Twin Devils (part 2) – In the Hopeful Season of Advent

In a second scenario, I imagine my teenaged grandchild asking me this question, “Grandpa, you’re a scientist and a priest, what did you do to prevent all those people who deny human-caused climate change from causing all the problems we have today?”   I have mentioned this before, but, at least in one sense, scientists are incredibly conservative.  Why would someone who worked super hard to get to a respected position in the scientific academy be willing to throw all that away in exchange for taking a position that could not be substantiated?  Is it likely that 2,000 scientists from respected universities around the globe all be willing to drink the Kool Aid of public scorn and ridicule? I have also said this before, but it bears repeating.  Climate change is not a matter of personal belief.  Religion is.  If someone wants to say they disagree with 2,000 top scientists, then the person who disagrees needs to develop and publish the mathematics and the models that take the past data and use it to predict the weather.  You start this process by showing that your models and math take old observations and predict more recent observations.  Once your model works on hard data from the past, you can then use it to make future predictions.  To date, not a single scientific model has been put forward that seriously challenges the conclusions of the scientific consensus on climate change.    If that ever happens, I would be willing to change my position.  But saying “I don’t believe it” doesn’t make “it” false.  For true, “natural systems” not subject to man-made forcing, it takes tens of thousands of years to push global climate into a different cycle, colder or warmer.  This time, the change is taking place extremely rapidly.  Technology is not likely to save us by removing CO2 from the oceans and atmosphere.  Getting the planet back to the weather of the 1990s could easily take thousands of years.  This is an epic problem of biblical proportions.  We cannot wave it away with our hands (or mouths).   As a religious leader and a scientist, I am obligated to share what I know in the same way as if someone who sees a fire in a theatre should cry “fire” for everyone’s benefit.  This may be an unpopular opinion in oil-rich Oklahoma, but ethics and doing the right thing should never be swayed by popularity.  That is the problem with the Internet.   Since college, I have taken personal steps to minimize my impact on the planet.  Now I invite you to be a personal part of minimizing humanity’s impact on global weather:

  • Reduce your use of gasoline-powered vehicles – share rides, ride a bicycle, walk, take the bus
  • Drive a fuel-efficient vehicle. Keep tires properly inflated.  Keep the engine tuned. 
  • Fill your tank at night or early morning
  • Avoid aggressive driving
  • Use cruise control on highways
  • Reduce air travel. Travel economy class by air.
  • Insulate and seal your home
  • Use energy-efficient appliances
  • Use energy-efficient lights
  • Keep thermostat below 68 in winter. Above 75 in summer
  • Use solar for domestic hot water and heating
  • Reuse and recycle (especially plastics)
  • Eat less meat. Reduce food waste
  • Do not encourage ignorant platitudes

  It is my duty to warn and to teach.  In the future, I may do more.  At least I can look my future grandchild in the eye and say, “I did what I could.”