Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Am Not an Imposition

Global warming concerns have temporarily taken a back seat to hurricanes, financial crises, and the question of which shade of lipstick looks best on a pit bull. But the subject is far from dead.

A couple weeks ago, some European guy was in the news for suggesting that the best way to attack global warming was to stop having children. I didn't pay too much attention to the story, but I do find that it plays into an underlying assumption, often unspoken, sometimes almost subconscious, that accompanies the arguments of anti-global warming advocates.

The assumption seems to be that people are an imposition on the planet. That we should do as little as possible to change it (or as much as possible not to change it). That the earth is in some sense sacred and that we have no right to use or exploit its flora and fauna for our purposes.

And that all leads up to a small book I read recently. It showed up in the mail one day for reasons unknown to me, though I suspect it was sent to all people who subscribe to First Things. The book is published by the Acton Institute and is entitled Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition. This book has separate chapters from Jews, Catholics, and Evangelical Protestants, with each sharing the perspective on environmental stewardship that their faith tradition offers. Reading this helped to put thoughts to my sense of unease regarding the philosophy behind much global warming advocacy. And it supports my main contention when it comes to environmental issues:


(Nor Are You)

In upcoming blog posts, I'll explain what I mean by the above statement, as I share some of the thoughts from this book.


  1. Arnold,

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this topic. I have added Balance and Paradox to my new bloglist of "My Favorite Sites About Paradox." I hope all my friends will find their way over here for some great book quotes, comments on current events, observations about life, and everything else you have to offer.

  2. Derek -

    Thanks very much. I appreciate it!

  3. I remember back in the 70's how everyone was advocating the Green Revolution. I can't remember much, but the thought was that population would outpace food supplies and environmental resources and the race was on to bioengineer rice to feed everyone. I saw many films about it in high school and college. But when I actually talked to international students from the third world countries that the Green Revolution was concerned about, their take on world hunger had more to do with politics and corrupt governments, and population control wasn't even an issue to them. They were uncomfortable with the idea of population control because it offended their cultural value for family.

    So, the European guy's idea about population control isn't a new one. But it is just as racist as the Green Revolution. Because the highest birth rates happen to be in Africa and Latin America, while the lowest are in North America, Russia, Europe and Asia ( So, who is going to tell who not to have as many children as they want? Who has the right to tell others that a Western scientific unproven hypothesis trumps their love of children and family?

    I'm looking forward to your future installments about this issue!

  4. I read an article recently about population control which gave an interesting perspective. It made the point that society has more than anything to do with the number of poeple this earth can support. How much energy, food etc. different cultures use per person.

    Forinstance, a person in England uses 67 (I think that is the number) times more food and energy than a person in Cambodia.

    According to this article, the earth can support a substantial population if we do a better job of not wasting or polluting, not devouring resourses, and not eating like pigs....