Monthly Archives: September 2014

Love Clouded by Fearful Respect

The secret forest by Nelleke Pieters, nelleke.deviantart.com

The secret forest by Nelleke Pieters, photo courtesy of nelleke.deviantart.com

In the introduction to Big Rock Candy Mountain, Robert Stone says that a theme in Wallace Stegner’s books is a love for Western land clouded by fearful respect. He qualifies this by stating, “Of course nature – the land itself – was everyone’s enemy as much as everyone’s provider.” It was this dichotomy that led people to try to tame nature, to bend it to their will, to harness and manipulate it to behave orderly – perhaps even predictably; but certainly not naturally. On the surface, there is nothing wrong with this thinking. Just look at the fruit this thinking has born: abundant food, modern medicine, heating and air, and water storage, to name just a few.

But if one digs a little deeper, there is something fundamentally wrong with it – at least in modern times. At the core of that mentality is fear. Sure, there are other motivators such as selfishness, greed, or arrogance and opposing values of love, responsibility, or duty. But I believe that today the root is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the unpredictable, fear of danger. Quite possibly it is a fear of death. While fear is healthy, it is dangerous if it is the only motivator, and it is reckless if it is not checked by wisdom.

Wallace Stegner said that wisdom is knowing what you have to accept. At first glance, that statement seems to be a defeated version of wisdom. But upon closer inspection and a bit of analyzing, one finds that it is a realistic, cleansed by fire kind of statement. Its quality stems from a weathered and worn human being who found it and realized that it was not a lofty ideal, but a real state that comes through trial, error, and humility. Wisdom reveals a person, a community, a culture, who has not only been tamed by life, but has quite possibly tamed him or herself or itself. They have reached a point of acceptance – of people, of nature, of death – of life. It is precisely this quality that we, and when I say we I mean Americans, lack. We think that we can cheat it, control it, or out-smart it – and that is a delusion – a dangerous delusion.

It is dangerous because when our fantasy meets an unmistakable event in reality it leads to cynicism, anger, and disbelief. This can have a good effect in that it can produce a sort of awakening to some, but in others it produces an insistent stubbornness to make the status quo work – regardless of what we know, regardless of the evidence, and often, regardless of the damage. But there is a certain antagonism that exists between us and nature, often split between two beliefs; either that the world is there for our taking and our impacts are just part of the process or that we should leave no trace, no impacts because all we do is tarnish the earth. Both beliefs are not only naïve, but fundamentally flawed because they separate us from the natural world as if we are an alien species here to either plunder or quietly observe.

This thinking presupposes a control we do not have. We think we can protect ourselves from nature while getting what we want from it. Separating ourselves from nature makes us not only other from the natural world; it disallows us to be wild creatures living in it as well. But we are still drawn to the beauty and benefits of the natural world – we want a house in the woods, on the beach, on a cliff – but none of the consequences or dangers such places expose us to. We don’t want to face wild or dangerous animals or have our house crushed by a mudslide or burned in a wildfire and so we try to remove all the dangers, place responsibility on the government or land management agencies, or building inspectors, knowing full well we made the choice to be there.

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine who happens to be a wildland firefighter. I had expressed to John a fear of fire shelters, that they seemed like body bags and came very close in my mind to being buried alive. He told me how the Missoula Technology and Development Center (MTDC) is working on new fire shelters in the aftermath of the Yarnell Fire that killed 19 firefighters. One of the new designs is heavier. He said he would not want to carry a heavier shelter; he doesn’t even want to carry the one required. His suggestion was to not carry a shelter at all, but stated it is an option that will never be considered. I felt a jolt of panic when he said that and asked why. John told me that if firefighters were given a choice to carry the shelter or not, most he knew would choose not to carry one. “They are too heavy and bulky,” he said, “most firefighters I know would rather be lighter and safer on the front end.” I realized that while I hated the idea of getting into a fire shelter, having one would make me feel safer, even if I didn’t like the idea of getting into one. I asked him if he had ever deployed a shelter. “No,” he said.

Deploying fire shelter, photo courtesy of goheroes.usa

Deploying fire shelter, photo courtesy of goheroes.usa

After a minute he says, “Do you know that Canadian wildland firefighters don’t carry fire shelters?” I did not know that. “And they have fewer deaths than we do in the U.S.” My mind grappled with that for a minute before I asked the next logical question, “Why? What is Canada doing differently?” He smiled, “They don’t fight fire as aggressively as we do. They let their fires burn and manage them. They don’t risk their lives for houses in the woods. They figure if you didn’t fire safe your house, it’s your responsibility, not the firefighters.” He paused for minute and then said, “Firefighting in the U.S. is political.” Houses in the woods, I thought. Those with the most money, the most clout, and the loudest voices get the most resources sent their way to protect their views and their assets – and guilt-free because the firefighters are equipped with fire shelters as a last defense against getting burned to death.

