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Archive for the ‘OWS’

@KHayhoe, Climate EcoTheology “re-programmer” for evangelicals

April 14, 2015 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

Kathryn Hayhoe is an extremely valuable voice in mainstream evangelicalism (even though her climate knowledge and convictions place her outside of that mainstream)…she has the healthy, undiluted theology (probably helped by the fact that she was outside of the American Religious Right for so long and never “learned” those outrageous associations with Right Wing political ideology.) It is sad that we are now forced to help people “shake off” those irrational , head in the sand tendencies of right wing evangelicalism and actually READ the Bible and listen to what Jesus taught.

This all came about as thought this morning because of a tweet recalling #comment-1966763207" target="_blank">a previous interview last fall with Kathryn 

On the “if we don’t get China to go along” meme

March 27, 2015 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

This is a thread of comments under the article “Head Of The Episcopal Church Says It’s ‘Sinful’ To Ignore Climate Change

A commenter posted about how “nothing will happen until China does something” (a typical argument against taking any action at all)

So I chimed in:

  • this will never get solved if everyone just “waits” on everyone else to act. That is ultimately CHILDISH. We might as well be saying that since EVERYONE doesn’t act in Christ-like fashion then neither will we. CopOut.
  • Ben Williamson · Top Commenter

    I think the “they don’t do it so we don’t have to either” excuse is the most pitiful tactic I’ve seen from climate change deniers. It’s like, after being pounded with so much evidence over the years, you finally accept climate change as reality, but you just can’t make the leap to agree with intelligent people in that we should work to do something about it.
  • Dale Lature · Top Commenter · Freelance Web Community developer/researcher at Freelance Web Community Researcher/Developer

    yep, Ben, that’s the next layer, but the only viable one to get into, since if we don’t , it wont make a bit of difference if we “believe in man-made global warming” or not. This next step is the actual economic/social change we must initiate if anything is to change. Naomi Klein’s book “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate” brought this home to me in a way that I can now no longer look back from being convinced it is the primary moral issue of our time, since very literally the whole of civilization as we know it is at stake.

Increasing Moral Engagement on Climate Change | ecoAffect

March 11, 2015 By: Theoblogical Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

How could it be that so many Republicans view global warming as a problem, but so few on the right are pressuring the government to take action to address it? – Robb Willer, Contributor to The New York Times

via Increasing Moral Engagement on Climate Change | ecoAffect.

The “gap” is actually believing it.  As in,  if you BELIEVE something,  you SHOW IT.  You actually act as if you think it’s a problem;  that it has importance.  These people who oppose ACTION on it are simply hypocrites.  It’s a “problem”,  but they give priority to the status quo.  So they REALLY don’t believe what they are saying,  if they say the “BELIEVE” its a problem.

Like Naomi Klein points out in This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate,  it’s an economic fight to the death.  Hopefully,  for the sake of us all,  people wise up and recognize that we won’t have an economy to speak of if we continue down this road.  And as Paul Gilding explains in The Great Disruption,  the sheer scale of the problems we face will become so obvious and so prevalent that we WILL be forced to reckon with what we have done and respond.  Hopefully,  we do this sooner rather than later,  for the longer we delay RADICAL action,  the more we invite the worst case scenarios to play out.  The sooner we act with conviction and determination,  the fewer of the worse case scenarios will hit us full force.

Economics have always driven this.  Even in the not too distant past,  Republicans were not adverse to expressing their agreement with the climate sciences.  When the urgency did not seem so great; when we , so to speak,  “had some time” to react (and did not act),  the things required of us (to begin to change our direction)  were less fundamentally challenging to our economic paradigm.  We could have responded and let markets work on what everyone agreed was the direction we should take.  We could have begun to remove subsidies to oil and coal and encourage the alternatives.  But the “age of exuberance”* was too much for us.  It continued to feed us with delusions of unlimited growth.

