News of the irreversible collapse of the Great West Antarctica Ice Sheet puts me in mind of the late Tiny Tim’s prescient anthem about the melting ice caps, “The Other Side.” Appearing in the 1968 album “God Bless Tiny Tim,” the song features the memorable chorus:

The icecaps are melting, oh, oh, oh, oh!
All the world is drowning, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!
The icecaps are melting. The tide is rushing in.
All the world is drowning, to wash away the sin.

I can’t find out anything about the songwriter, Bill Dorsey, but Tim seems to have been a serious Christian who once got upset with Howard Stern for taking Jesus’ name in vain. It occurs to me, then, that if something serious is going to be done about climate change, the purely scientific approach is not going to be enough.

These days, the skeptics do not claim that the climate isn’t changing. Their position is that the change is not due to anything done by people. In that sense, their interpretation is identical to the old secularist view that catastrophic weather events are not “acts of God” expressing divine judgments but mindless acts of Nature.  Nowadays, it’s the scientists who see in these catastrophes the dire payback for bad human behavior.

What needs to happen is to get conservatives back on board with their traditional view. To be sure, they will have to be persuaded that the turning from our sinful ways does not mean banning abortion, same-sex marriage, the teaching of evolution, and Obamacare. It means reducing our carbon emissions. And fast. Because, as the top story of the day makes clear, the melt-down is already upon us.

Categories: Culture

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Mark Silk

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

4 Comments

  1. Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    It is hard for some of us to take the climate scare stories seriously because we are old enough to remember the hysteria over supposed man-made global cooling the media and scientists ginned up back only a few decades ago. (With front page newspaper stories and Time -Newsweek cover stories). Once burned, twice shy. Fool me once–your fault; fool me twice -my fault.
    It strikes me that the same political, media, and pop science circles are behind the climate scare stories of today. On the other hand, some very underreported news stories seem to be hinting at a turnaround on the climate front.
    Considering the above, I think it is supremely arrogant of some to ridicule, insult, and even threaten those who are somewhat skeptical of the current hysteria. After all, the research conclusions pointing to cooling (or to warming) are only based on lightning flashes of time–a perfect set-up for producing false conclusions.

  2. samuel Johnston

    A Dutch immigrant friend one remarked that a local church was distractingly ugly.
    I replied, not to worry, in 40 years it will be a shopping center. I am all for clean air and drinking water, but given a choice between raising my taxes (a bunch!) and letting NY, New Orleans, and San Francisco move inland over the course of the next century, I say – tell your grandchildren to move! There is plenty of land above the projected sea levels, and plenty of time to build.

  3. When I was growing up I was taught that we were stewards of the land and that polluting or otherwise destroying the land was destroying and defiling God’s creation. “God is not mocked; For whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap”. We are sowing the seeds of unchecked pollution of the earth, we are reaping the results of that in the form of global warming and climate change. You can deny that all you want but science says it is so. Last I checked it was God Himself that created and passed along the knowledge of science. To not take advantage of that scientific knowlegdge and to continue to pollute the earth is to mock God Himself. He is not going to just fix the damage that we have caused by mocking Him and His word, both Bibically and scientifically We have had a choice, we have fallen for the propaganda of the rich who in their greed have continued to make profit while polluting this earth beyond measure. Now we will suffer the consequences. Sad.

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