Originally published August 31st, 2011. Is it a woodchuck, or a groundhog?
Guest blog: by Lowell Bliss
As part of our summer vacation this year, we found ourselves at Canada’s Wonderland, a colossal amusement park near Toronto. My teenage son has discovered roller coasters as a passion, and so we strapped ourselves into the Behemoth, riding up to a height of 230 feet and then plunging down at 77 mph. The Behemoth cost $26 million to build. But all day it was like that: we were surrounded by acres of ingenious and costly technologies engineered with the sole purpose to amuse and thrill.
As my old body began to wane in the late afternoon, I plopped down on a park bench and waited out my kids who were on another ride. A young teenage girl was standing nearby. Suddenly, I heard her utter a short squeak and I felt something rustling on the ground between my ankles. I looked down. A chubby woodchuck wandered out from under my bench. Behind us was a small wooded lot between paths in the amusement park. A little stream flowed into a pool there and it was hard to tell whether this patch of nature among the tarmac was original or manufactured. Nonetheless, it was apparently where the woodchuck lived. I suspect it was “suppertime,” if that’s what you can call his daily allotment of popcorn and funnel cake. Continue reading →
I suspect it was the word “hoax” which first caught my attention. Assuming that the Piltdown Man scandal died as a headline in 1953, we are still left with Senator James Inhofe’s now famous declaration that global climate change is “”the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” this said from the Senate floor.
The next time you hope for some plain-speaking legislation to come out of your state legislature, you may want to take a moment and be careful what you wish for. This is the story of three environmental bills recently introduced in the Kansas statehouse. I live in Kansas. We’re generally known for being plain-spoken.
Our governor Sam Brownback says he has an “All of the Above” energy policy. I do not consider that plain-speaking any more than when President Obama uses the same phrase. “All of the above” means that an executive can throw a sop to renewable energies without threatening the continued exploitation of fossil fuels. And thus we have our first bill, House Bill 2241, which wants to give our state utility companies a break on the Renewable Portfolio Standard. They will no longer have to get a certain percentage of their energy requirements from renewables by the original deadlines – 10% by 2010, 15% by 2016 and 20% by 2020. Surely these deadlines aren’t onerous for America’s second windiest state. Even our name is a Native American term for “People of the South Wind.” The bill also grants vague exemptions for “firm transmission” (i.e. standards don’t go in effect if there aren’t transmission lines available) and “excessive costs.” There were a couple of occasions last summer when the nation of Germany reached the 50% mark in obtaining its electricity from renewables. Germans are the largest ethnicity designation of Kansas citizens. Perhaps we could take some inspiration from the Old Country. Continue reading →
Eden Vigil is very pleased to announce the launch of the Agabus Project podcast. In our pilot episode, we interview A Rocha founder Peter Harris about the creation care legacy of his dear friend, John Stott. John Stott, who passed away this past summer, was a charter board member of A Rocha and accompanied Peter on many birdwatching expeditions. His commitment to creation care, as an indispensable component of discipleship, was unequivocal.
You can find the Agabus Project on iTunes and also here:
Since I’m posting this at Our Father’s World, may I break professionalism and say, “I’m having a blast!” I love the excuse to chat on the phone with those who feel so passionately about creation care, and who think so biblically about it. For example, our second episode this month features Joel Salatin, farmer at Polyface Farms and author of a new book Folks, This Ain’t Normal! Many people are familiar with Joel Salatin, but did you know he is an evangelical believer?
Subtitle: The Mission Field as field. . . and forest and river and mountain and topsoil
by Lowell Bliss, guest contributor
Ed has asked me to re-post this article from a recent issue of our Environmental Missions Prayer Digest, in particular as a means to discuss one way in which
creation care can affect how the Church goes about doing missions: evangelism, discipleship, and church-planting. “Go and make disciples of ta ethne, all nations,” the Great Commission says. Even the Greek renderings of the words indicate that making disciples occurs among ethnic groups, or people groups. Political nations may grant missionaries their passports and entry visas, but ministry occurs among smaller cultural and linguistic communities. But what about ministry in something we would define as ecoregions? To what extent should the local biosphere inform how we preach the Gospel to a particular people group?
A 1982 Lausanne Committee meeting in Chicago offered the following definition of a people group: “A significantly large ethnic or sociological grouping of individuals who perceive themselves to have a common affinity for one another. For evangelistic purposes, it is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.” A creation care perspective looks at this definition from a number of assumptions. One is that these “individuals” are homo sapiens, and thus not disembodied souls floating in a simple construct of culture and language. People live, and they live somewhere. That physical “somewhere” means something; it creates a valid “common affinity for one another.” It also greatly affects how one hears and interacts with the Gospel.
“What goes up, must come down,” is one of those multi-purpose aphorisms, functional on the natural level as well as the moral. A physicist might use it to describe the Law of Gravity. A preacher might recite it in a sermon on Galatians 6:7: “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Last week, the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Lab reported that global carbon-dioxide emissions saw their biggest one-year rise, a 6 percent jump in 2010. (The report is linked here.) Tom Boden, director of the lab, calls it a “big jump.” His colleague, Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, was a bit more descriptive: it’s a “monster” increase, Marland said. Part of the monstrosity no doubt is how the study indicates that emissions are now growing faster than what the IPCC projected as a worst-case scenario in its 2007 report. A worsened pace of carbon emissions will result in higher projected temperature averages (up now to 5.2° C by 2100, according to MIT models.)
What goes up—including CO2 molecules—must come down, but in the case of carbon dioxide, it may take 100 years or so. It is true that our planet’s oceans and vegetation act as carbon sinks, that is, they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, albeit at a rate slower than what industrial society and natural processes are emitting it. A single molecule of CO2 will float unmolested in the atmosphere for one hundred years. Continue reading →
A Conversation about God, His Creation and Our Role in Creation