I did a quick search on the internet to see if I could find some information on Canada and wildfires. I did find that they don’t carry fire shelters; instead they have decided to focus on safety and communications. They just don’t go into dangerous situations and believe that better communications is better at saving lives than fire shelters (1). I also looked at the statistics on fire deaths. According to the records, there have been some 165 reported wildland fire suppression related fatalities in Canada over the past 70 years. This represents an average of at least two fatalities per year. There were no known fatalities reported in 23 of those 70 years. The maximum number of fatalities (16) in any given year occurred in 1955 in British Columbia, which also incurred 45% of the 132 firefighter deaths reported in Canada from 1941 to 1990 (2). In the U.S. the annual death toll for persons who died during wildland fire operations from 1990 to 2006 was 310 total deaths (3). The comparison is staggering. The U.S. has near double the deaths in a quarter of the time as Canada. Why?

One could argue that we are trying to protect our resources, or livelihoods, or communities built in the wildland urban interface, but should we? Perhaps we have created scenarios that put ourselves at unnecessary risk and for unnecessary reasons. “We should manage fire like the Native Americans do,” John had said, “They know the benefits of fire and work with it rather than against it and as a result they have the healthiest forests and the healthiest wildlife. They were the first to discover the benefits of fire, did you know that?” he had asked. I did know that. I knew enough about fire ecology to know the benefits to an ecosystem, that fire is a natural cleansing agent. I also knew that the land management agencies had shifted policies from suppression to management for ecosystem health – but there was still the politics. Something I had read from Wendell Berry came to mind,

“The world of efficiency ignores love because by definition, it must reduce experience to computation. Efficiency, in our present sense of the word, allies itself inevitably with machinery, as Neil Postman demonstrates in his useful book, Technopoly. `Machines, he says, eliminate complexity, doubt, and ambiguity. They work swiftly, they are standardized, and they provide us with numbers that you can see and calculate with.’ To reason, the advantages are obvious, and probably no reasonable person would wish to reject them out of hand.

Logically, in plentitude some things ought to be expendable. Industrial economics has always believed this: abundance justifies waste. This is one of the dominant superstitions of American history – and of the history of colonialism everywhere. Expendability is also an assumption of the world of efficiency, which is why that world deals so compulsively with percentages and safety.

And yet love ostensibly answers that no loved one is standardized. A body, love insists, is neither a spirit nor a machine; it is not a picture, a diagram, a chart, a graph, an anatomy; it is not an explanation; it is not a law. It is precisely and uniquely what it is. It belongs to the world of love, which is a world of living creatures, natural orders and cycles, many small, fragile lights in the dark.

In the world of love, things separated by efficiency and specialization strive to come back together. And yet love must confront death, and accept it, and learn from it. Only in confronting death can earthly love learn its true extent, its immortality. Any definition of health that is not silly must include death. The world of love includes death, suffers it, and triumphs over it. The world of efficiency is defeated by death: at death, all its instruments and procedures stop. The world of love continues, and of this grief is the proof. (4).”

What is it that we value when it comes to human and natural resources? When we look at our lands and all that they hold, do we do so with the requisite humility? Do we see ourselves as a part of it or separate from it? Do we look at it as a commodity with expendable parts where we divvy out worthwhile species, valuable commodities, and accept the loss of less valuable parts in exchange for the valuable ones? Are the lives of firefighters an acceptable loss as long as we equipped them with emergency gear? Is one life worth a house built in the woods? If we break it down to insurance policies, mitigating lawsuits, controlling public perceptions, and spurring a sector of the economy – is their loss acceptable? In weighing the pros and cons, the percentages and statistics, is it mathematical enough to sustain our paradigm without any associated guilt?

