We’ve Lost the Climate War. It’s Time to Surrender.

We’ve Lost the Climate War. It’s Time to Surrender. September 9, 2017

In August of 2016, Bill McKibben wrote a piece for the New Republic entitled “A War at War” explaining the ways in which climate change is a war that is attacking our human society at every level. The climate war is “a world war aimed at us all,” he said. “And if we lose, we will be as decimated and helpless as the losers in every conflict – except that this time, there will be no winners, and no end to the planet-wide occupation that follows.”

GOES-16 Geocolor of Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017. NOAA. Public domain.
GOES-16 Geocolor of Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017. NOAA. Public domain.

He said that the only hope was to mobilize ourselves like we did for WWII.

As I read the article, I remember thinking that Hurricane Sandy should have been our “Pearl Harbor moment.”  I had hoped that the 2012 superstorm which attacked the densely populated East Coast, destroying so much of the New Jersey shoreline and putting New York in the path of devastation, would be the wake-up call we needed. I thought this would the one event that would shake the scales of denial from our collective eyes and spur us to mobilize ourselves to fight climate change.

Aftermath of extensive flooding along New Jersey shore Aerial photo of damaged homes along New Jersey shore after Hurricane Sandy. Photo credit: Greg Thompson/USFWS. Public Domain.
Aftermath of extensive flooding along New Jersey shore
Aerial photo of damaged homes along New Jersey shore after Hurricane Sandy. Photo credit: Greg Thompson/USFWS. Public Domain.

It was not to be.

We continued with fossil fuel business-as-usual.  In fact, a year after McKibben’s article, we have a climate-change-denying president who has delivered on his promise to undo countless environmental regulations and pull our country out of the Paris Climate Accords.  And he has installed a rogue’s gallery of environmental criminals within his cabinet to dismantle every possible protection against ecological felonies.

I thought the moment was still coming.

I insisted to my good friend and fellow climate activist Peterson Toscano that, like the attack on Pearl Harbor that created the political will for the U.S. to enter World War II, the moment with the war on climate was still coming.  The question we were debating was how blunt we should be in warning people so that action could be taken now rather than later to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

In his Citizen’s Climate Radio podcast, Peterson did an excellent episode called “Apocalypse now? Fear and climate communication,” in which he discussed reactions to the July 2017 New York magazine article, “The Uninhabitable World” by David Wallace-Wells. In no uncertain – and frightening – terms, Wallace-Wells laid out the worst-case scenarios we will face from climate change.  In response, environmentalists debated the use of fear tactics for climate communication. Some argued that such doomsday messages can undermine our efforts and cause people to resist or even deny the danger at hand.  If we scare people too much, it will backfire, the argument went.

That argument seems quaint now.

In light of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and the sheer onslaught of raging fires, floods, and catastrophic weather events across this planet in just the past two months, the debate about the messaging regarding climate communication seems a moot point.

Flooding after Hurricane Harvey in Port Arthur, Texas. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel J. Martinez). Public domain.
Flooding after Hurricane Harvey in Port Arthur, Texas. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel J. Martinez). Public domain.

Because here’s what I’m starting to realize.  We’re long past the possibility of mobilizing ourselves to combat climate change. Even the Great War metaphor is wrong. The problem with the WWII comparison is that the metaphor positions us as “the good guys” who swept in and took care of those evil Nazis and the Empire of Japan.

But we’re not the good guys this time.

We’ve been the arrogant rogue nation for decades now, insisting that we can have our way with the planet, and that others must bear the brunt of the cost.  The United States has been at the forefront of launching the eco-holocaust.  Imperial America has muscled its way across the earth, digging, drilling, fracking, pipelining, and toxifying the water, land, and air along the way.

Mea culpa.

And I fully admit that I have benefited from this ecological hostility. I have enjoyed my fossil-fueled lifestyle, and have not done enough to call my country to account.

So when I think about the “climate bombs” of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma – the largest, most devastating superstorms ever experienced in the United States, both dropping within weeks of each other – I cannot help but think of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The planet is sending us a direct message:  surrender.

