Posts belonging to Category Environment

Time to Go Outside and Play

Today’s Washington Post has an article discussing the lack of outdoor play for many of today’s children:

“Kids don’t think about going outside like they used to, and unless there is some scheduled activity, I don’t think they know what to do outdoors anymore,” Pelzman said.

Pelzman’s view is shared by a growing number of children’s advocates, environmentalists, business executives and political leaders who fear that this might be the first generation of “indoor children,” largely disconnected from nature.

Concerns about long-term consequences — affecting emotional well-being, physical health, learning abilities, environmental consciousness — have spawned a national movement to “leave no child inside.” In recent months, it has been the focus of Capitol Hill hearings, state legislative action, grass-roots projects, a U.S. Forest Service initiative to get more children into the woods and a national effort to promote a “green hour” in each day.

I have seen a number of articles in recent weeks expressing concern about this trend. For example, last week’s Daily Mail had an interesting article tracing the loss of children’s ability to roam over four generations in Sheffield, England. Here is a map showing the difference in “childhood roaming territory” for a great-grandfather, a grandfather, a mother, and her son.

Childhood Roaming Territory for Four Generations

When I was a kid I remember being outside a lot – playing basketball, running around in the woods, riding my bike all over town, fishing, etc. My mother often kicked us out of the house for the whole afternoon until supper time. And then there were many nights playing tag or kick-the-can outdoors after supper.

Why do you think kids today are “getting lost in the great indoors?” Is this a problem? What do kids miss by not spending more time outside?

HT: Instapundit

News and Notes – 5/29/2007

Monster PigBig pig. Talk about bringing home the bacon! 11-year old Jamison Stone shot and killed what may be the biggest pig on record. The Alabama boy was hunting in the woods with his father on May 3 when he came upon the wild pig. The giant boar measured 9 feet 4 inches in length and weighed in at 1,051 pounds. That is even bigger than the famous 800-pound Hogzilla killed in Georgia back in 2004.

Found bees. Remember the vanishing bees story from last month? Well, it looks like they found some of them: in an attic, in a jet engine, and at a fundraiser.

Space trip. Do you want to take a trip into space? Virgin Galactic hopes to start testing it’s space passenger ship in 2008 and begin passenger flights in 2010. Can’t afford the $200,000 price tag? Not to worry. Virgin Galactic’s chief operating officer, Alex Tai, said the costs should drop to $100,000 or even lower in later years.

News and Notes – 5/8/2007

Man throws pie at preacher. Last week it was peanuts – this week it’s a pie. A man was arrested in Colorado Springs on Sunday for disrupting a worship service by throwing a pie at the pastor while he was preaching. The pastor was preaching on the subject of loving your enemies.

Extreme population control. Paul Watson, founder and president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, calls human beings a virus and recommends dropping the planet’s human population to fewer than one billion. Says Watson, “A virus kills its host and that is exactly what we are doing … We are killing our host the planet Earth.” So, who gets to stay, and who has to go? This is nuts.

Friendship fries. Remember the campaign back in 2003 to start calling French Fries, “Freedom Fries,” in protest of France’s refusal to help with the war against Iraq? Now that France has elected pro-American president, Nicolas Sarkozy, a new campaign has started to rename French Fries, “Friendship Fries.” I’ll just have a burger and fries with that please.

Children – Pollutants, Products or a Blessing?

I ran across a couple of articles discussing children over the weekend. First up, an article from The Australian reporting on a paper from the Optimum Population Trust arguing that children are bad for the environment. The OPT paper suggests that “having large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags.” According to John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT and emeritus professor of family planning at University College London,

The effect on the planet of having one child less is an order of magnitude greater than all these other things we might do, such as switching off lights. The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child.

Meanwhile, Josh Sowin at Fire and Knowledge excerpts some paragraphs from Bill McKibben’s book, Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age. McKibben warns that genetic engineering in the future could cause some parents to begin viewing their children as products rather than people.

[Genetically engineered] children will, in effect, be assigned a goal by their programmers: “intelligence,” “even temper,” “athleticism.”

… Now two possibilities arise. Perhaps the programming doesn’t work very well, and your kid spells poorly, or turns moody, or can’t hit the inside fastball. In the present world, you just tell yourself that’s who he is. But in the coming world, he’ll be, in essence, a defective product. Do you still accept him unconditionally? …

The other outcome—that the genetic engineering works just as you had hoped—seems at least as bad. Now your child is a product … And what can she take pride in? Her good grades? She may have worked hard, but she’ll always know that she was specced for good grades. Her kindness to others? Well, yes, it’s good to be kind—but perhaps it’s not much of an accomplishment once the various genes with some link to sociability have been catalogued and manipulated.

