Polar ice packs are large areas of pack ice formed from seawater in the Earth‘s polar regions, known as polar ice caps: the Arctic ice pack (or Arctic ice cap) of the Arctic Ocean and the Antarctic ice pack of the Southern Ocean, fringing the Antarctic ice sheet. Polar packs significantly change their size during seasonal changes of the year. However, underlying this seasonal variation, there is an underlying trend of melting as part of a more general process of Arctic shrinkage.
I saw the “Fabulous Fact” above, and decided to keep my list to one for this week, rather than five, because this particular fact is extremely important, and not very funny. There were a few comments I was going to make about the thickness of the ice relative to the thickness of some people’s heads, but decided to nix that in favor of a bit of education instead.
The Wikipedia page I read through – among many others in preparation for writing this post and as an initial reference to polar ice is interesting and worth reading. On that page was a very interesting video produced by NASA.
There is only one point about the controversial topic of “Global Warming” that I want to emphasize today. That point is: does it exist as a naturally occurring over-hyped phenomenon, of no consequence whatsoever in the grand scheme of things; or is it a synthetic catastrophe of overwhelming importance to the future of creation?
My opinion is derived from one source, and it stands paramount regardless of the condition of our earth. It involves our responsibility to creation – our essential job that must be done well to continue to receive the gifts that God created for God’s self and for our enjoyment and care:
Genesis 1:26-28 is a passage that just as many defenders of the environment quote with passion as do those who think all this “green talk” and “global warming” scare-tactics are just a fad and we should do whatever we want to do with the earth. The word on which everything hangs is “dominion” (responsibility, stewardship), taken from the Hebrew verb radah. From the paraphrase version of the Bible, called “The Message,” Genesis 1:26-28:
God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them
reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
God created human beings;
he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature.
He created them male and female.
God blessed them:
“Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”
People who think the Bible gives them license to treat the earth however they want, walk on some theologically tenuous ground in claiming that dominion (responsibility) means they can do whatever they want to it. While dominion implies a hierarchy that places humans in charge, it does not implicitly mean humans are to abuse the earth with no regard for the future.
Dominion can best be explained (for my personal understanding) within the greater context of the Bible, looking at how God expected people to act when S/He entrusted them with great responsibility and leadership over others. How we “rule” the earth is important. Thinking that the earth is yours to do with as you will is out of character with what God calls His/Her followers to do. Caring for the broken and the sick and the poor are all undeniably part of God’s heart for this world. S/He is a God who cares for everything, both great and small. Writers all throughout the Bible mention time and again how much God cares for His/Her creation. If this is the case, why would God give us a license to abuse it into oblivion?
“‘Green, American Style’ by SustainLane Creation Care contributor Anna Clark thoughtfully and engagingly points the way to more sustainable living and community. In this book she points out the results of how radically one perception of “dominion” differs from another:
“Nearly one-third of the world’s wildlife has been lost since 1970, according to a report released by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the World Wildlife Fund, and the Global Footprint Network. “You’d have to go back to the extinction of the dinosaurs to see a decline as rapid as this,” says Jonathan Loh, ZSL scientist and editor of the report. “In terms of human times-scales we may be seeing things change relatively slowly, but a decline of 30 percent in the space of a single generation is unprecedented in human history.” Indeed, the scientific data in study after study demonstrate that we are losing species at a rate of 1,000 to 10,000 times the natural rate.” (pg. 44)
Understand, my Gentle Readers, that my argument for thoughtful care and responsibility for our planet is not solely a faith-based one. While it helps form the basis of my argument to take seriously God’s desire, indeed command, that we care for God’s creation as emissaries, images, and/or viceroys for Creation, it need not be the only valid argument for our responsibility as caretakers of the planet.
Because in the final analysis, what difference does it make if there is or is not a phenomenon called “Global Warming” that is happening on earth, or even whether it is a normal, cyclical occurrence that has been going on since the very beginning? Doesn’t it make basic common sense to do all in our power to care for the world in which we live? What is the advantage, truly, of treating the universe as our personal garbage heap? In the end, it all comes down to two words: Personal Responsibility.
The world is our home. I frequently make the joke, in reference to my bad housekeeping habits: “A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.” In my heart, I know this is merely an excuse for doing as I please, and not as I should. In reality, “A well-tended planet is a sign of and example of our love for the gift of creation, and our concern for the future of us all.”
Any other occupation is prodigality and waste.
My dear Gentle Readers, this planet is ours to do with as we should, and not just as we wish. Of all, this mandate is enough. . .