polar caps, especially in areas where the ice has begun to crack. If this happens, the temperature of the earth will begin to rise much faster than anyone can predict.
So, all knock-knock jokes aside, what do we do to avoid this oncoming catastrophe? The truth may not be something you want to hear. There may be precious little we can do to slow this thing down. I will use the super oil tanker analogy to explain our problem. Oil tankers have tremendous amounts of mass and because of this, when they are moving they have tremendous momentum. That’s what keeps you from slowing down a car when its moving forward. When a tanker approaches a port it begins to slow down many miles from its destination. When the captain decides he wants to make a turn, he must make his decision many miles before hand. The global warming momentum that has been generated by our carefree use of the earth’s resources is larger than anyone can imagine and is not going to come to a stop because I walk or ride my bike to work. Now, if enough people decide to park their cars, conserve energy at home, try to recycle as much as possible, we may begin to slow the super tanker, but it is going to take many years for the tanker to come to a full stop.
This does not mean we should not try to save our home. It simply means that we are going to have to dramatically change our way of living, learn to recycle everything, begin to use energy more wisely, carpool whenever possible and become friends with the earth rather than viewing our earth like a taxi, a way to get us where we are going. Of course, science has some ideas that might eventually become feasible, like scattering aluminum glitter into orbit around the earth to reflect sunlight. Throwing iron into the ocean to help plant life gobble up CO2 is another interesting ideas but these are all untested and could create other problems that we cannot anticipate at this time. In the end, it all comes back to us, the consumer. We can determine how this all unfolds by using products that are green and earth friendly. The saddest thing of all is that we humans do not generally react responsibly until our house is on fire; then and only then, do we go out to buy that fire extinguisher. As far as nature, Mother Earth or Gaia are concerned, it is simply the passing of another species who grew too big for their pants and became part of the fossil record.