Posts belonging to Category Environment



Avertible Catastrophe

Lawrence Solomon on the Dutch and U.S response to the BP oil spill:
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Financial Post: Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. “Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour,” Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill.

To protect against the possibility that its equipment wouldn’t capture all the oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch also offered to prepare for the U.S. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana’s marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks.

The Dutch know how to handle maritime emergencies. In the event of an oil spill, The Netherlands government, which owns its own ships and high-tech skimmers, gives an oil company 12 hours to demonstrate it has the spill in hand. If the company shows signs of unpreparedness, the government dispatches its own ships at the oil company’s expense. “If there’s a country that’s experienced with building dikes and managing water, it’s the Netherlands,” says Geert Visser, the Dutch consul general in Houston … The U.S. government responded with “Thanks but no thanks,” remarked Visser, despite BP’s desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer –the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge …

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn’t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million — if water isn’t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico …

A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out. With oil increasingly reaching the Gulf coast, the emergency construction of sand berns to minimize the damage is imperative. Again, the U.S. government priority is on U.S. jobs, with the Dutch asked to train American workers rather than to build the berns. According to Floris Van Hovell, a spokesman for the Dutch embassy in Washington, Dutch dredging ships could complete the berms in Louisiana twice as fast as the U.S. companies awarded the work. “Given the fact that there is so much oil on a daily basis coming in, you do not have that much time to protect the marshlands,” he says, perplexed that the U.S. government could be so focused on side issues with the entire Gulf Coast hanging in the balance.

Rulership and Responsibility for Creation

Today is Earth Day with an emphasis on the environment. I prefer to think of environmental concerns as care for creation. God gave human beings both rulership over creation and responsibility for creation. Both are necessary to keep a proper perspective on “green” living and stewardship of the planet.

Here is an excerpt from a sermon on Psalm 8 that discusses these issues more fully. You can read the full text of the message here: Our Place in Creation.

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God made man ruler over all creation. As David writes in Psalm 8: “You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.” (Psalm 8:6-8) God made man the ruler over all creation – over all the animals on the ground, over all the birds in the air, over all the fish of the sea.

Does that mean that man can do whatever he wants with creation? The answer is no, because as image bearers of God, our rule over the created world should reflect God’s wise rule over his creation.

We read in Genesis 2:15: “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” The verbs here are very significant. The word translated “work” is the Hebrew word for “serve.” The word translated “take care” is a word that means “to keep, to guard, to watch over and protect.” In other words, man is not to be a tyrant ruler over creation, but a servant leader over creation. God gave man the stewardship of the earth, to serve the land and take care of it under God’s care. God gave man both rulership and responsibility.

This is where so many groups get it wrong concerning the environment today. When it comes to the creation, God gave man both rulership and responsibility. If you leave out one or the other, you are going to be out of balance. If you leave out responsibility, you get the view that the world is ours to do with as we please and so it is okay if we trash it. That is not a biblical view of the environment. If you leave out rulership, then you get the view that man is on the same level as the rest of creation. This is not a biblical view of the environment either. This view gives just as much importance to a spotted frog as to a new-born baby. And that’s just not right.

An even more extreme version of this view would be the type of environmentalism that worships the planet instead of God who created the planet. In this extreme, the planet actually rules over man, instead of man ruling over the planet. Notice we are not to worship the earth but to take care of it. The Christian cares for the earth because God created it, and because God gave us the responsibility to take care of it. And that is where Christian environmentalism is so radically different from much environmentalism today

It is important to note that these final verses in Psalm 8 are applied specifically to Jesus in the New Testament. (see 1 Corinthians 15:24-27; Hebrews 2:5-9) We have been crippled in our attempts to fulfill our rightful place in the world because of sin. But Jesus came as the perfect Son of God and perfect son of man to deliver us from sin and to lead us one day to our rightful place as rulers over all creation. Jesus came to restore the creation to its original glory and then give it all back to us. This time we will do it right. This time we will be faithful stewards of God’s creation, rejoicing in the gifts of creation and returning those gifts in thanksgiving and praise back to God. That in fact is your individual place in this world – using the gifts that God has given you to serve God in this world and to bring him glory.

Related posts:
    • The Size of the Earth Compared to Other Objects in Space
    • God’s Good Creation Series

A Timely Reminder for Earth Day

Earth

A timely reminder for earth day today:

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. (Psalm 24:1-2)

Note: Click here for more pictures of our beautiful planet from the Big Picture.

Related post: Knowing God through His Creation

Loving God’s World: Christian Faith and the Environment

Nicole at 168 Hours has posted an excellent series on Christian faith and the environment:

I think the answer to how we should view God’s world as Christians can be found in looking at two ways that the Bible teaches us to love the world, and two ways that we are not to love the world (depending on what you mean by ‘world’ and what you mean by ‘love’).

You can read the four articles in the series at the links below.