We are not going to win this war on the climate.  It has already won.  There is no fighting back.  We must humble ourselves and agree to the terms of surrender.

Nature is giving us a Potsdam Declaration that demands the complete disarmament of our fossil-fuel industry and the unconditional surrender of our imperialistic economy.  And as with the ultimatum of that historic declaration over 70 years ago, we are being promised “prompt and utter destruction” if we do not surrender.  [And what might be the terms of that surrender?  Read: Planet Earth’s Postdam Declaration on Climate Change.]

Japanese Surrender - USS Missouri 2 Sep 1945. Photo credit: Marion Doss. Some rights reserved. flickr.com.
Japanese Surrender – USS Missouri 2 Sep 1945. Photo credit: Marion Doss. Some rights reserved. flickr.com.

We are in a humiliating position, to be sure.

And I expect to receive a barrage of negative push-back for having the audacity to suggest something so “unpatriotic.”  But let me be clear – I love this country.  It has been my home all my life.  Nevertheless, I love this planet more.

Those who want to save their life . . .

And as a Christian, the words of Jesus keep echoing in my mind: “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?” (Luke 9:24-25).

In other words, to save this country, we must surrender to a higher calling of humility, obedience to the dictates of God’s Creation, and radical focus on rebuilding a just and equitable society and economic infrastructure focusing on “the least of these” – those who have suffered under our oppressive reign.

We would do well to model ourselves on the wisdom of the Japanese at the end of WWII.

They did surrender.  They accepted the terms of peace.  It took a generation, but that nation healed and rebuilt itself without the imperialistic and militaristic structures it had deemed so necessary for its identity and pride.  Certainly, Japan is not perfect, but it survived.

I, for one, am willing to surrender.  I want our leaders to come to the table and accept Nature’s terms.  I want us to survive.  I want peace with this planet.

Read: Planet Earth’s Potsdam Declaration on Climate Change”

Leah D. SchadeLeah D. Schade is the Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary (Kentucky) and author of the book Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit (Chalice Press, 2015).

Twitter: @LeahSchade

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeahDSchade/.


“A World at War,” by Bill McKibben, New Republic, August 15, 2016, https://newrepublic.com/article/135684/declare-war-climate-change-mobilize-wwii

Information about Superstorm Sandy:  “Superstorm Sandy Anniversary: Remembering Hurricane Sandy Two Years Later,” by Eric Zerkel, weather.com, Oct. 29, 2014.  https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/superstorm-sandy-anniversary-20141029#/!

“Citizens’ Climate Radio Ep. 14: Apocalypse now? Fear and climate” by Peterson Toscano, July 24, 2017,  communication https://citizensclimatelobby.org/citizens-climate-radio-ep-14-apocalypse-now-fear-climate-communication/

“The Uninhabitable Earth,” by David Wallace-Wells, New York magazine, July 9, 2017, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html

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  • jekylldoc

    I wonder how many Texans realize that there will be no receding of the waters when the polar ice caps have melted. No neighbors on high ground to rescue the ones whose houses have been inundated. What will it take? Instead of “How long, Oh Lord?” I find myself despairingly asking, “How long, Americans?”

    • I share your exasperation, and your realization that our pleas need to be heard by our fellow Americans. I read another piece from a writer who completely deconstructed the logic that God is the cause of hurricanes: http://chriskratzer.com/no-christian-god-doesnt-send-hurricanes/. I find this a helpful argument for steering away from thinking God will solve our problems and clean up our self-made messes.

      • Chari McCauley

        Here’s a question. Why people, who believe in a new Heaven and new Earth, don’t think Father would still expect us to keep our room clean?
        We abuse everything.

    • I’ve had the thought lately the Texas and Florida are becoming the new Appalachia.

      • Can you say a little more about that, Charles?

        • What’s it going to be like for those areas next year during the hurricane season? How about the year after that and the year after that? It’s not going to be safe to live there anymore. people will never get it back to the way it was. They are in shock. They are the walking wounded. Instantly homeless. Everyday is bringing them more trauma. Will the Trump Administration rise up to meet their Needs? Betrayal and abandonment is in their future if the pattern of the Trump Administration will carry forward as we’ve seen it unfold this year. On the other hand everyone of the survivors are liberated to become activists for climate change relief and Trauma recovery. What is the rest of the country going to do to support these survivors?