(* the age of exuberance is a phrase from William Catton’s great book “Overshoot”)

We’ve essentially thrown way our opportunity to “turn our economy around” and face the right direction.  We still need to “face the right direction”,  but the distance we now need to move,  and the speed in which we need to do it,  is a lot more daunting.  And to the Capitalist fundamentalists,  this is too much to ask,  and so the rejection grows into denial.  It’s now unacceptable to even acknowledge our problem.  And so we have a rush to the cliff.

What we must do now,  if we are to have any hope of adapting,  is to let the economic realities sink in,  so that we can see the limits (and that they are far behind us),  and reorient ourselves to the new world.  EAARTH, as BIll McKibben spells it,  to emphasize how the earth we now live on is different from the one on which humans expanded and multiplied;  the one that gave life to us and supported our life and survival.  It is we who have to adapt to the ecosystem,  as we are WITHIN it and dependent on it.  Not the other way around.

Religion as an automatic hyperbole

March 08, 2015 By: Theoblogical Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

Just read this headline:  “How religion and American exceptionalism are undermining our future.”

What I immediately notice is that “American” has a qualifier,  and “Religion” does not.  Interesting.   Why?  It would seem to me that a PARTICULAR approach to religion (one which is actually dominated by the same “American exceptionalism”),  is what is being described.  Imhofe is but one of the more inane examples of this. But in order to avoid pigeonholing “American”,  “exceptionalism” is identified to focus on those particular problematics.  But the same is the case here,  with “religion”.  Plenty of “religious” people are ANYTHING BUT adherents of “American exceptionalism”.

The article then proceeds to define for us what the “Christian” bias says about creation.  They got St. Francis totally wrong.

Ever since the Western world became Christian, people in our society have regarded nature as God’s exclusive handiwork; and ever since St. Francis, they have regarded it as evidence of His benevolence. Climate change indicates that the entire natural order is turning against us, and that it is doing so because of our actions. God seems absent from this process, either as a controlling force or as a protecting presence.

“Benevolence” here,  and the idea that climate problems presents us with a challenge to that, already assumes that benevolence means that the earth looks after us regardless of our decision to do the same for it.  It’s the Imhofe syndrome.  The puzzling notion that things God creates are invincible.  Right away,  a simple challenge presents itself.  Are people one of God’s creation?  Most would say not only yes,  but emphatically so,  placing humanity at the center of creation and usually THE most precious creation. (I don’t accept 100% of that, BTW).  So,  if this is the case,  can people be damaged and/or killed?  Does that “disprove” God?  “Free will”  is also a key concept here.  Evil happens.  People can choose.  So,  this Imhofe-ian argument is an mind-boggling inconsistency.  (Is this a surprise? No.)  So,  back to “benevolence”.  Benevolence is a two way relationship as well.  People are free to impinge on the freedom of others,  including the domain of the created order;  the ecosystem.  In fact,  the theology of many would affirm that it is a “reponsibility” that comes with the relationship.  Seems easy enough.  And it seems CLEAR enough from a relatively cursory exploration of the Biblical story.  But so it goes.  Religion sure has its diversities of human approprations.  And these are almost always driven by sociological forces that present and shape a certain view of “reality”.  Just as many Americans don’t feel obligated to play some kind of adolescent “we are best” contest with the rest of the world,  many “religious” people don’t accept a “inevitable progress”.  But it is certainly prevalent,  and it seems the author of this article would agree with my objections over the title inference.  For instance,

Climate change brings our ethos of continual growth up against a definitive and rather claustrophobic limit. It not only demands different public policies, but different personal aspirations.

This fits with what I am thinking about the idea of “limits to growth”.  Since delving into the climate crisis conversation with gusto over the past 6 months or so,  I have come across many who talk about such limits,  as opposed to the notion that we can always grow the economy.  The finite resources of the earth ,  increasingly noticed as we approach the limits of many heretofore assumed to be unlimited,  have spawned many considerations of how we might re-work our notions of what is possible. People such as Richard Heinberg,  and the Post-Carbon Institute.  Stay tuned in days ahead for more,  as I am now reading Paul Gilding’s The Great Disruption,  where such limits are the basis for what he sees coming,  and is hopeful for (or counting on)  the response of humankind to the most pressing issue of our time.

