- DOMINATE THE LAND. The global heating

Created: Tuesday, 18 March 2014 Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The global heating

1. In the Year of the Planet Earth, we address a problem with grave repercussions in the life of millions of persons, the global heating. We collect some questions: is the Earth heating itself up? Which are the causes?, which effects does it produce?, which consequences may it have?, are we before a moral problem?, what does God´s word says?, what can we do?

2. Al Gore’s  documentary, an uncomfortable truth, facilitates a conscience undertaking. A British judge, Michael Burton, denounces its alarmist mood, but not its bottom message: the planet is heating itself up by man’s action, this is dangerous and it constitutes a moral problem. According to the judge, the documentary it is (in general) correct, but it sets as certain some things that have not yet been proved or it prognosticates for the near future things that it is expected will not happen until thousands of years to come. Does the documentary exaggerate?

3. Until a little ago the governments did not pay attention to the problem: it was a business of “a handful of crazy people”. Today the situation has changed. The consciousness is growing global. On October the 12th  2007, Al Gore and the group of experts of the UN are awarded with the Nobel Prize. On November the 13th, 450 delegates of 130 countries met in Valencia accepting to attribute to the man the heating of the last 50 years. On December the 14th, representatives of 90 countries reach in the Indonesian island of Bali an agreement, that substitutes to that of Kyoto (12-11-1997), and it constitutes the first attempt to compromise the most contaminant countries into the gas emission reduction

4. Which are the cause of the heating? The scientists blame it to the accumulation of gases of greenhouse effect, mainly carbon dioxide, due to the burning of fossil combustible, like oil, coal or natural gas. Those gases accumulate in the atmosphere and retain a part of the heat emitted by the Earth, It is a comparison. Inside a greenhouse, the temperature is higher than in the outside, because more energy goes in that out.

5. According to the Spanish Oceanographic Institute, the Mediterranean suffers the effects of the climate change: in the last 50 years, it is higher (8 cm), more salty (from 0,03 to 0,09 Units) and hotter (between 0,12 and 0,5 grades). These data fit with what has been observed in the rest of the planet. In the century XX the middle level of the oceans grew up 17 cm and 0,74 grades the air temperature. An acceleration of the heating is confirmed in the 90´s.

6. Which consequences may bring the heating? It is not possible to predict what can happen in the different places: “it is foreseeable that the desserts will become hotter, what would have grave consequences in the Middle East and in Africa where the water is scarce”, “large part of the polar ice-caps would melt”, “large coastal surfaces could disappear flooded by the waters”, “farming lands would become desserts”, “millions of persons would emigrate”, droughts, heat waves, fires, torments, tornados, hurricanes, diverse illness.

7. To the extent that the global heating is produced by man, we are in front of a moral problem. The violence against nature comes back against man, and, in a special way, against the poor. In fact, the most contaminant countries are the richest. The poor have less protection means and they suffer more the consequences of the disasters. The earth is the home of all: it needs maintenance, contamination is not needed.

8. In the Genesis, male and female receive this task from God: Dominate the land. To dominate means to have control, “power that one has to use and to manage what is his”. Of course, we must take care of the earth, not to destroy it. To deny progress in not the intention, but to correct the abuses. If a country like Italy, in which the malaria was endemic from the epoch of the Roman Empire until the 30´s, has been able to end with it, it is mainly due to the projects of public works that allowed to eliminate the open sewers in which the mosquitoes larva grow” (J. Carlin)

9. The universe is inspired. God´s spirit hovered over the waters (Gn 1, 2), as a bird over where their baby birds are. The beings appear created successively until reaching the man. Psalm 8 is sang: what is the mortal that you be mindful of him?... You made him rule over the works of your hands (see Ps 144). The Genesis story is brief and global. It does not pretend to give a scientific vision of the world, but a vision of faith. The vision is not the fruit of speculation, but of the actual experience of faith. The narration is increasing and ordered. The lower beings appear first and they are ordered to the superior ones. At the end, in the summit of the creation, appears the man: In the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it” (Gn 1, 27- 28). The man has in his hands a task from which the world’s destiny depends.  The creation appears in the frame of a week that concludes with the rest of the Saturday (2, 1-4). The frame is religious. Everything is ordered to the man and the man is ordered to God. World and life are God´s gift, man’s task, blessing’s motive and thanksgiving to God.

10. The world is good, very good (1, 25. 31). The wonderful world reveals God´s wisdom: You arranged everything with measure, number and weight (Wis 11, 10). The clever design of the creation may also be perceived in the dynamic (evolutionary) vision and not only in the static (fixist) vision. It is necessary to distinguish between creation and creationism. This late one assumes an obsolete vision of the world and it makes a literal reading of the Genesis, but this is not necessary to live the world and the life like God´s gift, like his creation. From a modern vision of the world, we also may sing: how great is your name all over the earth!

11. According to God´s project, the world is a garden (Gn 2, 8), an habitable world, but it may become a dessert, an inhospitable world. It is in our hands. It is said in the Psalm 107: “He turned rivers into wastelands, flowing springs into parched grounds, 34 and fruitful valleys into salt-flats, because of the wickedness of their inhabitants. Yet he also turned deserts into watersheds and parched land into flowing springs. There he let the hungry settle and found a city where they could dwell.” The earth has 6.600 inhabitants: may the population multiply indefinitely?,  is it necessary a “responsible fatherhood” in a global scale (see GS 50-51)? That seems. To confront the increase of population, says the Council, “it is necessary to favour the technical progress”, but this progress “must stay under the control of man” (GS 64-65)

12. As in times of Noah, we should be vigilant before the torrential rain that comes (Mt 24, 37-44); perhaps we cannot avoid it, but we can take opportune and necessary measures (Gn 6, 12), to denounce the violence against the nature, that comes back against the man (6, 11), to promote the global alliance between God and the earth, to wait the peace dove to fly over us with an olive branch (8, 11), to contemplate in our horizon the rainbow like a signal of alliance (9, 13)

* Dialogue
    - Is the earth heating up due to man’s action?
    - Are we confronting a moral problem?
- The violence against the nature comes back against the man and, in a special way, against the poor?
- The man must dominate the earth and to take care of it: what can we do?