Living includes risk. The world we live in is dangerous, unpredictable, and violent – but it is also life giving, stunning, and soul nourishing. We cannot incubate ourselves enough, or control nature enough to live without any threat of danger or death – nor should we. As they say, you cannot reap the benefits without incurring some risk. I am not sure what makes us think we should be immune from tragedy and death. The world owes us nothing. We have no right, as Wendell Berry stated, to ask the world to conform to our desires. Death is a part of life. Tragic, yes, but not unnatural. Firefighters accept the risks inherent in wildand firefighting, but do we have to accept an aggressive level of fighting fire that is less safe but tolerated due to technological advances in fire shelter design? It may excuse us of their deaths when it comes to public perceptions or political fallout – but is it a calculated and acceptable expense? And to what end? Are 300 lives saved by fire shelters enough to assuage our conscience that 300 lives were lost due to aggressive firefighting tactics?

redwoods national park

Redwoods National Park, photo courtesy of thosedamamericans.com

We can ask the same questions about our forests, and we should. What are we managing them for, and to what end, and how long is the timeline? As we should manage our human resources responsibly, so should we manage our natural resources – even if that means managing a fire rather than suppressing it. This is not to say that we can’t use our lands and forests, enjoy them, and try to live in them – but it does mean that we must recognize that our choices have consequences that are often bigger or more important than our individual desires. No one likes to look at burn scars on mountains. They are ugly and replace something that was beautiful, but with that death comes rebirth and a new and healthy forest – in time. Lightning and forest fires have existed long before we ever had firefighters. It is natural. What may not be natural is building communities in the woods and expecting to be exempt from the natural phenomenon that occurs in such places.

Everyone wants to mitigate risk, and we should, but it should be done with humility, respect, and wisdom. When we start to see ourselves as part of the world, it becomes us – our identity – and we treat it as such. When we do that, we learn to engage the world with love clouded by fearful respect. In other words, we join it and engage it as the parts of it it that we are. We may even take responsibility for our place in it. When we operate from that paradigm, it will be the beginning of living from a place of acceptance rather than fear and out of respect rather than cost benefit analysis.

Sources:

(1) CBS news, Why emergency fire shelters aren’t used in Canada: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/why-emergency-fire-shelters-aren-t-used-in-canada-1.1319366

(2) Martin E. Alexander & Paul  Buxton-Carr, Wildland fire suppression related fatalities in Canada, 1941-2010: a preliminary report: http://www.ciffc.ca/images/stories/docs/Alexander_and_Buxton-Carr_%282011%29_Wildland_Fire_Safety_Summit.pdf

(3) National Wildfire Coordinating Group: http://www.nwcg.gov/pms/pubs/pms841/pms841_all-72dpi.pdf

(4) Wendell Berry, Another Turn of the Crank.

Michelle’s Coconut Chicken Curry with a Twist

I am one of those “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” types, so once I find something I like, I stick with it whether it is a car, a doctor, or a recipe. This recipe is one of those that is so good I have not ventured out to try something new – it’s that good. That being said, I put my own twist on it and have not deviated much since. If you don’t already have your own tried and true curry recipe, check this one out. If you do have one, share, but try this one too – It’s a keeper.

Curry 1

Curry with a Twist

2 Tbsp coconut oil (or olive, vegetable, what ever your preference)

1 white onion

1 green pepper

3 carrots

1 Idaho potato (can substitute russet or gold)

4 Tbsp chopped garlic

1 pound chicken breast

4 Tbsp yellow curry powder

1 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp cummin

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp garlic salt

Fresh basil (or dried basil if you don’t have fresh. I put in roughly 2 Tbsp fresh basil, or 1 Tbsp dried)

Squeeze of lemon

1 (14 oz) can of coconut milk

1/3 cup of chicken stock/broth

** 1/2 Tbsp Cayenne pepper (or adjusted/left out) **

** I add 1 chicken bouillon cube also, but it can be left out **

Curry 2

Garden Fresh Basil

Curry 3

Special Ingredient

1. Boil or steam the carrots and potato until tender. Put oil in the pan and cook the chicken while the vegetables are cooking. Shred the chicken. When the chicken is tender take it out and place on plate. Add some oil and stir in garlic, onion and pepper. Add the carrots and potato when they are tender. Then add the chicken back in.

2. Add all spices and pour in the coconut milk and chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Serve over steamed rice. ** Do not over cook the vegetables or they will end up too soggy or soft. **

3. Enjoy. Great as leftovers.

The original recipe can be found at: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/michelles-coconut-chicken-curry/detail.aspx

The Theology of Climate Change Denial

climate-change

Photo courtesy of Scientific American

Let me say outright that I am not interested in this post in trying to prove climate change to anyone. I frankly find such debates exhausting. If you want to know what I think of climate change, you can find some of my posts here and here. And if you want to read a more serious and academic version of these arguments, you can read an essay I published in Interdisciplinary Studies of Literature and the Environment. More importantly, if you want a primer on the science from a reputable resource, take twenty minutes and watch this excellent video from the National Academy of Sciences.