          • Thank you for explaining this more in depth. I agree with your analysis of the situation. As a person of faith and a member of the Lutheran Church (ELCA), I know our disaster relief efforts will be there for the duration of the recovery and afterwards. My concern is that with so many disasters, our capacity to respond may be overwhelmed.

          • Yes the situation is unmanagable. Admitting That is the first step to recovery IMHO.

          • hisxmark

            There are four million people homeless in Bangladesh, eastern India and Nepal. Their crops have been flooded and there is no clean water. Where crops are not flooded out they are failing from heat and drought. It is going to get very ugly and India and Pakistan have thermonuclear capabilities.
            Oh, by the way, the Siberian tundra and taiga are burning with a column of smoke 2000 miles long that can be seen from space.

          • I am finding comfort and a modicum of peace just being aware I fit now in a universe that has always seemed indifferent to me and my gifts, experience, future. Life felt meaningless until I hit bottom after alcohol stopped working. I’m constantly conscious that I lack control, I’m powerless & my life is unmanagable. Now everyone on planet earth is reckoning with impending death in the most horrible ways never imagined! That’s just where I fit in! On the third step of the program I follow I found that all through my 66 years that I have been walking through the valley of the shadow of death i need not have feared evil for THOU was with me waiting to restore my soul. Now all the barriers are removed.

            Anyone who cannot come to terms with his life while he is alive needs one hand to ward off a little his despair over his fate… but with his other hand he can note down what he sees among the ruins.
            -Franz Kafka
            https://youtu.be/f4MRmEPNUxY https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3fc888dfce438ec1ccd5df23e2d64e907d56b54b6d53c4fd0d2c97f99a0a6963.jpg

  • Jackson Davis


    Dr. Guy McPherson, is a Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and
    Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, and
    the world’s leading authority on Abrupt Climate Change leading to
    Near Term Human Extinction; that is, he is knowledgeable about the
    habitat necessary for human survival. As the global average
    temperature rises above a certain point, it’s not that human beings
    can’t live at higher temperatures, but that the plants that we and
    other animals depend upon for food cannot adapt fast enough and they
    die out.

    Based on these facts, and the abrupt rise in global average temperatures
    due to the predicted 50 Gigaton bursts or “burps” of methane in
    the Arctic Ocean this year or within the next two years, Dr.
    McPherson has written an article which includes a timeline for
    virtual Human Extinction within 7-31 months from now:


    • Well that’s a “holy &h!t” article. I’ve worried about complete planetary collapse, too, but the thought of a 10-year timeline never occurred to me. “Pressum diem (squeeze the day). Make every one matter. Like all of us, the days are going away faster than expected.”

    • jock1234

      There are books on the other side of the isle – which say the exact opposite. Are you not cognizant of such?

  • John C Holbert

    Thank you for the grim forecast, perhaps an odd thing for which to be thankful, but altering lifestyle first takes an admission of fault. And we are at fault, most especially we US citizens. The dolts who are supposedly in charge have not a clue about this, but they all too soon will know. Whether we will pay our dues sooner or later I can not hazard a guess, but the payment will come due. I am 71 years old and will probably not se the worst of these realities, but I have two lovely grandchildren, ages 4 and 2, and they assuredly will see. I will not rest easy when my last day comes, knowing I have not done enough to call all to account.

  • Bill Scudder

    Climate change is not man made. It has happened many times down through the centuries and it is happening again. Why God does this every so often is unknown but He is God.

    • Duane Locsin

      You are NOT a climate Scientist or an expert at all in Climate Science.
      Why would anyone take Scientific and Medical (This is also for the anti-vaccination crowd) suggestions from some dude on the Internet over published research from actual experts from the field and relevant institutions?

      Climate change is not political or religious, it is fact and 97% of the Scientific community, Climate Scientists and NASA who study and research this are in agreement human activity IS the major source of these events.
      That’s why there are international climate protocols like the Paris accord (which Trump at the behest of Oil/Gas industry have pulled the United States out off)

      I think the article is stupid for it’s War like theme, what’s next a War on climate change?

