Our Dying World
One of this summer’s hottest topics has been global warming. Politicians have grafted the subject into their political platforms; the voices of the scientists declaring the advent of global warming are penetrating more minds; the mainstream media are paying the subject a lot of attention. But as the media and politicians weigh in on the subject, it has become highly contested and highly politicized.
Many politicians are probably genuinely concerned about the issue, but how many are simply using it as a political weapon to maim the opposition? Many scientists firmly believe in the detrimental impact global warming is having on our environment; other scientists don’t. How serious is the problem? Politics has clouded the issue so much that answering this question has become incredibly difficult.
But there is clarity buried in the confusion about global warming and its impact on the environment if we are prepared to set aside politics and accept two facts. Fact one: Planet-wide environmental degradation is occurring and is a serious concern. Fact two: Global warming is not the root cause of this environmental degradation. Global warming (whether it is real or not) is a relatively inconsequential component of a much more dire issue—as this article will show.
First, look at the extent of global environmental degradation by simply reviewing the natural catastrophes occurring around the world. Whether they are caused by global warming or not, each of these crises is real and unfolding right now.
Look at Europe. This summer, Britain and much of continental Europe were wracked with devastatingly hot and dry conditions that ruined large swaths of cropland. British gardeners were warned in September that the English country garden will be a memory of the past within 20 years. In Italy, melting glaciers mean that skiers will soon have to climb beyond 2,000 meters to find snow to ski on. Even as far north as Greenland, temperatures have been so warm that barley is beginning to grow in the normally ice-clad nation—an occurrence not seen since the Middle Ages.
Further south, in the Mediterranean Sea, water temperatures have warmed to the point where swarms of jellyfish are plaguing tourists along the coast of Spain. In the famous water city of Venice, rising water levels are spurring urgent meetings on how to prevent the city from being overrun by water. Such meetings are also being held by worried engineers in the Netherlands.
Similar problems are seizing Africa, already the poorest continent on Earth. As the Independent reported in September, “Natural disasters, extreme weather, floods and droughts have always been common in southern Africa, but the severity of the wet and dry periods is intensifying with disastrous results” (September 15). Massive droughts in the Horn of Africa this year have killed much of the region’s wildlife and disrupted the migration patterns of animals and birds.
In Kenya, soaring temperatures and drought conditions are driving herdsmen to war over the few remaining cattle that are surviving the drought. On the other hand, extreme drought in Ethiopia was recently broken by torrential rain and devastating flooding that caused river banks to overflow, drowning more than 800 people.
North America is suffering the same. “In Alaska there has been millions of dollars of damage to buildings and roads caused by melting permafrost. The region has been blighted by the world’s largest outbreak of spruce bark beetles, normally confined to warmer climes. Rising sea levels have forced the relocation of Inuit villages, and polar bears have been drowning because of shrinking sea ice. The caribou population is in steep decline due to earlier spring and the west is suffering one of the worst droughts for 500 years” (ibid.).
More than 60 percent of the United States is suffering drought or abnormally dry conditions. But other areas have had devastating floods that have caused millions of dollars in damage. In Hawaii, the island’s famous coral reefs are being destroyed by large-scale bleaching.
South America is walking the same path. “Last year, the largest river in the world [the Amazon] was reduced to a trickle by an unprecedented drought. This year sand banks have already appeared in the deltas of the Amazon and fears are rising that a drought cycle that was previously measured in multiples of decades may now be an annual event” (ibid.). Unusually dry conditions are disturbing the fragile ecosystem of the Amazon forest, driving animals and plants to extinction and ruining the health of the forest known as the lungs of the Earth.
“In the Peruvian Andes the alpacas that have for centuries provided indigenous farmers with a means of survival have died in cold snaps where temperatures plummeted to -30°C. In the summer, melted glaciers revealed rock faces burnt red by their first contact with direct sunlight” (ibid.).
Then there is Australasia. Large sections of Australia’s traditionally productive agricultural regions are drying up. Farmers are being forced to buy water and truck it to their farms. The drought is rampant from one end of the nation to the other. In some states, it is the worst in decades; in others, such as Western Australia, it is the worst on record.
