April Meeting Review

Published by Minnesota Atheists on

Map of the world showing land and ocean temperatures with orange hot spots and a black polar vortex.

Greg Laden’s talk on global warming nicely tied in themes of biblical disaster to the coming catastrophic changes our global home is going to visit on us even to the seventh generation. Well, not so nice, in review of the ways that the earth’s ecosystem will respond to the “sin” of overusage of carbon consumption by our industrialized economy.

The dire warnings of sea-level rise are being broadcast by people who have been studying the models of climate change. Like prophets in the wilderness, they are ignored by those of us who don’t want to take responsibility for making changes. Unlike the Bible’s prophets, there is no God to pray for forgiveness there are only ourselves to rely on for relief. What climatologists are discovering is that the levels of carbon expelled into the atmosphere are reaching levels correlated to historical periods of sea-level rises that will carry with them problems beyond even the catastrophes experienced by the Jews of the Old Testament.

Are we beyond the tipping point? It seems likely. Laden demonstrated that the response of the climate to the 400 parts per million density of carbon in the atmosphere has fallen within the predicted models of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,) but on the high end of predicted global and sea-level trends. We should expect worse disasters from climate than anything modern humans have seen; flooding, drought, ocean acidification, civil unrest from people who will have to adapt forcibly to the effects of climate change and we are going to have to deal with a plague of emerald ash borers as they migrate into the upper midwest.

The relationships between religion, politics and climate denial are not easily found, according to Laden but strong indications from polling show that conservative Christians are less likely to accept the science of global climate change than any other group. The policy question, then, for activist atheists is to choose our priorities. Greg Laden asked if the survival of our species is more important than moving society away from religion. I would say that we need to solve the most pressing problems first.

This may not seem like an atheist issue, and a bit of a departure from most monthly meetings but we owe it to future generations to address it with every bit of effort we can spare; atheists, theists and all who are concerned with the quality of life on Earth should take responsibility to mitigate the effects of the alarming global disasters of biblical proportions.

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Positive Atheism in Action Since 1991