09.16.2014

All Along the (Climate) Watchtower

The Jehovah's Witnesses visit me once a year. They politely try to convert me; I politely turn down the offer. They leave me a colorful pamphlet which I never read and that's that.

Until today. As I thumbed through the latest issue of The Watchtower, I was struck dumb. (I'm easily struck.) Although there was plenty of chitchat in the issue about salvation and creationism, the cover story was devoted to...climate change.

After laying out the basic science (more or less accurately), "Will Man Ruin the Earth Beyond Repair?" hammers home the point that humans are caretakers of the planet and that we've bollixed the job royally.

The Bible foretold a time when man would 'ruin the earth'. (Revelation 11:18) Some wonder if we are living in such a time. How much further damage will be done? Is there a point of no return? Indeed, will man ruin the earth beyond repair?

Good questions. The good news? The time is rapidly approaching for God to "bring to ruin those ruining the earth." (Revelation 11:18.)

Talk about remediation! Forget sequestering CO2 or shutting down coal plants. Those trashing the planet will get the boot, replaced by "a new heaven and a new earth". God’s Kingdom will address the root cause of Earth’s problems by "bringing about a change in people’s hearts".

In short, climate change is happening, humans are largely responsible, but God's going to save the day. "God will rebalance the ecological budget...our planet’s future rests safely in [his] hands."

This is a line of reasoning—of faith—that I find disturbing. Maybe the Big Guy will clean up our mess, but He might not be in the mood. Which means we need to take action now. As science teacher Greg Craven put it, "Which is the greater risk: taking action or not taking action?" I think we know the answer.