I like God’s perspective on all this so much better. According to the Bible, children are neither pollutants to be controlled nor products to be evaluated; rather, children are a blessing from the Lord to be loved, cared for and raised to know God.

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. (Psalm 127:3,5)

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

The Bible and Climate Change – Buster Wilson

Does the Bible have anything to say about the weather? One of the biggest debates about global warming today (other than, “Does it exist?”) is whether or not it is caused by humans. Can you really blame climate change and wacky weather patterns on mankind?

Buster Wilson from American Family Radio answers “Yes,” but it is not what you think. Buster blames the weather problems in our world, not on current human activity, but on prior human sin and the fall of man. He quotes Paul from the book of Romans in this regard:

“For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope, that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” (Romans 8:19-22)

Says Buster, “That’s the Bible answer to what’s happening with the crazy weather, earthquakes, tsunamis, et al. It’s the creation crying out for God the Father to set all things right.”

Whatever your views on global warming and climate change, Buster makes a great theological point here. When we talk about problems in the created order, we must not forget to take into account the fall of man. You can read the whole article at Buster’s blog here.

News and Notes – 5/4/2007

Free Comic Book Day. Saturday, May 5, is the sixth annual Free Comic Book Day. Check the Free Comic Book Day website for participating stores and available titles.

Dodging peanuts. Pastors on the western frontier used to have a rough time of it. According to a history report prepared as part of a community development study in Washington state, “It was not uncommon for people from other denominations to attend different churches, throw peanuts at the ministers and boo them. The Wild West must have been trying at times for Men of the Gospel.”

Global warming on Mars. Scientists from NASA report that the planet Mars has experienced rapid global warming over the past three decades and is in danger of losing its southern ice cap. However, due to the lack of human activity on Mars, scientists are looking elsewhere for an explanation. Strong winds are stirring up giant dust storms, trapping the heat and raising the planet’s temperature.

News and Notes – 4/27/2007

Bible helps. A Cincinnatti man charged with credit card fraud was released on bond after reciting scripture in the courtroom. When the man’s attorney described his client as a church-goer, the judge asked the defendant to recite the 23rd Psalm. The man promptly recited all six verses, and the judge released him on a $10,000 appearance bond.

The Green Commandments. How many lightbulbs does it take to change a Christian? That is the title of a new booklet published by the Church of England aimed at encouraging Christians to become more environmentally conscious. Among the lifestyle changes suggested in the booklet are: carpooling to church on Sundays, vacationing locally, and using a toaster instead of a grill.

Finishing college in one year. 19-year old Nicole Matisse is on track to graduate from the University of Michigan this summer with a bachelor’s degree of psychology after only one year of studies. She entered the university last fall as a junior after passing eight advanced placement courses and completing eight community college classes. She took 19 credits in the fall semester and 27 credits this semester. She plans to start law school in the fall.

News and Notes – 4/24/2007

Vanishing bees. In the United States tens of billions of bees have gone missing (more than a quarter of the country’s bee population), and scientists don’t know why. Although conspiracy theorists are blaming everything from cell phones to Osama Bin Laden, scientists are exploring more likely suspects such as a virus, a fungus or a pesticide.

Strait Track. Russia wants to build a railway link under the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska. The 63-mile (102-kilometer) tunnel would be the longest in the world, twice as long as the Channel Tunnel connecting France to the United Kingdom. If completed, you could conceivably ride from New York to London by train, three-quarters of the way around the world. The plans for the tunnel include a high-speed train line, oil and gas pipelines, and a fiber-optic cable network.

News and Notes – 3/8/2007

Climate change or diet change? PETA has written an open letter to Al Gore urging him to become a vegetarian in order to reduce global warming. PETA claims that because “animals raised for food generate more greenhouse gases than all cars and trucks combined . . . switching to a vegan diet is more effective in countering global warming than switching from a standard American car to a Prius.” I don’t have a problem if Al Gore eats meat. I just think he should purchase carbon offsets each time he orders a burger.

Shades of Japanese horror movies! Fisherman captures a 990-lb, 33-foot long colossal squid off the coast of New Zealand. “It really didn’t put up much of a fight,” said one of the observers. “Its tentacles were moving back and forth, but that’s about it. It certainly wasn’t grabbing crew members and pulling them back into the sea.”

Whoops! Apparently the U.S. Mint left out the (fairly important) words “In God We Trust” on an unknown number of new George Washington dollar coins. “The first one sold for $600 before everyone knew how common they actually were,” coin expert Ron Guth said. “They’re going for around $40 to $60 on eBay now, and they’ll probably settle in the $50 range.”