by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Life is full of challenges but perhaps no challenge is as great as how to address the growing crisis of global climate change, and, if I may also add, though that is a different subject, peace for all in an ever increasing mad world where wars are still going on and are being considered, especially for “resources”.
Let me first stress that I am no Christian, nor do I believe in the G-g of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but I do believe that there is a Creator and that Creation did not just happen.
Many so-called Christians (and also Jews and Muslims) seem to believe that G-d gave them the Earth to exploit. But that is not the case. It says in the Bible that man is supposed to be a husbandman, that is to say a caretaker, of G-d's Creation. Instead of taking care of Creation, however, man, especially the so-called Christian, has exploited it, poisoned it, and so forth, to such an extent that much of life that once was on this Earth has already become extinct. What in the name of all that is holy are we doing?
Pope Francis said recently: “Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few : Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude.”
We have, by now, wasted, yes wasted, the last 25 years debating the validity of the science that points the finger directly at humanity as the cause of the climate change crisis. In that time, the crisis has only grown. Our children and their children will pay the price. The stakes are high. And those that really pay this price are those that are least responsible for this crisis.
As The New York Times reported recently: “The effects of human-induced climate change are being felt in every corner of the United States, with water growing scarcer in dry regions, torrential rains increasing in wet regions, heat waves becoming more common and more severe, wildfires growing worse, and forests dying under assault from heat-loving insects.”
Too many believe that when G-d presented humanity with dominion over the earth that we were given control over creation to do as we please; for the benefit of humankind above all else. But this is not the case. We were called upon to be stewards of Creation and not to dominate it.
We have interpreted the 'dominion' granted to humankind as giving us raw power to exploit and abuse the rest of Creation, rather than as requiring mature responsibility of us to show respect and loving care for creation.
Like rebellious adolescents we have been inclined to see the gifts of G-d as ours to use as we choose and we have done so at our peril and the peril of all of Nature. We are not the masters of Creation but called to be its guardian, its protector, while also being permitted to make use of the gifts of Nature.