      Do as the article suggests, give it up and actually start listening to Climate Scientists.

      • jock1234

        Oh I have listened, to their threats.
        I’ve also listened to reality. Which is that climate is ALWAYS changing!
        Grow up & get used to it.
        Besides, Al Gore & accolades are in this for the money, not the science, what little there may possibly be.
        Again, grow up child!

        • John Purssey

          A baseless opinion terminated with an insult. Not worthy of consideration.

          • jock1234


        • Charles Winter

          Can you name one era in human history when the climate was changing as fast as now? Our climate is predicted to warm by at least 6 degrees C over the period from 1870 to 2170. The last time the climate warmed by 6 degrees C in a short time was at the Permian-Triassic boundary, and that was over a period of several millennia. Species were not able to adapt to the rapid change in climate, and 95% of species went extinct.

          How many species do you think will be able to adapt to such a rapid change in climate? Are you certain that humans will be included in the survivors?

          • jock1234

            All humanity and animal life will adapt to whatever is thrown their way Mr. Winter.
            Your “predictions”, can be supplanted by other “predictions” Sir!
            It’s not so much science, as it is an agenda. Either you know that, or you don’t care.

            By the way, what have you done with your vehicle/s? Are you still driving your cars? Are you living with 100% solar power? I already know the answer.
            Do you own a private jet like Gore? Speak some truth, real truth, and give up your carbon foot prints if you REALLY believe. I and countless others DO NOT BELIEVE, or at least to any extent like you do…!

        • Paperboy_73

          What specific piece of scientific evidence would it take for you to change your mind? What’s the piece of the jigsaw that you think we’re missing?

          • jock1234

            It’s not a jigsaw puzzle.
            You “jump on Gore’s wagon” people, need a new agenda.
            CLIMATE CHANGE existed before man even roamed the earth poncho. ‘Ya follow?

          • Paperboy_73

            So you don’t dispute any specific scientific claim?

            Just trying to put the intellectual heft of your objection into an appropriate context.

          • jock1234

            WRONG! Ocular changes/visual acuity does NOT change daily. It occurs over years of time. Much like tooth enamel wear. Over the years… Get used to it – these changes are always, have always and will always be changing. Further, our maker didn’t put fossil fuels on earth for us to kill ourselves with climate change theology as you proclaim.
            Shallow minds believe things like you have absorbed about climatic changes – period!

          • Paperboy_73

            You missed my point. If you woke up tomorrow with no vision whatsoever (or no teeth, if you like) you wouldn’t ascribe that to natural slow changes in visual acuity.

            Similarly, climatic conditions are changing so fast, we can’t ascribe that to natural slow change seen over hundreds or thousands of years.

            You seem to have a particularly strong opinion, so let me ask. What piece of scientific evidence would it take to change your mind? If the answer is “none”, then your objections are ideological rather than scientific, and there’s little point trying to discuss it in good faith.

          • jock1234

            Did you miss the boat? Our maker didn’t put fossil fuels on earth for us to kill ourselves with climate change theology as you proclaim.

            I’ll ask you the same question: What piece of scientific evidence would it take to change your mind? As there are countless books against your Climate change theology. And, did you notice, Al Gore’s movie is NOT being watched at the box office! Surprise? http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2017/08/07/al-gores-inconvenient-sequel-bombs-at-box-office-ranks-in-15th-place.html
            And the contemporary movie that counters Gore’s claims plus al of the countless articles that counter what you & Gore claim: http://www.climatedepot.com/2017/08/23/climate-depot-special-report-fact-checking-of-al-gores-an-inconvenient-sequel/

            Oh, and did you yet answer the question about have you given your automobile up and begun riding your bicycle? Are you 100% wind & solar? Why not? You must not believe your own snake oil…

          • Paperboy_73

            I am confused as to your cat reference.

