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Rick Edmund
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Rick Edmund

Rick Edmund is a United Methodist church pastor in Maryland. He resides on Smith Island, which has been impacted by rising sea-level and in 2007 testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment about climate change and the Chesapeake Bay. ALL POSTS

Plenty of blame to go around

Who's to blame? Probably all of us. The biggest stumbling block to a general consensus one way or the other about human influenced climate change is that most of us have a preconceived opinion one way or the other. We choose or reject data and theories based on our existing beliefs and don't allow ourselves to be open to changing our minds. That style of thinking is a bad way to use the Bible to defend our stance on a social or moral issue, and it's a bad way to do science. At one time many slave owners tried to justify slavery based on scripture chosen to validate their views. But slavery is a clear cut case compared to the complexities of global warming, and until we get a vast majority of humanity believing that we are in real danger, it will be very difficult for the majority of countries to take a real stand on this issue.

On the environmental side, the Chesapeake Bay is one of many spots around the world where jellyfish are swarming. The migration toward usually cooler areas and a large increase in a significant number of species is seen as a sign of global warming by some scientists and lay persons. But for those whose interests lie in a non-influenced climate can look at the same data and see a normal fluctuation of nature.

The shaky economy and business interests are other factors which drive much of the world's thinking. The American Chamber of Commerce depends on businesses succeeding, and so any legislation that hinders that with taxes or penalties of any sort will be rejected, perhaps regardless of how individuals feel about global warming. One also has to see a real possibility of success before investing in legislation or a treaty which will have long term consequences in the way we do business, and conduct our lives.

Let's not lose heart in our resolve to respect the earth as part of God's creation. Maybe this delay in a solid treaty will allow our Congress to come up with a meaningful piece of legislation, and for other countries to firm up their stance as well. What we can't afford to do is to wander almost aimlessly until the preponderance of evidence is overwhelming - for then it may well be too late.

By Rick Edmund  |  November 19, 2009; 8:52 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg     Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Yesterday is not the issue; tomorrow is. | Next: Blame reality

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