It is my hope that the church,  along with other theological traditions (ie other religions) ,  might also respond,  finally reaching into their own tradition’s best ecological resources.


My take on Rick Scott, Florida, and their “orders” not to mention global warming or climate change.

March 08, 2015 By: Theoblogical Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

[Forida Governor] Scott told reporters who asked about his views on climate change that he had “not been convinced,” and that he would need “something more convincing than what I’ve read.”

via In Florida, officials ban term climate change | Miami Herald Miami Herald.

You mean , like,  SCIENCE?  That’s what you need to read.  I am amazed at the stubborn refusal to acknowledge the vast agreement and volume of material that has been produced WORLDWIDE by thousands of climate scientists.  I was watching VICE last night,  exploring the ice loss in the Arctics and Greenland.  They were talking to scores of scientists who were ON LOCATION,  with amazing instrumentation,  recording measurements with those amazing devices,  and adding it to their research.  These SCIENTISTS are the ones using the equipment, taking measurements,  writing papers,  peer-reviewing them,  re-working some conclusions as new evidence comes in and is suggested by those “peers” across the world.  It is THESE studies that ARE the real science.  Not the totally unsubstantiated , sideline,  NON-measured denials of those who stand on the sidelines,  with NONE of that equipment and NONE of that worldwide collaboration.  And yet we have a mainstream media in this country,  and “leaders” of states,  who simply deny it all,  and just insist that it “can’t be true”,  regardless of the only truly objective measures we have,  and despite the very clear agreement of various climate scientists worldwide that,  based on all these findings,  the verdict is dire and well past the point where stern warnings are warranted.

These denier/obscufating arguments love to cherry pick from various “findings” (which are usually bits of data that are being debated as to their usefulness as indicators,  and often NOT part of the conclusions which are included in the consensus view.  These “cherry pickings” are then advanced as “evidence” that the “science is unsettled”.  It is totally bogus science ,  and scientists KNOW THIS.  All they can do is point this out and just move on to their real work.  I feel it is up to our media to treat the American Public as somewhat capable of understanding how this works,  but they do not.

Paul Gilding has about the best summary of how the consensus view is constructed in climate science:

The complexity of the global ecosystem requires many disciplines to be considered together. Any one individual who claims to understand it all in full detail, including a number of prominent skeptics , clearly doesn’t and should be treated with caution.

For this reason, the science already has a process embedded in it to deal with the challenge of cross-discipline issues and the inherent uncertainty they involve. This is important because we use scientific conclusions to guide everything from approval for medical processes and drugs to the design of bridges and the safety of airplanes. What happens is that scientists come together and intellectually fight it out to reach what they call “consensus positions”.  Scientific bodies, either within discipline or across a number of disciplines as appropriate to the task, analyze an area of debate, rigorously peer-review the data, argue out the uncertainties, and come to a considered, collective view based on the balance of evidence. The process also plays itself out in the peer-reviewed journals, conferences, and academic discussions, allowing a common view to emerge over time. This is what is meant by the term consensus. It is inappropriately named because it implies 100 percent agreement, which it isnt, but it does represent the considered integrated view of qualified scientific experts.

It is a good example of where the collective mind is greater than the individual one. What these consensus views effectively say is ‘We have considered all the debate and the uncertainties, and we acknowledge them. We know what we know, but we also know where the uncertainties lie. Therefore the considered view of the experts in the world on this topic is XYZ, and we have an ABC percent level of certainty in that view. – from The Great Disruption, p.32

And yet the public is repeatedly encouraged by our media to “observe the ‘disagreement'” and therefore,  the implication goes,  the “unsettled science”.  This must drive these real scientists crazy.