What I am interested in, however, is the reasoning, particularly the theological reasoning, I often hear used to support climate change denial. I have heard over the years various arguments made by deniers that appeal to an idea of the universe in which human-caused climate change just can’t exist. The theology goes something like this:

God alone controls the natural world. To imagine that human beings are capable of damaging the environment on a planetary scale is absurd. Sure, we can ruin a stream, pollute the air, and we might even endanger a species now and then, but the very idea that we have the power to influence something as complex and global as the climate and perhaps even endanger all of life as we know it and especially our own livelihoods flies in the face of everything we know about God and his plans for us and this planet. Least of all if what causes this damage are emissions and not sins! Why should we imagine that fossil fuels, which have enabled so much good for so long for so many, are now a scourge? There is nothing quite like climate change in the Bible, for example. In the Bible we see God punishing the wicked by cursing the earth under their feet. Similarly he blesses it for the sake of the righteous. And we might imagine that natural cycles too were part of history. But it is never human action that directly creates environmental problems. Environmental problems are secondary symptoms of such sins as immorality, worship of false gods, and the like, or they might be the natural outgrowth of natural processes, but we never read of instances of human behavior directly compromising the health of the environment. And to imagine that this could happen on a global scale, where millions of people collectively influence and damage a climate and harm millions of others would make individual accountability simply too difficult to trace, so there must be some other explanation for problems we see. Perhaps God is punishing us. Perhaps nature is just being nature, and we just have to accept it. Perhaps it isn’t happening at all. But it simply cannot be something we are directly causing.

If you want to read one version of this theology, you can find an argument here in an Op-Ed in my local paper. What is striking about the author’s argument is that there simply are only two explanations for natural events: they are either caused by God or by natural law. They are never, in other words, unnaturally caused by human interference in ecosystems. And this is despite the fact that she lives in a valley choked by so much pollution that it has caused a dramatic uptick in rates of asthma and heart and lung disease. This is a scientific fact. One of the world’s leaders in understanding the link between pollution and public health is Arden Pope, a professor at BYU, who was able to establish this science because Utah Valley provides an ideal scenario to study the effects of spikes in pollution on an otherwise quite healthy and largely non-smoking population. The elderly, the young, and the pregnant, it turns out, are the primary victims of this pollution. Are we to believe these effects have no human causes or that we bear no responsibility? Maybe pollution is God’s curse for our sinfulness but it isn’t as if he had to create a big brown cloud of bad air and hurl it down upon us. Like all forms of environmental change we have instigated, we brought it on ourselves, and as a result, the innocent and vulnerable are suffering. The fact is, environmental problems have huge collateral damage. If you and I won’t take responsibility for this, who will?

But this is just a small sample. To believe that only God or nature can cause environmental change, we would have to ignore virtually all of human history which is rife with stories of environmental excess. We have plenty of evidence to suggest that human-caused environmental degradation explains societal collapse. Environmental degradation is surely a symptom of sin. When people consume more than they need, when they are indifferent to the plight of the poor and the most vulnerable, when they are indifferent to their fellow humans and to God’s creations and greedily pursue more and more, the environment loses capacity to support all life.

But for some reason denial simply cannot accommodate such logical and theological possibilities. Now, granted, deniers claim the science is totally bogus, but you won’t hear them citing scientific evidence to establish their claim and that’s because such evidence doesn’t exist. That’s right. There isn’t a single scientific society that purports to have sufficient evidence to overturn climate science. Questions and doubts about the research and aspersions about the integrity and honesty of researchers certainly exist, but they do not constitute evidence. They simply create doubts about findings. And once you become convinced that the very process of research is corrupt, then you don’t have to listen to the science at all. That’s very convenient except for the fact that it is also hypocritical. I don’t see the same level of distrust for, say, good old American government sponsored cancer research or space research. Or, for that matter, what about healthy distrust of the petroleum industry that funds much of these efforts at denial? So what gives?

