Daily Archives: March 20, 2007

Is An Inconvenient Truth Really True?

Ok, I’m a global warming skeptic. I think we would all agree that smog and pollution is a bad thing. But is your car really killing the planet?

It’s really an issue of how much CO2 is too much. When does progress actually cause things to regress?

One of the reasons why I am a skeptic is that I write about environmental issues for a living and have seen green groups do and say things that just reek of too much self interest. I don’t believe that timber and chemical companies are the only entities with questionable motives at times.

A few years ago, I interviewed Dr. Patrick Moore. He is a forestry ecologist and one of the original founders of Greenpeace. Dr. Moore has turned over a new leaf and has actually began promoting the use of trees as a better environmental solution to things like plastic. You can find out more about him from www.greenspirit.com.

Dr. Moore was one of the most truly fascinating people that I have ever had the chance to interview. I will never forget his honesty about his journey at Greenpeace. I asked him when did he decide to leave? He said, “I knew that we were in trouble when we got a pension fund. We stopped being about the mission and started doing things to foster our existence as an organization.” He said the lifelong politicos hijacked the organization.

Dr. Moore was tired of always being against stuff and wanted to be for something. He felt that Greenpeace had been successful because governments and corporations were willing to come to the negotiation table. There is a time when you have to put down your hammer and pick up a pen.

I asked him about global warming. He said the following:

“The people who are saying there is no longer any need for debate are the ones who would stifle debate. They think they’re right. The fact is that there is huge discussion about global warming. There are a lot of climatologists who do not accept that humans are the definite cause of the climate change. Most of them admit that humans could be part of it or maybe some or most of it, but we don’t know that. Then there are the people who say there is a consensus among scientists that we know for sure that humans are causing this climate change and we know for sure that it will be bad.

“Those are the two different questions of course; whether or not we are causing it on the one hand and on the other hand whether or not it will be all bad. I personally believe that we don’t know if we are causing it all. But even if we assume that we are causing it, some positive impacts will result. As usual, when there’s change there are going to be winners and losers. If you focus on the losers, like a lot of people seem to be doing, then certain island states will have the water level rise, and there may be drought in other places. But there may also be deserts blooming somewhere. There may be increased fishery productivity and a whole bunch of positive things, such as, longer growing seasons, shorter winters, reduced energy requirements, and forests growing in areas that are now just tundra.

“There are all kinds of possibly positive impacts from climate change. The activist groups and a lot of political people seem to think there’s an advantage for them to be accentuating the negatives, the climate catastrophes and the climate apocalypses. They talk about global warming plunging Europe into the dark ages when, in fact, we’re in a cold period right now compared to most of the earth’s history. During much of the earth’s history there was no ice at either pole. Then there was a time hundreds of millions of years ago when it froze nearly to the equator due to a real cold period. And for the last two million years we’ve been in the Pleistocene period, otherwise known as the Ice Age.”

Now, it appears that a number of scientists have come forward to question the science behind Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Even some supporters, feel that Gore presents an over the edge depiction, basically the worst case scenario.

Among the critics is Robert Carter, a marine geologist at James Cook University, Queensland. Carter wrote, “Nowhere does Mr Gore tell his audience that all of the phenomena that he describes fall within the natural range of environmental change on our planet,” Dr Carter wrote. “Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.”

So here’s where I stand. I will work to do things to be a good steward and reduce my use of energy as much as possible. We can all probably cut our carbon footprint somewhat and not go back to the Stone Age. This is just about being a good steward. And that’s something that God has called mankind to do since the days of Adam and Eve.

But I refuse to jump on the sky is falling bandwagon. And I will remain skeptical. Why? Well, I have been burned too much in the past by experts. And we all tend to see what we want to see and overlook things that are inconvenient to our truth.

Life Sentence

Have you ever heard someone say something that made you want to go do something radical? Have you ever felt dared even though the other person was just giving his/her casual opinion? That’s how I felt today while talking with another publishing colleague.

I was talking about making a career change. He brashly asked, “How long have you been at your current position?” I said, “Seven years.” He laughed and said, “Seven years. Yep, that’s a life sentence.”

This guy is a super perceiver. That’s what makes him just a great publisher. He also knows that I am in a family business, which creates a whole different set of issues. He basically said that I had spent too many years of my life there to leave now.

Honestly, if I worked any where else, I would not publicly share my process. But I doubt that my father will fire me for going public. And I don’t plan on leaving any time soon. It will take years for me to get to a position that I could teach Old Testament studies at a major university. But I am starting to see that may be my dream.

Walking the Holy Land last year did something to me. I know that people go on foreign trips and come back with ideas of grandeur. And they always think their case is different than what other pilgrims have experienced. I wonder if I could live with myself if I didn’t take this plunge?

Why the Old Testament? Well, it is largely misunderstood and contains great depths of spiritual treasure. It is the beginning of the great mystery that we call the Gospel. I always love the previews at the movies. And the Hebrew Scriptures are the previews.

Why teaching? Because I feel God’s pleasure when I do it.

I love many aspects of what I do now. But I know that this would be the opportunity of a lifetime. Honestly, part of me may want to prove my publishing colleague wrong. And part of me may want to just try something new. But I think a big part of me wants to explore the depths of what I began to discover while in Israel.

The best story is the world is God’s story. And the seeds of the narrative are found in the Hebrew Scriptures.

I certainly don’t want to live my life wondering “What if?” That in and of itself would be a life sentence.