Monday, August 27, 2018

Right Understanding: Knowing the Facts about Climate Change

God be in my head, and in my understanding; God be in mine eyes, and in my looking; God be in my mouth, and in my speaking: god be in mine heart, and in my thinking; God be at my end, and and my departing.   - John Rutter (b. 1945)

This is the first installment in an eight part series that offers information and tips related to climate change and the environment. The SEC's Eightfold Path of Environmental Action is a companion series to a video that is scheduled to be launched in 2019.

It is easy to be confused by the vast amounts of contradictory information about climate change. We are inundated with misinformation, however, there are ways of vetting information to delineate fact from fiction.

We can navigate the meandering paths of opinions masquerading as facts with our god given abilities: Our intellectual capacities and our powers of discernment. These are the faculties which created science, one of humanities greatest achievements and an effective barometer that can help us to delineate truth from falsehoods.

Climate change is one of the most studied phenomenon in human history, it has endured peer review and it has been replicated over and over again. An overwhelming body of evidence concludes that climate change is real and humans are the primary cause. We also know that we must act quickly because climate change is already wreaking havoc and unless we rapidly change course it will get much worse. We also need to bear in mind that while none of us are immune the poor and the vulnerable are the most at risk.

People of faith are called to care for creation to help others and for the sake of future generations As Anglicans we are called by the Fifth Mark of Mission to be good stewards of the earth. "To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew life on earth".  We can all come together around the common purpose of defending this planet from the ravages of our actions.

This has significance for Canadians as we are custodians of vast swaths of the Arctic and this confers special responsibilities.  Our brothers and sisters in the far north are experiencing warming at roughly two or three times the rate of warming in the rest of the world.  The people who live there along with majestic wildlife like polar bears, are under threat.

We should not succumb to the broken logic that there are two sides to the debate. There are those that accept the facts and those that don't. Therefore the question is not do we believe in global warming, because unlike articles of faith, climate change is not a matter of belief.  More accurately the question is, do we understand climate science?

It is an irrefutable fact that the world is getting hotter. Along with this warming comes a host of destructive corollaries including species extinction, more frequent and extreme weather events, flooding from sea level rise, and prolonged droughts that may threaten our food supplies.

We know that anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG) are the primary cause of climate change. We also know that the burning of fossil fuels is the leading contributor. To slow the temperature rise we need to radically reduce our GHG emissions. That means we need to reduce our use of fossil fuels and engage energy efficiency.  A detailed review of what can be done will be addressed in forthcoming posts.

Eightfold Path of Environmental Action.
Right Speech - Effective Environmental Communications.
Right Understanding: Knowing the facts about climate change
Right Thought: How we think about the natural world

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