Losers are part of the plan
As far as many politicians and voters are concerned, “going green” is the equivalent of “motherhood and apple pie.” Typically, the “transiti...
Fossil fuels are essential to the modern world
“Magical” thinking won’t provide us with the energy we need **** Concern about climate change has reached a fever pitch with Canada’s Enviro...
Chip and Joanna Gaines and global warming
When Fixer Upper’s Chip and Joanna Gaines announced earlier this month that they were pregnant with child number five, the congratulations rolled in. Thousands of encouraging messages flooded the home-improvement-show hosts’ Twitter and Facebook pages. But over at CBC.ca there was one voice of dissent, notable for the objection she raised. In her article “It shouldn’t be taboo to criticize parents for having too many kids” Kristen Pyszczyk characterized the Gaines’ decision to have baby #5 as “a choice that affects everyone who inhabits our planet.” Yes, she was making the case that, due to the threat of climate change, the Gaines’ newest little one shouldn’t be seen as a blessing: “Procreation is becoming a global public health concern, rather than a personal decision. So when people do irresponsible things like having five children, we absolutely need to be calling them out.” Pyszczyk gets some facts wrong – she claims that “populations are multiplying exponentially” and they simply aren’t. But Christians don’t need to know the latest statistics to see through her argument. We just need to know our Bibles. It’s there we find that procreation isn’t a “public heath concern” and large families aren’t a problem. Children are a blessing, not a curse (Ps. 113:9, Ps. 127:3-5, Deut. 7:13, Gen. 48:4, etc.) But what of the increasing numbers of mouths to feed that Pyszczyk is worried about? Well, her worldview blinds her to the full truth. Yes, children come with their own carbon footprint, and a mouth that needs filling, but they also come with two hands to work, and a brain to dream up innovations. And as Solomon teaches us, we can “sharpen” one another (Prov. 27:17). Why have we seen so many technological leaps this past century? Because we have more minds on the planet than ever before, and that means all the more opportunities for one to sharpen another. We are not just consumers but producers and innovators too. The reason this matters is because Pyszczyk’s short-sighted “children as a concern” narrative isn’t just a minor mistake. This perspective has been a major justification for abortion, which, over the last half century, has killed hundreds of millions. So it’s vital, then, that we teach the world to see children as God sees them. We can do that by congratulating families, like the Gaines, who are blessed with growing families, and we can do so by, when God allows, embracing that blessing ourselves....
Science - Environment
The Poor: why we can't let the Global Warming debate be over
It’s been 25 years now since Vice President Al Gore famously declared “Only an insignificant fraction of scientists deny the Global Warming crisis. The time for debate is over.” Is it different now? We’re still being told the time for talking is done, and yet “warming” has become disputable enough to necessitate a rebranding – now it’s the “Climate Change” debate that’s over. This is a brilliant rhetorical move in so far as climate change is indisputable – as Heraclitus declared, the one constant in life is change. Despite what we’re being told there is still a lot to discuss. Think it’s a given that we should spend trillions to slow global warming? It’s nowhere near that simple, as E. Calvin Beisner* pointed out in an article last May – there are an “enormous range of opinions among scholars about: • how each of the thousands of subsystems of the climate system will respond to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. • how much warming will come from the added CO2. • how much harm and benefit will come from that warming. • how much benefit will come from the fertilizing effect of rising CO2 on almost all plants. • how to balance those harms and benefits against the benefits of the energy derived from fossil fuels; and • what would be the costs and benefits of efforts to reduce CO2 emissions by substituting other energy sources for fossil fuels” He continued: Earth’s climate system is one of the most complex natural systems ever studied. It consists of thousands of subsystems — feedback mechanisms — most of which we still don’t understand. We don’t know how strong they are or in some cases even whether they increase or decrease warming or the balance of benefits and harms from it. Providing energy to everyone is one of the most complex activities ever undertaken. The cost of reducing fossil fuel use — which now delivers about 85% of all energy in the world — is scores of trillions of dollars that could be used otherwise with far more benefit. This brings us to a key point for Christians to consider: how are the poor being impacted? We have to speak up for them, because they seem to be forgotten in all of this. To underscore just how important it is that we speak up for them, let's remember what happened the last time the United Nations wanted to solve a world crisis. Starting in 1969 the United Nations Population Fund warned the world about the dangers of overpopulation - we were going to run out of