Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Charles Keeling and rising CO2

Nice article on Charles Keeling who first started to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in the early 50s. Frightening to see that the causes and implications of this rise were understood by 1960 and still today very little has been done! Article found here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tipping point map

A tipping point commonly refers to a critical threshold at which a tiny perturbation can qualitatively alter the state or development of a system. Climate scientist Tim Lenton wrote a paper which is available for free here on the subject.

Insurers Allianz have a nice interactive viewer of where the tipping points are found here. Dealing with risk, insurers appear well ahead of governments!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Small award

Just got into the mail today a couple of copies of Witness: The voice of Victorian Baptists which includes my article in their November edition on stewardship. I wrote about the present ecological crisis, our need to manage both ecology and economy (both coming from the Greek word oikos which means household and reflects their unity under God.

I didn't (and neither should you) balk from the term stewardship, at least the idea if not the word. Humans are powerful and were made to rule, while at the same time Job and Psalm 104 should teach us humility. Romans 8 tells us creation shares in our hope, marking out with Gensis 1 the biblical narrative from creation to new creation.

For my efforts I won their monthly award, a gift voucher from Bunnings. It will of course have to be a plant (likely native) in keeping with the theme of the piece I wrote.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Leveraging off technology

Given many people are busy with multiple committments etc, we are looking at the best way to serve people and getting them together. I have made a short survey with the tool Survey Monkey. You can vote on ways in which you'd like Ethos Environment to provide you with information, opportunity for discussion, reflection, encouragement etc.

The survey is here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

EO Wilson on humans and mass extinction

EO Wilson is a biologist, conservationist, founder of sociobiology and a former southern Baptist. On the onearth website, he is interviewed about the threat of mass extinction due to human activities. It is already clear that the extinction rate due to human beings is some 1000 or more above the background rate. This qualifies it as a mass extinction along side the big 5 (which includes the Great Dying at the end of the Permian and the loss of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous).

One thing worth quoting (among many) relates to religion:

" We are ill equipped by instinct to control ourselves. Even with our tremendous intellect, we have a deep propensity for group conflict. Look at our defense expenditures, the way we glorify the constant expansion of human settlement and human growth, our archaic religions, which give us nothing but grief because they are essentially tribal. Our religions are ill equipped to handle our present problems, especially when they start trying to discredit what we can find out and prove with science."

How does this apply to Christianity? Insofar as it is often an us versus them he may be right, together with the obsession with human use and dominion to the exclusion of divine providence for creation. Yet to the extent Christianity is THE great missionary faith that includes every tribe and tongue it isn't tribal (despite the God on our side of a country unnamed) and there is a great biblical resource for care of creation. Further, a proper understanding of the relevant texts as ancient cosmology and not modern science dissolves much of the religion/science tension Wilson talks about. What of course he doesn't state in the article is his own totalising campaign to eliminate the idea of God as reality and religion as purely an evolutionary adaptation. The appearance of such an adaptation doesn't therefore discredit history, which is where we must turn to answer our religious questions. Indeed in his book The Creation, I think Wilson does nod in the direction that the answer to our plight must be religious as well as scientific.