Photo courtesy of vassaltheking.blogspot

Photo courtesy of vassaltheking.blogspot

It’s theology and bad theology at that. It might be hard to accept, but the fact is that there are many phenomena today for which we have no biblical precedent. I am thinking of human trafficking, acid rain, or environmentally caused cancers, depletion of the ozone layer, contamination of ground water, to name just a few examples. Heck, the list is pretty long. That is not to say that the Bible isn’t relevant. It is highly relevant, precisely because of the principles of respect, integrity, equity, honesty, judgment, and justice that the Bible espouses and that would go a long way in redressing such problems. But it also seems that at least for one segment of our society, climate change offends their very idea of God. I guess I have a hard time believing in the same Bible they do. What I read teaches over and over again that the earth’s capacity to support life is directly connected to human agency. Why else are we commanded to respect the Creation and to be good stewards over it? Why should we be given dominion and responsibility for the whole of the earth if it is true that we are not capable of harming it? Why would God care what we did to the environment if we can never influence it? Why so much attention in the Bible to how we eat, how we dress, how we labor, and how we treat the poor, if it simply doesn’t matter how or when or why we use natural resources?

Let’s just take the Sabbath Day as one example. Honoring the Sabbath Day was instituted as a way of recognizing the creation and the need to give the land a rest from our interference, and to honor and thank and respect the bounty we receive from it. When we observe the Sabbath, we recognize that its bounty are not things we earn but are gifts of God, evidence of his grace. And it seems to have environmental benefits to follow this spirit of humility in the commandment. For Mormons, this should be even more obvious because Section 59 of the Doctrine and Covenants makes it plainly clear that we are promised the bounty of the earth as a gift for which we must show proper gratitude by careful observance of the Sabbath and of fasting. And it warns explicitly about using natural resources “with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.”

Granted, these verses don’t prove that climate change is real and human-caused. That’s not my point. But they do demonstrate the Lord’s profound concern for our proper treatment of the earth. It is a moral issue for him and if so, it’s apparently because we are capable of messing it up. I hear deniers admit that they at least believe in stewardship, but then it astounds me how quickly and flippantly they dismiss science or claim their own science. We can’t make up facts and we can’t cherry pick evidence. If we are serious about stewardship, we should be serious about knowing science. To do otherwise is irresponsible. You can’t claim you are a good steward of your own body if you don’t know the first thing about how it works, what it needs, what harms or what helps it. I am not surprised to hear deniers spout theories that don’t reflect even the most superficial understandings of climate science. When Sean Hannity makes fun of a snowstorm in Houston, you can be pretty sure you are listening to ideology, not science. When people claim history is full of climate change so therefore what we are seeing now cannot be human-caused, they aren’t even using good logic, let alone science.

There has never been a generation in the history of the world that has had a better opportunity to understand the causes and depth of our impact on the world. What a crying shame it is to see such knowledge mocked and disparaged, even though our science is also what we rely on everyday to enjoy our American standard of living. To enjoy the fruits of our economy while we disparage the science that built it is unconscionable. Why did Brigham Young teach that scientific discoveries are part of the ongoing restoration of all truth if we are to ignore such findings? Surely we can’t ignore science and then claim, when we do our damage, that we didn’t know any better. Maybe we didn’t want to know, but we certainly had a chance.

The Word of Wisdom warns about “conspiring men” in the last days who will presumably wish to distort facts about our health and the health of the earth so lovingly described in the revelation. It has been well documented that the same folks who worked hard to deny links between smoking and cancer have also worked hard to deny climate change. The Word of Wisdom teaches to eat meat sparingly and to remember that the earth is intended to feed all of life, including domestic and wild animals. Does it not interest us to know that such industries as the cattle industry and the petroleum industry are deeply involved in climate change denial and are also responsible for enormous levels of environmental degradation? What does our society tell us? It says:

Eat lots of meat. Eat whatever you want, whenever you want, as fast as you want it, at whatever cost, from whatever distance. Drive lots of cars. Build more roads. Buy things. Buy more than you need. Whatever technology allows us to do, you should do. It’s all good for the economy and, in the long run, for the poor, so you can consume with categorical impunity.

According to this accepted logic, there is never anything wrong with being a consumer in the global economy; it’s a virtue to consume more than the next guy. That is what every industry wants you to believe. And these would be interesting ideas to consider as a Christian, except for the inconvenient fact that they have never been supported by biblical ethics, not to mention that we now know these are the very things that are causing us to emit so much carbon into our atmosphere. A Christian economy is a moral economy and it matters what we eat, how we eat, what and how much we consume, and why. And our obligation is to the foreigner, the stranger, the poor and the vulnerable, and to God himself. And to imagine that we can watch while biodiversity collapses on this planet and the earth’s capacity to regulate the climate is compromised to such a degree that millions of the poor are threatened and somehow convince ourselves that these things are not happening, or that they are the will of God, or that they are merely natural and have no relationship whatsoever to our own agency, well, I don’t know how we can call such an attitude even remotely Christian. A denial I could respect would at least be based in a commitment to living up to the highest standards of material modesty, concern for the poor, and respect for all of life that I find everywhere expressed in Christianity. However, if such were the truly cherished values of conservatism, then Christian conservatives couldn’t help but be the most ardent conservationists. Some Christian conservatives get it. But unfortunately they aren’t the ones getting elected or hired or heeded.

