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On climate, ignorance is not bliss

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In her book “Total Truth,” Nancy Pearcey writes: “When we obey the Cultural Mandate, we participate in the work of God himself, as agents of his common grace, entering upon a lifelong quest to devote our skills and talents to building things that are beautiful and useful, while fighting the forces of evil and sin that oppress and distort the creation.”

Johnston County farmers understand the tragic results of radical shifts in what was once a more predictable climate for the cultivation of soil, planting crops and the harvesting of their hard work. Last summer’s record-tying heat might very well be the “canary in the coal mine” for our farmers when it comes to the issue of climate change.

That cultural mandate found in Genesis 1:28 — where we, as the human race, are charged with having dominion over the earth — has a serious and sobering meaning in its original Hebrew context. We do not have cart blanc to strip our forests, which refresh the air we breathe, or pollute our rivers and oceans with our garbage. Air and water are essential to all of life. Such actions are born of the evil of greed and sin, defying our charge to be loyal caretakers of God’s creation.

President Trump’s reversal of former presidents’ regulations that protect our planet and our environment are based on raw, unbridled corporate greed, while caring nothing for the pollution of our air and sources of water.

For those of you who are driven by the profit motive, climate change will not only impact our health and physical well-being but also our financial future.

According to MarketWatch, “Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaption efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century.

“Climate change has cost the U.S. taxpayers more than $350 billion over the past decade, according to a report last year from the nonpartisan federal watchdog the Government Accountability Office. By 2050, that figure will be $35 billion per year. Costs include clean-up and disaster assistance from flooding and storms, which are set to increase under rising temperatures.”

According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the following issues will confront our planet in the coming decades:

• Increased deaths and illnesses related directly to the issue of rising temperatures.

• Increasing numbers of extreme hurricanes, tornadoes and floods.

• Population shifts of millions of people because of droughts.

• Food safety, nutrition and distribution because of extreme climate changes.

• Decline in the global quality of the air we breath.

Let’s not be fatalist; let’s do something about climate change. I have.

I recently joined the Johnston County chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, an organization that seeks to educate people about climate change and ways to take action to halt and reverse the negative impacts of the human causes of it.

This June, as part of the Johnston chapter, I hope to travel to Washington, D.C., to take part in an international conference on the issue of climate change.

As we continue to trash and abuse our beautiful planet, it is only a question of how soon and how catastrophic the impact will be. I have a feeling Mother Nature will have the last word and we won’t like it.

Ned Walsh of Princeton is a retired Baptist denominational worked and former executive director of Johnston County Habitat for Humanity. Email him at nedward425@nc.rr.com.

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