Current scientific consensus is that the life-system of the earth is becoming dangerously destabilised, and that the threats of climate change, pollution and dwindling resources pose a practical and political issue that is of immense importance.
The view, widely-held, is that the severe imbalances that are occurring are doing so because of the actions of man upon the eco-systems and environments of the planet.
But there are some who disagree.
Some, generally name-called “climate change deniers” (although such terminology is not always helpful given the need for rational debate and well thought-out arguments), say that the changes that are being experienced are not due to man’s actions but are a natural development in the life-cycle of the planet. These people would be best placed in a non-interventionist bracket.
The non-interventionist policy would be that there is no need for man to take any remedial steps as pertaining to eco-systems or environment, and that much of the “green agenda” is dangerous in itself, either because of the increase in governmental and inter-governmental control, or the negative impact such remedial steps would have on a consumerist-based and consumption-based economic system.
Non-interventionists can be classified into three varieties:
1. The total denial group. Claiming that the science behind man-induced eco-system danger is flawed, this group asserts that there are no notable changes to the systems of the earth and that therefore, as there is no problem, there does not need to be a solution.
2. The natural cycle group. Whilst accepting the vast evidence that climates are changing and that the eco-systems of the world are in a state of flux, the natural cycle group asserts that these changes can be exclusively attributed to the natural changes that would have occurred without man’s influence. Because man is not responsible, they say, then man need take no remedy but just let the planet get on with it.
3. The climate-changing God believers. Full acceptance is made that the changes to the environment and planet are taking place, and an acceptance is also made that these changes pose a great risk to the survival of the planet and of mankind. Those in this category, however, disown any responsibility to act because it is the work of God, and that instead of looking to address the environmental issues nations need rather to repent of their sins and turn to God.
The science behind the claims of climate change and eco-system strain are either countered or dismissed by these groups.
Yet there is a very important Christian principle which is often overlooked by the non-interventionists, and this is especially relevant to those who claim climate change is the work of God. That principle is the principle of stewardship.
The Bible is very clear, and in numerous places, that a Godly person should be a good steward of the resources that God has entrusted to him. Many would take this to mean a faithful tithe to the Church, or even lining the pockets of wealthy and attractive TV presenters (“evangelists”). Yet stewardship is a far deeper and profound concept that covers 100% of what God has entrusted to us. That 100% includes all our finances, all our time, and all of the resources that are available to us. “All things come from God, and of Your own do we give You,” we say after giving our offerings at church.
The vital principle of stewardship brings a new light on the arguments for intervention. The concept that the earth is our plaything and the resources are there for us to use as we please is not compatible with the principle that these resources are to be used wisely, purposefully and diligently not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of those less fortunate.
Whatever the causes behind climate change and eco-system degradation, it is very clear that the consumerist and consumption-based economic system has a poor stewardship record, and that if we are to counter the issues, or even if we cannot and the systems have already reached tipping point, part of our “repenting and turning to God” must be a repentance of the sinful greed and waste that the consumption-based economic system has produced. Then we may be in a position to properly relate to and steward the Creation in our care.