To read more by George Handley check out his blog at Patheos, Hosting the conservation on faith: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/homewaters/2014/08/the-theology-of-climate-change-denial.html#ixzz3CFxuMBPH

The Theology of Climate Change Denial by George Handley, An Introduction

Photo courtesy of law.utah.edu

Photo courtesy of The University of Utah Stegner Center: http://www.today.law.utah.edu

Religion is the greatest hope we have in solving environmental problems. This might sound extreme or wrong and you might want to argue the point with me, but let me explain. If you look at the heart of environmentalism, it is a moral issue; a moral imperative that calls into question the way we live and how our economy drives it and bucks the new American Dream. Not the American Dream where we can all rise as high as we are willing to work, but the American Dream of consumerism and consumption.

What environmentalism calls into question is the new global economy and no one wants to hear that because the economy is king. But if we were to be honest, we would acknowledge that environmentalism is the most urgent and persistent ethical dilemma of this century precisely become of our economic values. To paraphrase the purpose behind the National Environmental Policy Act explained in the 96th Congressional notes of record, we can no longer ignore the science, the effects of our actions, and the subsequent consequences for humanity (1). The National Environmental Policy Act was meant to protect humanity from itself. Religion does the same thing. It has guidelines for how to protect you from yourself, from others, and others from you. It is a moral code. Environmentalism just requires one to expand that moral code to encompass more, to connect dots that we previously hadn’t.

While there are many who want to leave religion out of environmentalism and just look at the facts, which is noble if you are swayed that way, the fact of the matter is, science does not answer the moral question. While it provides information and knowledge about cause and effect, it does not answer why we should do something or behave a certain way. Religion does. Religion has the most potential to change attitudes and minds about environmentalism and climate change because it is the source for moral and ethical behavior for millions of people. It already addresses caring for the poor, living selfless lives, and not worshiping money – all of which are also at the heart of environmentalism. Because of this, religion is also the antithesis to the New American Dream. It is so closely aligned with environmentalism that if the two combined it could be the ultimate game changer, the unstoppable movement that turns the tides on how we live in the world and how we define living a moral or good life.

George Handley is a very good friend of mine. He is a humanities professor at Brigham Young University, an environmentalist, and yes, a devout Mormon. He is also a Democrat. In other words, he is a bit of an anomaly in these parts. While George is a religious person, and I am not so much, we have more in common than one might believe, and I believe this is true of most of us – despite our differences. George and I do not share the same beliefs on all things, but we share a lot of common ground. George is an outstanding, conscientious, and genuinely good man. I have been blessed to know and call him a friend. We have had great conversations, all of which have been enlightening for me. I hope this blog post that I am about to share will be as enlightening to you as it was to me and if you feel so inclined, compels you to write, share, or engage in. He articulates and explains so well the moral blind spot so evident from the religious community when it comes to climate change – and the schism between religion and ideology and why it should be different. Enjoy.

“There has never been a generation in the history of the world that has had a better opportunity to understand the causes and depth of our impact on the world. What a crying shame it is to see such knowledge mocked and disparaged, even though our science is also what we rely on everyday to enjoy our American standard of living. To enjoy the fruits of our economy while we disparage the science that built it is unconscionable… Surely we can’t ignore science and then claim,   when we do our damage, that we didn’t know any better. Maybe we didn’t want to know, but we certainly had a chance.” ~ George Handley

“Today we have the option of channeling some of our wealth into the protection of our future. If we fail to do this in an adequate and timely manner, we may find ourselves confronted, even in this generation, with an environmental catastrophe that could render our wealth meaningless and which no amount of money could ever cure.” ~91st Congress, NEPA

 

 (1) 91st Senate Report No. 91-296 The National Environmental Policy Act: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CCsQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fta.dot.gov%2Fdocuments%2FUnit1_04SenateReport91-2961.doc&ei=YRoGVJfkGYGkyATy8oHIDw&usg=AFQjCNH0USSo6ghEJI7yThoAB7Xl3735jg&sig2=LKCc70_ibQaZPpyrQP4qYA

 

 

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