            I don’t own a car or a bicycle, regrettably. I’m a pedestrian. I’m going to restrict my answer to the actual substance of your post, which is the link to climatedepot (Al Gore’s ticket sales not really being admissible science, although I can understand that your background might lead you to get confused over what is and isn’t science).

            It mostly links to other faulty climate-denier pages, in a sort of ouroboros of incorrectness. It also misrepresents the actual articles it cites. But I will give it this, it’s certainly long.

            I’m not going to go through line-by-line, because nobody has that sort of time (it’s work hours, here down under). But it’s vastly over-representing a minority view. The climate is changing faster than it ever has before – any non-cherry picked survey of the scientific literature bears this out.

            Neither of us are going to change our mind based on what the other says though, so I’m happy to tap out.

          • jock1234

            As you wish.

            Don’t forget, we were just a few hundred years ago, told by the majority that the EARTH WAS ROUND!
            That didn’t work out too well did it referring to accuracy. We were told by O Bama that if we liked our Dr. we could keep him, the majority believed that con as well.

            Read up. YOU’RE WRONG on this one too!

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            “Don’t forget, we were just a few hundred years ago, told by the majority that the EARTH WAS ROUND!”

            For people who don’t get science:


          • jock1234

            For Giauz: http://www.climatedepot.com/2017/08/19/climatologist-rips-gores-sequel-chock-full-of-bad-science-bad-policy-factual-errors-writes-book-to-debunk-film/

            READ IT! Don’t dismiss it. I have my Doctorate in Science and Chemistry. How about you?

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            So you don’t know much about climatology, either?

          • I’ve been following this conversation with interest, jock1234 and Paperboy_73. Jock1234, I’m confused by your last post. Are you saying that you believe that the earth is not perfectly round, or that it is flat?

            Also, jock1234, can you share a little bit about who you are, your background, and how you came to feel so strongly about your position within the climate debate?

            And Paperboy_73, I invite you to share the same if you are willing.

            I ask this in the spirit of fleshing out the the conversation a bit.

            Thanks to both of you for engaging this important topic.

          • jock1234

            I’d recommend you read the posts in totality then first. Tell me when you have read them entirely so!

            Order and read among others, this book: http://www.climatedepot.com/2017/08/19/climatologist-rips-gores-sequel-chock-full-of-bad-science-bad-policy-factual-errors-writes-book-to-debunk-film/ (AN INCONVENIENT DECEPTION). ALL who respond, please tell me, have you read this book?

          • Before you check out, Paperboy_73, I wanted to make sure you saw my question posed to jock1234 on his latest post. I appreciate our sharing a bit about yourself, and wonder if you would be willing to give us a little more about who you are, your background, etc. I’m attempting to put a human face on the debate, so thanks for considering.

          • Paperboy_73

            The evidence it would take for me to change my mind is simple.
            – Data showing a portion of historical global temperatures changing at anywhere near the current rate for non-human reasons
            – Annual averaged global temperature to decrease back to pre-2000 levels without intervention

            The first would allow me to acknowledge other possibilities, while the second would bring me around.

            However, any fair interpretation of the science doesn’t reflect those at all. I realise it won’t convince you, but for anyone who wants to read the actual state of the science (with links to credible scientific articles in internationally-recognised journals), this is the IPCC report – made publicly available for scrutiny.


            It’s a good read.

            EDIT: I apologise for coming back – I didn’t realise you posted a number of replies, and only saw the one I replied to at first. I’m happy to leave it at this if you are.

          • jock1234

            Wish you the best, but this climate CRAP, is waayyyyyy over blown. Someday, you’ll learn the truth!

          • jock1234

            Cat got your tongue-eh?

          • Paperboy_73

            If your main objection is that the climate has always changed, you’re missing a key point.

            Every adult’s eyesight deteriorates slightly for their entire life, once they pass their mid-20s. But if I woke up tomorrow and found I was blind, I wouldn’t sit down and say “well, my eyesight changes every day; this is just normal”. I’d go to the doctor, because something very wrong had happened.

            It’s that, but with climate. The rate at which it is changing right now vastly exceeds the standard climatological drift. This isn’t just normal.

      • billwald

        No such thing as a climate scientist. Weather and climate are chaotic.

