There is a war of ideas in the United States between the Christian right and the environmentalist movement.
The funny thing to me is that many people don’t recognize why the two groups are fighting. It is a battle between two opposing religions.
“But we’re not a religion,” environmentalists exclaim in shock. No, you really are. A religion is an unshakable faith in good and evil, in the way the world is, and how the world will end.
Just as Christians have clergymen, environmentalists have holy men of their own: scientists.
Environmentalists don’t actually feel the winters getting warmer but they believe that they are because scientists say it is so. And if the earth’s temperature is indeed rising, there are several reasonable explanations for it that don’t involve carbon dioxide emissions. But scientists have spoken! Rising levels of CO2 have created a greenhouse effect and the results will be catastrophic.
I’m not saying that scientists are wrong. I am saying that I am not certain what is happening. Environmentalists are certain. Certainty in what cannot be known is the cornerstone of religion.
Just as Christians believe in an almighty God, environmentalists believe in Mother Earth. They personify our planet and view nature as an almost supernatural force of goodness. And the arch-enemy of Mother Earth is man.
Just as Christians believe in original sin, environmentalists believe that each human is destructive to the planet. Instead of original sin, environmentalists call it a carbon footprint.
Just as Christians believe in Armageddon, environmentalists believe that the end is near due to climate-change catastrophe. They envision an end of the world that is every bit as vivid as Revelations: seas rising to engulf the land, heat that withers our crops, and an endless barrage of increasingly powerful hurricanes and tornados that annihilate the civilization that spawned them.
The beautifully shot documentary “Chasing Ice” follows photographer James Balog’s ambitious quest to capture the majesty of the earth’s glaciers before they’re gone.
In his Extreme Ice Survey, Balog and his team traveled to the northern tier of the planet to take pictures of glaciers in 2009 and then another picture at the same spot in 2012 to prove beyond a doubt that the ice is melting and receding.
Trudging through and climbing up all those glaciers is even tougher than it sounds. In the middle of the project, Balog has his third knee surgery. Then he ignores his doctor’s orders and heads right back to work.
Balog sincerely thinks that the earth is in more peril than he is. That is classic behavior for a committed believer to the environmentalism religion. If Mother Earth were really a thinking being, it wouldn’t view humans as powerful monsters who are capable of destroying it; it would view us as just another 6 billion more little ants that it will step on and destroy. The earth isn’t mortal and fragile. We are.
In the end, “Chasing Ice” did a darn good job of convincing me that the earth is truly getting warmer and less ice covered. However, I can’t see why that is not a positive change. If Greenland, Yukon, and Siberia become temperate and livable, that could be a boon for mankind.
But that would never occur to a hardcore environmentalist. To them: humans are evil, any change we make to the earth is bad, and the end is near. It’s an extreme and dogmatic view. That’s religion for you.