July 15, 2007

Global Stewardship

I've received several responses on my recent global warming post.


Eat, Drink, and be Scary?

The first is from Kenpo on Blogger, who remarked:

Good points, though the "eat, drink and be scary" at the end is probably sending the wrong message. - Kenpo

I apologized if I left the impression that I was arguing for "an eat, drink, and be merry" willful ignorance of problems. That was not my intention. My point was merely that some people are too willing to embrace a doomsday scenario, and based on that scenario, accept any proposed solution, regardless of its effectiveness or relevance.


On Facebook, Sharon made several points. I want to focus on three of them.

The first was the following:


For me it's never been a question of right or wrong, or proof. It's been a question of stewardship. We have a responsibility to take care of the things we have. If there are choices and technologies we can choose that are better for the planet in the long run, we should plan on it. - Sharon

I agree that we are to be good stewards of this planet. Genesis records that Adam was placed on earth (in Eden) to dress and keep it:

Gen 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Thus, we are here to take care of and protect the earth. For this reason, I find it reasonable to not waste, not litter, recycle what we can, etc. However, many people believe that we should do much more, from decreasing emission, to rejecting the modern world, to rejecting humanity itself.

It seems to me that the primary issue here is how do we define a normal or better planetary state? If one begins by defining the ideal state of the planet without humans, it is not surprising for one to conclude that the planet would be better off, or more ideal, without humans. If one defines every change made by humans as negative and destructive, it is unsurprising for one to conclude that the world would be better without humans.

Elsewhere in Genesis, God also gave the following command:

Gen 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Thus, we are here to care for the earth, but also to rule and to use it. Clearly, there is a balance in this beyond the scope of this post, but the point is that a vision of a good planet can and should include us.

Non-sustainable Technologies

Sharon's second remark was the following:

Any technologies that are not sustainable in the long run are unwise no matter how you look at it. - Sharon

I'm not sure I necessarily agree. It seems to me that throughout the past several hundred years, we have seen unsustainable technologies come and go, providing benefits while they were in use. I think a prime example of this is actually oil and gasoline. Even if we reject any possibility that such resources can be renewable, it is clear that there are other technologies currently in development which may be able to take its place, such as nuclear power, solar power, etc., or a collection of them.

Furthermore, it seems to me that arguing that something valuable should not be used because it is limited is somewhat akin to observing that if a very fine cake is eaten, it will not be around to be enjoyed later. A perpetuation of this idea leads to no good ever coming of the cake (unless it is really pretty and ends up in an art museum, but that's beside the point).

Responsibilty of the Powerful

Finaly, Sharon made this remark:

And if those in power can do their best to make it easier for the rest of us to be responsible for our eco-footprint, everyone will be served in the long run. - Sharon

To an extent, I agree. Those who have the ability to produce roughly equivalent products with one being better for the environment ought to do so. However, I do not believe that those in power have the right to insist, based on their possibly subjective vision of a better planet, to coerce others to comply with their plans, especially when those plans are ill-founded.

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