Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth Day 09

For Earth Day (yesterday), I didn't dress up like a Siberian Tiger or a Nene (Goose) to take part in a parade. I didn't pay homage to Gaia or talk nonsense about the earth itself as a living thing.

What I did was pretty much what I do most days. I monitored wildlife in order to assess the optimal placement of wind turbines for generating cleaner energy than that upon which we are currently dependent.

Oh, but wait! At this point I also need to point out that I am not worried about anthropogenic global warming (or global climate change). As a reasonably rational being, I easily see through arguments that begin "there is no debate among scientists about..." As a scientist myself, I am well aware of the very intense disagreement among climatologists about whether the climate is changing at a rate and on a scale that should cause concern, as well as about whether what humans do has any significant effect on such things. I also recognize when issues like this one have left the realm of rational discussion in order to serve very specific political purposes. It is only when the solutions proposed are clearly far worse than the perceived problems that I start to get a bit upset. But I've gotten away from what I was saying.

I feel privileged and blessed to be able to--as my way of making a living--study the Earth and its inhabitants and to have a say in the wise stewardship of these things. Yes, I'm an ecologist (one who studies living things and their relationships with other living and non-living things). I'm also an environmentalist, if by that we mean one who feels called to care about the environment, to be conservative rather than wasteful, to be intentional and deliberate about the effects of our actions on the Earth and its inhabitants.

But relative to many who are more outspoken about these issues, I have a cogent and coherent rationale for caring about the environment. I'm a Christian, who recognizes the Earth and all life as the very good creations of a loving, transcendent God. For me, to be uncaring, unthinking, or wasteful when it comes to the creation is to dishonor the Creator.

But where I really part company with many modern environmentalists is with regard to humanity. Where they see people only as environmental problems, I recognize in our species the only hope of solutions. And that's because we are unique among God's creatures in being made in His image, as rational beings capable of caring, and of devising solutions to complex problems.

So, for very good reasons, I try to do my part (and more), and live in daily gratitude for the optimal universe and Earth that Christ designed and for the diverse and marvelous life with which He allows us to share them. In that regard, I spent Earth Day much as I do every day. I've found it's a good way to live.


Av8torBob said...

Well said, Rick. What a great way to view the issue and promote stewardship above idolatry. I really appreciate your thoughts here ... as always.


D. K. Stangeland said...

Thanks Rick. This is insightful and honest and the best way to celebrate the earth that the Creator has made.