        • Paperboy_73

          The study of chaotic problems is a major component of the mathematical theory of dynamical systems. “Chaotic” doesn’t mean “intractable”. There are many mathematical and scientific tools for effectively analyzing chaotic systems.

      • Duane – Thank you for engaging on this topic. I learned from climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe that the percentage of climate scientists in agreement about climate disruption is now up to 99%. Here’s a helpful short video of her explaining this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m50bYJX2i6I

      • hisxmark

        Duane Locsin: “Climate change is not political or religious, it is fact and 97% of the Scientific community, Climate Scientists and NASA who study and research this are in agreement human activity IS the major source of these events.”

        And the three percent…

        “The 3% of scientific papers that deny climate change? They’re all flawed

        It’s often said that of all the published scientific research on climate change, 97% of the papers conclude that global warming is real, problematic for the planet, and has been exacerbated by human activity.
        But what about those 3% of papers that reach contrary conclusions? Some skeptics have suggested that the authors of studies indicating that climate change is not real, not harmful, or not man-made are bravely standing up for the truth, like maverick thinkers of the past. (Galileo is often invoked, though his fellow scientists mostly agreed with his conclusions—it was church leaders who tried to suppress them.)
        Not so, according to a review published in the journal of Theoretical and Applied Climatology. The researchers tried to replicate the results of those 3% of papers—a common way to test scientific studies—and found biased, faulty results.
        Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University, worked with a team of researchers to look at the 38 papers published in peer-reviewed journals in the last decade that denied anthropogenic global warming.
        “Every single one of those analyses had an error—in their assumptions, methodology, or analysis—that, when corrected, brought their results into line with the scientific consensus,” Hayhoe wrote in a Facebook post.
        One of Hayhoe’s co-authors, Rasmus Benestad, an atmospheric scientist at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, built the program using the computer language R—which conveniently works on all computer platforms—to replicate each of the papers’ results and to try to understand how they reached their conclusions. Benestad’s program found that none of the papers had results that were replicable, at least not with generally accepted science.”


        We can’t surrender. Nature doesn’t take prisoners. We may have to leave the planet to survive. We will certainly have to leave behind capitalism, boundless growth, waste, planned obsolescence and the profit motive, That means we will probably have to cull the population.

        • I appreciate your further clarification about the 3%. As for your final paragraph, I believe that is Stephen Hawking’s position as well – at least the part about leaving the planet. Do you think that there is enough time left for humanity to establish off-world colonies (to use a Bladerunner term)? And when you say “we” have to cull the population, that raises some red flags for me. Can you say more about what you mean by that?

          • hisxmark

            There may be time to establish orbiting habitats. But this plan will meet resistance. Colonizing the moon or Mars is problematic as mammalian embryos won’t implant in zero gravity and there may be other developmental problems in less than one gravity.
            By culling the population, I mean we must be very careful about who we choose to survive. The deniers must be left to face the fatal truth. The profiteers must be left to their money. Living off Earth will not allow us the luxuries of waste and pleasant delusions.

          • Sadly, the deniers and the profiteers are the precisely the ones who would have the funds and the power to create off-Earth habitats.

          • hisxmark

            Leah D. Schade: “Sadly, the deniers and the profiteers are the precisely the ones who would have the funds and the power to create off-Earth habitats.”

            The deniers and profiteers have funds, because we believe in the fiction of money. They have the power we have ceded to them.

    • Bill – I appreciate your engaging with this topic. Actually, 99% of the scientific community is in agreement that climate change is real and is caused by humans (not just men). This is also not God’s doing. According to Genesis Chapters 1 and 2, God entrusted Earth and all of the creatures to human beings for care and safekeeping. We have violated that trust.

    • Maybe god’s sending humanity a message: stop wrecking the bloody planet!

      • Ken Allen

        The only message God sent us is Scripture and it is centered on Christ and salvation, not on the planet. Creation, which includes our earth, is under the curse and that would include the climate and weather which mankind has been trying to control since he/mankind appealed to the gods (to whom he attributed the power to control climate and weather). This curse is only lifted when Christ comes back to complete the soteriological prophecies and covenants. Sure, we should do all we can to care for God’s gifts but this global warming war removes God and puts science and man’s wisdom at the forefront. In reality, we are at war with the curse that God placed on creation due to man’s rejection of His plan in the first place. His plan is mankind’s salvation, not earth’s salvation.