Two ways we are not to love the world:

  1. The Idolatry of Nature Worship
  2. The Idolatry of Greed

Two ways we are to love the world:

  1. Sharing God’s Delight in the Creation
  2. Loving the People Who Share the Earth with Us

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Related posts: God’s Good Creation Series

Animals around the World

The Big Picture celebrates World Animal Day (October 4, 2008) with stunning pictures of animals from all around the world. Here are my two favorites. (You can click on the pictures for larger versions.)

        Polar Bear and Cub | Stuttgart Zoo
Polar Bear and Cub | Stuttgart Zoo

        Common Kingfisher | Bird of the Year 2009
Common Kingfisher | Bird of the Year 2009

Started in Florence Italy in 1931 at a convention of ecologists, World Animal Day has since expanded its focus from its original intent, which was to bring attention to endangered or threatened species. The day is now set aside as a time to reflect on all of the animals we share this world with, and our involvement with them – and to spur action to commemorate that respectful relationship.

Inflate and Drill

Obama says, “Don’t drill for oil; inflate your tires.” How about inflate and drill? At this rate, it’s either inflate your tires and drill for oil, or inflate the price of oil and drill your tires.

Click here for more Random Thoughts.

Animal Rights, Plant Rights

First there were human rights, then came animal rights, and now there are plant rights. I guess rocks are next.

The most tragic dimension of all this is that a culture increasingly ready to euthanize the old, infanticize the young, and adamant about a “right” to abort unborn human beings, will now contend for the inherent dignity of plants. Can any culture recover from this?

Climate Change Bias at Wikipedia?

Lawrence Solomon at the Financial Post:

As I’m writing this column for the Financial Post, I am simultaneously editing a page on Wikipedia. I am confident that just about everything I write for my column will be available for you to read. I am equally confident that you will be able to read just about nothing that I write for the page on Wikipedia.

Solomon goes on to explain how every time he corrects certain information relating to climate change in Wikipedia, another editor immediately undoes his changes. It is not only a fascinating look at possible climate change bias at Wikipedia, but also a good reminder why Wikipedia is not always a reliable source of information. (HT: Instapundit)

Click here for more posts on the Environment.

Global Warming, Global Cooling

Why are global warming advocates more vocal in the summer when Arctic ice is melting and global cooling advocates more vocal in the winter when Arctic ice is forming?

Hey, I think I know the answer to this one!

Related posts:

Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 1/13/2008

Yesterday’s message in the God’s Good Creation Series was called Our Place in God’s Creation, taken from Psalm 8.

Psalm 8:1-8 – “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (NIV)

The main idea of the message was that we must first understand man’s place in the universe before we can understand our own individual place in the world. Here is the outline of the message:

What does Palm 8 teach us about our place in God’s creation?

I. God is greater than all (1-2)

    A. God’s name is majestic in all the earth.

    B. God has set his glory above the heavens.

    C. God can silence his enemies even through the praises of little children.

II. The universe is big; we are small (3-4)

    A. The beauty of God’s creation should cause us to worship the Creator.

    B. The vastness of God’s creation should cause us to consider our
        place in the universe.

    C. God’s gracious concern for tiny man in the universe should humble
        and amaze us.

III. God gave us a special place of honor in creation (5-9)

    A. God made man a little lower than the heavenly beings.

    B. God crowned man with glory and honor.

    C. God made man ruler over all creation.

Note: To read the complete message, go to the Sermons tab at the top of the blog.

Related post: The Size of the Earth Compared to Other Objects in Space

A Foot of Global Warming

Don Surber in his post Snowstorm Parody asks the question: “How does New England like that foot of global warming?” I will be glad to answer. We are tired of shoveling and ready for a break after two major snowstorms in the space of three days. Somehow I think our region didn’t get the memo when it comes to global warming.

Surber goes on to answer his own question with a fun parody of the Beach Boys, “Surfin’ U.S.A.” Here is “Snowin’ U.S.A.”

If we really had global warming
Across the U.S.A.
Then everybody’d be surfing
Like Californi-a
Instead we’re wearing our parkas
Our gloves and mittens, too
Those trendy, trendy Ugg Ugg boots
Snowin’ U.S.A.

There’s more. Check out the rest of the song at Snowstorm Parody. Love them Ugg Ugg boots.

News and Notes – 6/26/2007

Elwood - The World’s Ugliest Dog
World’s ugliest dog. Meet Elwood, the world’s ugliest dog. The 2-year-old Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mix, who placed second in last year’s contest, was crowned the world’s ugliest dog on Friday, June 22. Elwood is also known for his uncanny resemblance to aliens Yoda and ET. “I think he’s the cutest thing that ever lived,” said Elwood’s owner, Karen Quigley. Really? Then why did you enter him in the world’s ugliest dog contest?

Global cooling. From the Canadian Financial Post: “Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments.” Maybe it’s supposed to get hotter before it gets colder? (HT: Instapundit)

Pastor-comedian wanted. A newly forming church in Edmond, OK is looking for a pastor-comedian. “The idea is to use humor and comedy to bring people to Christ. With the right Pastor we plan on becoming a rapidly growing mega church soon. We are thinking the church will be called Comedy Hour and be open Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday mornings.” The only qualification listed under job requirements is “must be very funny.” No, I am not applying.