Tuesday, April 26, 2011


If you have ventured to this blog over the past several weeks, you will have noticed ... nothing.  I gave up my blog for Lent.  But Christ is Risen and so has this Tuesday endeavour. :)

This has been one of the slowest springs I have experienced in my 48 year lifetime.  April is nearly done, and we have yet to see an April shower.  The snow came so late and melted so gradually that we didn't even see the streams alongside the streets and lakes in the lawns.  I'm not sure what that will mean for the greening of the earth.

This is not every region's experience, in Southern Alberta and in Manitoba and the Dakotas there have been flooding rivers - tornado season has come early and with a vengeance in the middle US.  All of this non-normal weather gets people talking about climate change - is this the new normal in a slightly warmer world?

Not long ago, I heard a program on CBC Radio One that reported on a study that found that in the US, people's belief in climate change varied significantly along political ideological lines:  the vaste majority of democrats and progressives are convinced by climate change science that human-influenced global warming is a significant issue that requires attention, while only a minority of republicans and conservatives held that view.  Interesting.  (I'm sorry I can't leave you a link to the broadcast, because I have since lost my note of what day I heard this story and waht show it was on.)

The point was that, particularly for advocates of climate change action, the debate cannot be seen as one where more statistics are needed.  The conversation needs to take place on the social level - the divide is an ideological one, not a scientific one.  Additionally, the study noted that this ideological divide really became obvious after the Kyoto Conference on Climate Change in December 1997.  That was when national governments in the developed world began looking at what they might be able to do to reduce the human impact on climate.  This meant the potential increase of government regulation and spending, which could have dramatic economic impacts.  So the ideological skepticism on the climate change science had an economic dimension.

An example given during the program was that by the 1950s, the science was largely united on the conclusion that cigarette smoke was dangerous to one's health.  But look how long it too for that 'science' to overcome the socio-economic influences that stood to be negatively affected.  It's only been in recent decades that governments were more prone to sue tobacco companies for healthcare costs than to be influence by the tobacco lobby.

And so, to seek a human consensus on what to do about climate change, the conversation needs to at the social level more so than the scientific one.

As Christians, we should understand this.  We lack any scientific proof of the resurrection of Jesus.  All we have is the biased testimonials of Jesus' followers.  And so we know that discussions of faith are more apt to happen at the heart level, rather than in the head.

If we lose our ability to relate to each other and understand each other socially, we will continue to be divided.  As Walter Farquharson lyricized: 'Walls that divide are broken down, Christ is our unity. Chains that enslave are thrown aside: Christ is our liberty.'

Happy Easter.