Monday, 13 July 2009

A few thoughts on Global Warming

I have watched the debate on a number of blogs around this topic with much interest and sense that there is quite a battle raging between two camps so to speak - in one corner the 'believers' and in the other what I have seen referred to as the 'deniers'. (I do understand the more serious connotation of this word)
I think that the issue of global warming/climate change is an important one that needs serious exploration and consideration by all of us and I am daring again to put forward some thoughts, even thought the last time I did I felt I was taken to task for having the temerity to do so. Please bear in mind when reading these thoughts that I do not have the benefit of the education some of the other people commenting on this subject have, I do not speak or read Latin with the exception of the odd phrase such as 'Nil Desperandum'and I think I am still in touch with a wide range of thinking from a diverse range of people on what some of the major issues of the day are. Sadly for many people this is a fairly low priority issue and they don’t even recycle saying it is a waste of time because it is all ending up in a mountain somewhere.
I often read or hear that there are two sides to every coin, and, while I have some sympathy with that I think there are more than two sides to this particular coin, or at least more than two viewpoints.
There are those people who believe wholeheartedly that there is a serious problem in respect of global warming climate change and are doing all they can to spread the message. One of the difficulties with this I believe is that some of them are overzealous in their propagation of the message and just get up other peoples nose. Unfortunately this is reflected in many other areas of life, and regrettably sometimes results in other people being turned off.
There are those people who adopt the opposite view, everything is ok, the climate changes naturally, and we have nothing to fear. Some will take that a little further and add that we have nothing to fear because God is in control. I wouldn’t argue with that concept but would perhaps quote the hymn ‘God in his love for us lent us this planet’ and suggest this could become a real basis for guiding our thinking about the range of issues involved in the whole global warming/ climate change scenario.
There are then what I call the middle groups and sadly I think there are two of them: The first one is the group of people who are genuinely concerned about a whole range of issues including this one, but they don’t really understand it and certainly in my experience many of them don’t understand the science or trust the scientists given that experience would say that scientists often change their mind. I suspect that many in this group just amble along thinking they ought to do something but not really sure what and possibly saying to themselves we’ll do something when the Americans or the Chinese or whoever do something.
The second middle group are what I would call the ‘So what’ group – the people who seem to have no interest in anything other than their own world and have no interest or care for anyone else’s. They will include the folk I mentioned elsewhere last week who are perhaps my age and older who hear terrible predictions of what will happen at some point in history 50 years from now and will respond by saying something like ‘Why should I worry? I won’t be around then.’ Yes I know some will see this as a cop out but believe me in the real world where I live, work and worship there are people who adopt this type of attitude.
Now I realise that this post doesn’t come up with any great pearls of wisdom and is probably fairly lightweight compared to some of the other posts that have gone on in the last few days on this topic, but what I will say is that this is how I see it as an fairly typical, working/middle class, family man living and working in a multi cultural area with many contacts from all over the world, including many in my own church who have come to Britain seeking sanctuary from some really dreadful situations.
What I will say however and I suspect it may get some comments is that the fervour that has been evident on some other posts and comments in the last few days has in my opinion done little to further the cause from either side of the coin. A more reasonable and balanced approach may well have swayed many people in one way or another but in reality I suspect that many will have been turned off by the apparent point scoring that has gone on.
I am reminded that my mother used to say that there were two topics you should never discuss at work and they were politics and religion I am beginning to think I should add a third ‘Global Warming’
I leave you with that thought and say that I used to think my Mother talked rubbish a lot of the time but now I realise how absolutely smack on she was on a whole range of issues – maybe she would have had some interesting comment to make on this one.


Methodist Preacher said...

Good common sense - as we would expect in the Black Country! Wish I could comment in detail but lots to do this morning.

PS: I didn't do Latin either!

Richard Hall said...

You make some good points, FP. Very timely. If I was being charged with being 'fervent' about global warming, I could accept that. But not irrational.

PamBG said...

One of the difficulties with this I believe is that some of them are overzealous in their propagation of the message and just get up other peoples nose.

To be honest, Ian, I'm really trying to understand what is that was said - by Conference, David Gamble, or any of the bloggers - that was overzealous, let alone the 'fanatical' that David has accused us of.

From my point of view, the Methodist blog discussion was yet another in a long line of posts that used the formula 'Anyone who disagrees with my point of view on this is a very stupid, nasty and bad-willed person.' And I'm sitting in my study thinking 'Hmm, we're just trying to be a good stewards of God's gifts; why does this make people so angry?'

Most Methodist bloggers seem to agree (or maybe I'm assuming???) that when the West develops trade rules, subsidies and tariffs that keep the less developed countries in poverty that this constitutes systemic sin on the part of Western society that we are complicit in. Methodists typically don't call this characterization either overzealous or fanatical.

It's just the same vocabulary applied to what some of us believe is another systemic injustice. And I[1] genuinely do believe that I'm as much of a sinner as everyone else.

[1] No, I'm not 'taking it personally', I just feel I can only speak for myself in this regard.