food, out of space, and out of resources! As a result of this fear-mongering, millions of children around the world were aborted. In China many mothers were forced to do it, due to China's one-child policy, but in the West it was sometimes a terribly misdirected sense of nobility that drove women to abort, rather than bring another child into a world they were told was crowded to capacity. Except it wasn't, and isn't. Overpopulation was a myth. That's obvious today, as countries like China, Japan, Russia, are already dealing with a different type of population crisis – they have shrinking populations, leaving an increasing number of old people, and fewer and fewer young people to care for them. Even western nations like Germany, Canada, and the United States may start to decline in the not too distant future. This was the crisis that never was. Millions were killed for no reason at all. And Christians should have seen through it from the start. How could we have known? Because God tells us children are a blessing (Ps. 127:3) but overpopulation proponents treated them as more like a curse. When it comes to Climate Change, God gives us clear guidance in His Word once again. No matter what you think of Global Warming – no matter what degree you think it is, or is not, happening – the one thing all Christians can agree on is that we must not oppress the poor (Prov. 14:31). So when we craft climate change policies then we need to ask, how will the world's poorest deal with the rising energy costs, and the rising food costs that come with them? If we help the planet, but hurt the poor, is that a good tradeoff? It's nice to talk about renewable energy, but that's remains expensive and intermittent. How might the poor in Africa, or Asia, or South America be helped if they had access to cheap, reliable fossil fuels? And if we're going to spend trillions to fight carbon emissions, shouldn't we consider what might offer us a better return on that money? How many lives could be saved if we spent those trillions another way? How many millions could be saved with access to clean drinking water? Or a cure for malaria? Or access to housing? Or by the employment opportunities created by natural resource development? We're being told the debate is over but for the sake of the world’s poorest we can't let it be. * E. Calvin Beisner will be the feature speaker for Reformed Perspective's 2017 Spring Tour "The Grass is Greener." He is the author of books on economics, the Trinity, the Psalms, as well as environmental policy, and he is the spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation....
Adult non-fiction, Book Reviews
The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels
by Alex Epstein 209 pages / 2014 Author Alex Epstein challenges society’s negative view of fossil fuels by asking us to also consider the positives. He argues that, “energy is ability – because energy can help us do anything better” and “make the world a better place . . . for human beings.” Throughout the book Epstein exposes the unreliability and unaffordability involved in alternative energies (with the possible exception of nuclear energy in the future), he repeatedly emphasizes the importance of making human life our measure of something’s value, and he shows how fossil fuel consumption has actually led to improved water quality, less disease, and cleaner air – fossil fuels are moral because they have improved human life! One caution: though not critical to his argument, the author is seemingly not Christian, as is evidenced by references to “Mother Earth,” and one silly quote from Ayn Rand in which having “half naked women” about the house is lauded. That said, this book is a must-read for those working in the energy industry, a should-read for those pursuing science degrees, and a good-read for all who are interested in developing a realistic, big-picture approach toward environmental stewardship, sustainable energy, and industrial progress and development. ...
Documentary, Movie Reviews
Documentary 88 minutes / 2010 Rating: 8/10 Bjorn Lomborg is an agnostic, homosexual, vegetarian, environmentalist who believes that man-caused global warming is happening and is a significant problem. I stand opposed to his views of God, sexuality, and food choices, and am a good deal more skeptical about the impact of man on the warming of the planet. However, I love this documentary and highly recommend it because of the one point on which we both agree: Man is the pinnacle of creation (Gen. 1:26-27, Ps. 8:3-9). Agnostic Lomborg doesn’t put it that way, but nonetheless, it is this understanding that drives his approach to climate change. So in the film, we see He gathered a group of Nobel Prize winners to discuss “where can we do the most good?” His proposed solutions have, as their measure, how many people can be saved with this approach, versus how many might be saved versus another. This Man-is-more-important-than-Nature approach has made him enemies and set him sharply apart from climate change proponents behind the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Accord. But it matches up with God’s priorities. This should be watched not so much for the specific solutions it proposes, but rather for the different way of thinking – the right way of thinking! – that undergirds what Lomborg is proposing. Check out the trailer below. ...