In New Zealand, floods, snowstorms and harsh weather caused millions of dollars in damage this past winter.
Then there is Asia, where “some of the most visible effects of climate change” are evident. “From the frozen wastes of Afghanistan, where the river bed in Kabul has become a dry rubbish tip, to south India, where thousands of farmers have killed themselves after successive years of drought wrecked their crops …” (ibid.). Potentially the worst damage is occurring in the Himalayas, where glaciers are melting. “Several glacier lakes have already burst in Nepal and Bhutan. The disappearance of the glaciers could dry up major rivers as far away as China, India and Vietnam” (ibid.).
Serious and alarming environmental crises are impacting every corner of the Earth. Weather disasters and their resulting crises are killing hundreds of thousands, even millions of people, and wreaking billions of dollars’ worth of damage.
It is impossible to deny that planet Earth is being ransacked by deadly and potentially catastrophic environmental disasters.
The second fact we must understand is that global warming is not the fundamental cause of all these environmental crises. In reality, this issue is blinding the media, scientists and politicians to the real cause of these environmental and agricultural catastrophes. Though global warming is quite possibly one of a number of physical causes of environmental disaster, it is not the primary and fundamental cause of these problems.
The root cause of global environmental disasters lies in mankind’s flagrant rejection of the physical laws governing environmental and agricultural management. Added to this, the weather and environmental curses besieging our globe are a result of mankind’s widespread disobedience to God’s spiritual law.
Our planet, together with all of its physical components and processes, is governed by physical laws. Weather patterns, animal reproduction, agriculture, forests, oceans—all of these things are governed by physical laws, the laws of chemistry, physics, biology and so on.
All of these are laws were designed by God when He created this Earth (Genesis 1).
God was the mastermind behind the successful and healthy operation of planet Earth. He was the author of its physical laws. In the first chapter of Romans, the Apostle Paul teaches that God’s creative abilities are evident in the magnificent and intricate physical creation that is this Earth (Romans 1:19-20). Environmental blessings and success come from obedience and a willingness to live within and respect the physical laws that govern our planet.
The basis of these laws is outlined in God’s instruction manual for operating on His planet. In the Bible God provides basic health laws and rules of hygiene. There are environmental laws—how to care for fruit trees, when to plant crops, when to rest the land, even laws designed to protect nesting birds. There are laws about property and land rights. Added to all these laws about managing the environment and agriculture are laws about economics. God revealed a definite and practical economic system.
The environmental devastation ransacking this plant is a direct result of these physical laws being broken!
Mankind today thinks it can get away with ecological law-breaking. Rapid technological development and intellectual advancement has caused men to believe they can break physical laws without penalty. We have been breaking the laws that govern the environment and agriculture for so long that we think there are no penalties—but there are. It has taken years, even hundreds of years, but mankind’s history of raping the environment and abusing the physical laws that govern its stable and healthy existence is catching up with us.
That’s what these global environmental crises are: the results of our law-breaking catching up with us!
Beyond suffering the consequences for our poor environmental and agricultural management and rejection of the physical laws that govern this Earth, the environmental catastrophes plaguing mankind are also curses brought upon us as a result of our individual and national sins. It is a godly principle that men are blessed for obedience and cursed for disobedience (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28). Read these chapters and see the environmental and agricultural destruction that God specifically tells us are curses for disobedience. Devastated crops and infertile land as a result of climate change are curses for disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:16-18). Debilitating temperatures and rampant drought are also curses (verses 23-24).
The root cause of the widespread environmental devastation surging across this plant is not global warming. The root cause is mankind’s widespread rejection of the physical laws governing the physical Earth, and of the spiritual law of God. Therefore, the fundamental solution to our natural disasters does not lie in managing carbon dioxide emissions or driving our cars less. The solution to these crises lies in mankind respecting the physical laws that govern this planet—and, far more importantly, repenting before God and embracing the spiritual laws designed by God to bring health and happiness into our lives.