Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Contact Us | Home RSS
 
 
 

Forum focuses on climate change and Earth stewardship

November 12, 2012
By Josh Moniz - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - Climate change and the Christian responsibilities in stewardship of the Earth were the focus of the "Clean Energy, Climate and Health" forum held Sunday night at Our Savior's Lutheran Church.

Bishop Jon Anderson, of Southwestern Minnesota Synod, ELCA, expressed frustration that scientists and religious leaders working together are treated as an unusual sight. He said they have a natural overlap, particularly when Christians want to tackle their Biblical responsibilities of caring for the Earth.

He said that people often easily identify sin in more obvious forms when they commit it directly, but they often miss sin when it is committed communally. He said that the sin of turning your back on a problem because it was inconvenient or difficult carries just as much weight.

Article Photos

William Steger, a polar explorer of 20 years and a climate change expert who founded the Will Steger Foundation, presented his experience with climate change in upper portions of the northern hemisphere and in Antarctica.

"To have the impact [on climate change] we need, we would need to fundamentally change how we do things. So, I understand why it's so hard for people to change how they do things," said Anderson, "But, we are still obligated to be stewards [of the Earth]."

William Steger, a polar explorer of 20 years and a climate change expert who founded the Will Steger Foundation, presented his experience with climate change in upper portions of the northern hemisphere and in Antarctica.

He said his most pronounced personal experience was with the Arctic Ocean, which he has traveled on many times. He said that ice covered up to 90 percent of that ocean's surface, but the increasing temperatures over the decades have lead to two-thirds of the ice having melted. He said that similar things were happening with the ice caps around Greenland.

"People really need to wake up to how monumental the situation is," said Steger.

He added that even with the historic changes, people in the United States are starting to easily see the impact with the growing number of erratic weather patterns.

Finally, Jay Hamilton, science policy director for the Minnesota-based Fresh Energy, discussed her organization's current efforts to combat climate change.

She said that even erratic weather within Minnesota, such as three 1,000-year rain storms occurring with the last decade, clearly demonstrated the existence of climate change. She said it was just a matter of convincing those still skeptical of climate change to look into what scientists and 98 percent of climatologists were saying about the phenomenon, instead of blog and radio generalizations.

She said the process of climate change involved carbon being released into the atmosphere at beyond natural rates since the Industrial Revolution, where it sat "like putting on a sweater." She said this trapping of the heat causes the large patch of ice on the planet to melt, absorbing the energy and heat instead of reflecting it back into space. She said this would then feed further temperature increases into the cycle and leading to more ice melt.

She said there was still a chance to stop the cycle by concentrating on carbon emission reductions. She praised strong local efforts, like Minnesota's Next Generation Energy Act that requires Minnesota utilities to produce 25 percent of their energy using renewable resources by 2025. She said that on the broad scale, the biggest source of carbon emissions was the fossil fuels burned to produce electric energy. She said that focusing on clean energy sources like wind power and working on energy efficiency went a long way in tackling the problem.

She said a cost-effective approach of removing carbon from the atmosphere does not currently exist because of how widely it is dispersed. She said researchers are constantly seeking a reasonable approach, and that people have been working on lesser efforts in this area like planting more trees.

She said that the focus for next year was on encouraging Gov. Mark Dayton and the now DFL-controlled Legislature to increase the speed of carbon reduction programs.

(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at jmoniz@nujournal.com)

 
 

 

I am looking for:
in:
News, Blogs & Events Web