Man is incredible in his capacity to create, develop and exploit the environment to his advantage. The Bible tells us that we are created in the image and likeness of God which means we have the capacity to do “God-like” things. The Bible also tells us that we were given dominion (rulership responsibility) over the earth so we are supposed to manage it in a way that we ensure it not only benefits us but that we do not harm it and cause it to work against us.
Unfortunately, in man’s quest for advantage and comfort, we have inadvertently harmed the planet and, as a consequence, we have harmed ourselves. Our capacity to create things for our benefit is tempered by our capacity to harm ourselves and the planet in the process. We have found a way to get more food, but in the process, we have harmed the animals, the soil, and nature by feeding steroids and hormones to animals and genetically modifying plants. We have also, in our quest for comfort, profit, and maximized living, found a way to make the earth warmer than it should be resulting in an unexpected consequence of things like pollution, toxicity and global warming. Our missteps have created monster storms as the earth reacts to our abuse.
There is some debate about what is happening in the earth but almost all the scientists I have spoken with are in agreement that the earth is getting warmer. Our local director of meteorology confirmed that the past decade has produced record high numbers in terms of atmospheric and oceanic temperatures, which have in turn fed things like tropical storms and hurricanes of unprecedented strength and destructive capacity.
In addition to the environment, we have produced increasing harm to our physical bodies resulting in record high incidences of cancer and other diseases. We are, in essence, on a path to self-destruction. There have been many warnings issued especially in recent times – but if we go back to the Word of God, we see that we are supposed to be good stewards of the earth if we want it to sustain us. We were told to “be fruitful and multiply”. We were also told of the principle of “seedtime and harvest” which essentially says that whatever you sow is what you reap. We have in many cases sown the wrong things, so we are reaping the wrong results.
How do we change the current situation? The same way we have figured out the problem is the same way we get to the solution. If we know what is causing the global warming, then the same ingenuity and “God-like” capacity we have used to create the problem is what we can use to solve the problem. The Bahamas currently lags far behind in addressing these issues. We have correctly noted that we are not the major offenders when it comes to pollution and global warming but that does not mean we should sit on the sidelines and wait for others to act or to rescue us.
As a country that survives off the environment of sun, sand and sea, it is imperative that we act proactively to preserve what sustains us. Solar energy, conversion to more environmentally friendly fuels, education of our population, strategic preparation to adapt to changing conditions, are all steps we can take as a people to position ourselves for survival in an increasingly hostile physical environment. Why has it taken us so long to consider and adjust to accommodate solar and green energy options? I believe the answer is that we have been negligent, but recent events have taught us that the clock is ticking, and we must hasten our preparations to stem the negative tide and position ourselves for a better future.
Some options are out of reach of the ordinary citizens but there are things each of us can do that may seem simple but can help. We can plant trees, change lightbulbs to LED (light-emitting diode), consume less energy, change our diets even in small ways and do little things like removing plastic from the environment wherever we see it. These are indeed small things, but the first thing that needs to happen is our mindset needs to change so that we begin thinking of the environment rather than ignoring it. If everyone does a little, great things can be accomplished. If we continue on the current path, then only we and our country will suffer. We have a choice. I say, let’s take note of global warming and see it as a global warning to change and become more proactive.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to email@example.com. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.