By Joel Matthews
Climate change continues to be a volatile topic of discussion. Business as usual or save the earth? There is an old axiom that states there are three sides to every story. First I will briefly examine the two widely publicized sides of this discussion, give an opinion and then illuminate on mine.
Initially there are those who claim we need to “save the earth” from climate change. If we do not take action the changing climate will include rising temperatures and increasingly devastating weather events that will destroy food crops, homes, and whole swaths of land where the largest populations on the earth will be under water. They argue that we need to make investments in new technologies, change our lifestyles and legislate to force those who do not cooperate.
The other side of the argument, those labeled as the “climate deniers,” do not see a need to spend the large quantities of time, money and effort in creating these new technologies for the purpose of trying to control the earth’s climate, which is just operating in its natural cycle. They do not see a need and resent those trying to force a change in their lifestyles to accommodate a “doomsday” mentality.
Now, if these were the only two arguments, I would say that I am always in favor of supporting the new and creative. Many times in our short history creative ideas have not taken hold and found purpose until many years after their initial discovery or introduction. But I do not favor forcing changes on individuals who do not agree with them. One of the greatest foundations of our country is its commitment to personal freedom. I see the two choices offered as a choice of extremes. If these two choices were the only options available to me I would struggle as I see the great fear from both sides. I choose not to live in fear. I don’t have a real desire to belong to either camp as I not only see the commonality of fear, but also the vitriol, unhappiness, worry, anger, helplessness and a lack of understanding or willingness to even speak with the other side.
There is one more point that the two sides have in common. That is that we are actually empowered to affect the long term “health” of Mother Earth. We are masters of our earthly domain. I think our demonstrated abilities in responding to hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and other storms puts that assumption in question.
There is no need to “save” the earth. Mother Earth has existed for millions of years without our “help”. It is really humanity that we are talking about. The real truth is that if Mother Earth decided that she no longer wanted humanity, she could make it happen at any time over any effort that we could muster. She also has the ability to overcome any “harm” that we can inflict. But if the earth has existed for millions of years before us, to what end? Many incarnations of humankind have always referred to the earth as “Mother”. Mother Earth as I see her is more than just the third rock from the sun. She is a sentient being. More than the Gaia theory. More than the “lucky spot” where life began. More than the home where God created man. In any scenario, Mother Earth is a soul. She has been charged with our care, just as a true mother has for her children, providing for their needs until such time as her oversight is no longer necessary. Historians gladly point out that it is amazing that humanity ever survived to this point. Circumstances have always worked out in favor of humanity. Everything we have had, everything we currently have and ever will need is provided by Mother Earth.
If you haven’t been paying attention, tens of thousands of new critters, plants and even a few new elements are being discovered every year. EVERY YEAR. Would science have thought this possible even a few decades ago? Where are all of these new creatures, plants and elements coming from? Even our climate deniers have discovered that some old “empty” oil deposits seem to be very slowly replenishing themselves. Does this mean the climate naysayers “win” and get to use all the resources that can be found as fast as they can? To live with impunity? No, I don’t think so.
Both sides see their fears as legitimate. First of all, as long as such great monetary value is placed on these resources, the financial penalty we inflict on ourselves will only get greater over time, the very situation the naysayers are trying to avoid. That will happen whether or not global warming happens. “Whether or not?” I can hear the environmentalist scream. Yes. Current science has shown the rising temperatures of the atmosphere and has extrapolated the numbers to establish their doomsday scenario. The same science also called for the most active hurricane season we have ever known in modern times for this year. It did not happen. In fact just the opposite. Why? No scientific answer yet. Another unexpected development is the historic low in sunspot activity, lower than any year of the age of modern man. Again no explanation. The last time this lack of sunspot activity happened has been linked to the beginning of the “little Ice Age” back in the 15th century. Hmm…ice age plus global warming…sounds like a loving road right down the middle. I have no doubt that the world we live in is changing. We need only look at history to see how it happens, both slowly and suddenly. Those that excel in life are those who are best prepared to adapt to change, who are not deeply rooted in a “way” of life.
All sentient beings, especially one that cares for us as the earth does, should be treated with love, respect and appreciation. If your mother brings home a bag of candy, do you eat it all at one sitting without consequences? If your mother gives you an allowance and you spend it that afternoon, do you get more tomorrow? If your mother buys you a car, do you take it on the highway and drive it as fast as it will go till you run out of gas and then leave it there? Try going home and asking for another one. In all these scenarios do you say “thank you”? Mother Earth will teach us the lessons we need to learn along the way. We will learn them, albeit sometimes very slowly. All that Mother Earth provides for us should be treated with the respect that is deserving for the gifts that they are. Animal, vegetable, mineral, including respect for your fellow humans, even when they are not living up to your “ideal standards”. You resist when others judge you. Think about that when you start to judge others.
Respect Mother Earth for who she is. Remain thankful for all that she provides. Mother Earth is not our property, our world or our slave. She is “our Mother”. The common ground on which we learn to live. I am not one to mistreat or kill animals, to pour toxic liquids down my sink or spray my garden with chemical additives that are not natural to its environment. I also allow for those who see life through their own window. I would not force them to live life my way. They will learn their lessons at their own pace. We do not need to live in fear of the demise of our home here. I will continue to live my life as an example of what I believe. I will also continue to have faith in my Mother Earth to provide for me what I need and to provide for you too.