The earth is not heating up nearly as fast as the debate about its climate. We can blow up so irresponsibly that we lose the steam we need to act constructively. Or we can respond to this environmental challenge in a way that increases respect and effectiveness, while decreasing the hot error.
Every major religion has a moral mandate to take care of the Earth. For those who look to the Bible for instruction, it is the first responsibility given to man: "The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep [protect] it" (Gen: 2:15, NASB). Our moral obligation, then, does not depend on the rate our planet is warming, or even whether the main cause is human activity. We are to refrain from harming God's creation – period. Few Christians or persons of other faiths (or no faith) would disagree with that statement.
But the latest reports indicate the need to move the care of creation up the priority scale. The great news is that individually we can help as much as we have harmed the physical environment, but we must watch out that we don't poison the environment of relationships in the process.
We need the skeptics; they are a valuable part of the conversation. Skeptics see a speck of truth we need to consider. I have found that if I ignore them, all those specks can accumulate into a log in my own eye. Skeptics can keep us honest and steer our remedies away from some negative consequences with their warnings: "You're going to destroy the economy!" "You are trying to create a panic!" "This is more politics than science!" Truthfully, we do need to calmly and reasonably create market-based solutions that don't depend more on government policy than on grass- roots participation. What we don't need to do is yell back.
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