Published on April 6, 2014
Apollo 15 - NASA 1 Earth Day 2014 State of the Planet A Christian Perspective Elton B. Sherwin Executive Director, The Carbon Zero Institute These are one persons observations and have not been endorsed by any church body
In 2014 More people well fed vs. any time in history Billions of people who do not worry next meal Don’t worry about famine in Europe and China 6 Miraculous medicine Far fewer deaths during childbirth Safer water and air quality in some places More than doubled life expectancy Image: Paco Alcantara
However… Challenges: World’s fisheries and coral reefs collapsing Challenges with fresh water, soil and food Climate is changing 2 billion new relatives on the way 2 billion living on less $5 a day have hard life Do worry about next meal Many don’t have access to clean water Many die from preventable diseases 7
How Should We Think About This? Bi-polar world 8
Two Extreme Viewpoints End is near Humanity is going off a cliff Nothing we can do Ignore the problems Technology (or the market) will save us Not my problem It’s not that bad 9
10 “…fill the earth and subdue it. …work it and take care of it.” Genesis 1:28b, 2:15b Biblical Perspective
Mankind has Excelled At Filling the earth Image Wired.com
12 “…fill the earth …take care of it.” Genesis 1:28b, 2:15b Future Focus
Looking Ahead Four Focus Areas 13 My opinions, have not been endorsed by any church body
Four Focus Areas 1. Climate Minimum +7º Fahrenheit in much of U.S. 14
15 Evangelical Call to Action on Climate Change Signed by over 260 senior evangelical leaders “Human-Induced Climate Change is Real…” “The Consequences of Climate Change Will Be Significant, and Will Hit the Poor the Hardest…” “The need to act now is urgent. Governments, businesses, churches, and individuals all have a role to play in addressing climate change— starting now.” Underline added
16 Signatories are People We Know Richard Mouw, Ph.D., Former President, Fuller Theological Seminary Richard Stearns, President, World Vision Philip Eaton, Ph.D., President emeritus, Seattle Pacific University Duane Litfin, Ph.D., President emeritus, Wheaton College William P. Robinson, Ph.D., President emeritus, Whitworth College
17 Not Bastions of Liberal Thinking Huntington University Anderson University Rock Bridge Seminary Fresno Pacific University Crichton College Lipscomb University Eastern Nazarene College Abilene Christian University Houghton College Northwestern College Belhaven College North Park Theological Seminary Messiah College They are collectively a thoughtful crew Tabor College Simpson University Warner Southern College MidAmerica Nazarene University Mississippi College Montreat College Eastern Mennonite University Southwest Baptist University Trinity Christian College William Jessup University Milligan College Missouri Baptist University John Brown University
Second Focus Area 1. Climate Minimum +7º Fahrenheit in much of U.S. 2. Deforestation, soil erosion, water scarcity, overfishing food scarcity Historic causes of collapse of civil society Easter Island, Haiti, Ethiopia… 18
Third Focus Area 1. Climate Minimum +7º Fahrenheit in much of U.S. 2. Deforestation, soil erosion, water scarcity, overfishing food scarcity Historic causes of collapse of civil society 3. Surprise events: wars and plagues Nuclear arsenal, germ warfare, pandemics “Black Swan” events 19
Fourth Focus Area 1. Climate Minimum +7º Fahrenheit in much of U.S. 2. Deforestation, soil erosion, water scarcity, overfishing food scarcity Historic causes of collapse of civil society 3. Surprise events: wars and plagues Nuclear arsenal, germ warfare, pandemics 4. Population 7 going to 9 or 10 Billion 20
High Population Density Causes or accelerates Deforestation Water / food scarcity 21 Greenhouse gases Genocides and wars Projected Population Growth to 2050 Image: Anthony Marr
Quick Pop Quiz 22
23 “…be fruitful …increase in number; fill the earth.” Genesis 1:28 partial When This Was Written The World’s Population Was?
24 Closer to 2 than 7,000,000,000
Another 2,000,000,000 Coming… 25 Projected growth to 2050 Image: Anthony Marr
26 being fruitful, increasing in number, and filling the earth. to Now is the Time to Transition from …taking care of it.
Three Recommendations 27
Expand Projects that Reduce Family Size Increase funding from: NGOs, foundations, charities, donor governments, and churches: Female run small business - 3x increase Girls in high school - 3x increase in funding Radio and TV focused on women’s health and empowerment – 10x increase in funding 28 #1
Make a 10% Commitment All NGOs, foundations, charities, donor governments, churches, mission trips: For all projects that improve life expectancy: Food, new crops, wells, water purification, drip irrigation, vaccines, most drugs, most public health projects, child wellness programs, etc. 10% of funding go to family planning 29 #2
Focus on Areas Where Population Increase Could Destroy Civil Society 30 #3 Egypt Pakistan India Islam Africa… Projected growth to 2050 Image: Anthony Marr
Table Discussion What projects does your church, NGO or non-profit fund that increase population? Water projects, clinics, vaccines, food aid, etc. Does your organization fund projects that fully offset this growth: Female run small business Girls in high school Radio and TV focused on women’s health Family planning resources, etc. 31
32 “…fill the earth and subdue it. …work it and take care of it.” Genesis 1:28b, 2:15b Now is the Time to
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