The show very scientifically went over the geographic history of the earth. Sixty-five million years ago, they postulate, there was a huge meteor that smashed into the earth and wiped out the dinosaurs because of the huge climate change that happened as a result. (This is where I walked in and started paying attention.) They had these special effects dinosaurs falling over and geologists talking about the make-up of the meteor.
I was hooked (which is saying something. I would usually much rather play pretend with my daughter or read any book than watch TV.).
They went on to cover the history of the discovery of the ice ages and glacier movement. It was all accompanied by some very fine camerawork.
Then they dove into how the earth is changing now. This turned into projections about what was going to happen (all theories, of course). At the end of the show, they had done some fine special effects to show how our earth would turn out just like Mars, a vast wasteland with no breathable air and nothing alive on it.
It wasn’t just the bleak forecast that got under my skin the wrong way. It was an underlying assumption that I sensed: humans are to blame. Our global climate is going to be kicking things into a different gear, and we’re to blame.
There is no doubt that humans have impacted the environment. That’s going to continue to be the case, because we’re all still living here.
But, as Prince Charming and I were discussing it last night, he said something that just clicked, “Some of the practices that are most harmful to the environment have been in place for over 200 years. You can’t just change that overnight. And we only just found out they were harmful!”
As usual, he hit the nail on the head. THAT is what has been bothering me, the attitude that we humans somehow MEANT to ruin our resident planet.
I really don’t think the guy who invented the wheel meant to have it attached to a fossil fuel burning contraption that would ruin the atmosphere and eventually end life as we know it. I’m pretty sure the inventor of fire didn’t think in the back of his or her mind, “Ah-ha! A way to keep us warm AND a long-term desecration to the earth!”
The other thing that bothered me about the whole program, and about many of the discussions I’ve seen about environmentally-related topics, is their separation from faith. The end of this show did not, in any way, assume that it wasn’t right. Nope, earth’s only got another billion years left. Boom. Bam. See ya, human beings.
I know. This is the side of my discussion where there is much rolling of eyes and sighing of mouths. This is the part of the post where a portion of my audience checks out.
But, really. Why is everything “science” so often separated from everything “faith”? Wait a minute, I’m asking the wrong question. Did I start with “why”? Ah, I should know better.
When I learn more about the amazing world of science, whether through a discussion with my researcher-discoverer-scientist relatives or through a podcast or article, I so often find myself inspired. I so often see God’s hand at work in the order beneath the chaos. I so often find it hard to just shrug and write off to “nature” (is this an aka for God?) the little coincidences without which there would be no life, no spring, no order to biology.
We recycle. In fact, I feel even more strongly about this now that I’m Catholic than I ever did as a Bible-burning atheist. This world God gave us, this amazing place of miracles and wonder, is ours to treasure.
But I don’t for a moment think that the burning of fossil fuels trumps the killing of babies or the elimination of those inconvenient members of society who can’t help themselves, whether they’re the severely disabled or the rapidly declining.
We have to be very, very careful. When we forget that this world, this place we live, is just a place and we start to ignore the atrocities that are effortlessly making their way to the mainstream – from abortion to euthanasia, when we start to prioritize the place over the people living in it…we have slipped down a slope that terrifies me.
There’s hope. Today is Divine Mercy Sunday, a reminder of God’s unending mercy for us. It’s our call to pray for those around us. Did you pray the novena? If not, you can start anytime. See what nine days of prayer, focused on God’s mercy, will do for your outlook, for how you approach the world around you.
In that mercy is our hope. We’re called, as Catholics, as Christians, as humans, to be stewards of the gifts God gives us. The world is one of those gifts. But in our quest to be green, let us not forget the priorities we’re called to have.