        • ‘if.’, not ‘when.’.
          Jesus was supposed to be coming back for quite a while now, but whenever someone thinks he’ll be back to fix their mess, he isn’t. Time and again, and again, and again, and again, and again:

          But I’m sure he’ll be back to save you; to be your fairy godmother./s

          • Ken Allen

            If you have a Bible, read 2 Peter 3.3-7. This speaks
            directly to your statement. As for your last sentence and its mockery; mockery
            is not language but rather a demonstration of the absence of reason and the language necessary to fulfill
            reason’s purpose.

          • Do you not think that christians would have quoted 2 Peter 3:3 all those previous times that second coming predictions failed? At what point do those words go stale with repetition?

            Take it from a former pentecostal: you and your church have been waiting for almost forever for the second coming, and they will continue to wait forever, and its no way to live, believing that everyone and everything of this world holds no value, as if god would wipe it all away.

          • Ken Allen

            God’s Word never grows stale and His timing along with HIs existence in the realm of eternity makes our demands for action during our brief existence in time, irrational.

            The Parousia is not the purpose for Christ’s first coming, death, and resurrection. I am not waiting for anything but instead am living the Kingdom life that Christ says is already here due the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (cf. Luke 17.21). If I seek truth, it is from those who are victorious in and faithful to God’s Word, not those who have fallen away and I pray that you find your way back.

          • What do you think is the eternal fate of those who have ‘fallen away’, that remain apostate? Do you have any dear friends, parents or children that have fallen away from the church, or are simply not interested in christ?

          • Ken Allen

            I prefer the word outcome and not fate. Fate removes
            responsibility from the person and from God. God takes responsibility for His
            creation through His death on the cross and man is faced with his
            responsibility by accepting or refusing God’s offer of forgiveness. Scripture
            is clear on what the outcome is for those who reject Christ, and that judgment
            is not for me to declare. I have no way of knowing the last thoughts and
            discussion that an apostate or unbeliever may have with God in those moments preceding
            death that no one else is privy to. I do have relatives that have rejected
            Christ but there is still time for them to make amends.

          • “Scripture is clear on what the outcome is for those who reject Christ”
            If it is clear, what is that outcome?

            Do you think that you will continue to remember all of your loved ones that didn’t want anything to do with Jesus? Would you hold onto that memory throughout the millions, upon billions, upon trillions, of years of eternal life promised to you? Would they still matter to you, if they were not saved before their deaths?

          • Ken Allen

            It would appear that you are asking if I would suffer
            emotionally for eternity at the thought of my present loved one’s choice to
            exist in eternity without God’s presence and attendance. No, I would not
            because of what Scripture promises (cf. Rev. 21.4). It could be that there is
            sadness and grief at the realization that some of those that I loved during my
            lifetime are not with me in God’s presence, but He attends to that grief. This
            is what the Westminster Shorter Catechism says about mankind’s chief end (or
            purpose of existence): “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him

          • Well, all the things of this earth, including your non-religious loved ones, might as well be completely insignificant to you, considering the infinite time you’ll be spending with god would be far, far greater than the mere instant you spent here on earth.

        • Ken – That is certainly one way to interpret the meaning of Scripture. We might also consider Romans 8:18 – 25:

          I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.
          19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God;
          20for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
          21that the creation
          itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the
          freedom of the glory of the children of God.
          22We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now;
          23and not only the
          creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit,
          groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

          In my book Creation-Crisis Preaching, I make the case that Creation is waiting for us to be revealed as children of God, to set Creation free from the bondage to decay (Chapter 7, p. 176).

          So, while I appreciate your engagement with this important topic, I dispute an anthropocentric approach to interpreting Scripture. “For God so loved THE WORLD,” not just humanity (John 3:16).

          • Ken Allen

            The topic and focus of Paul’s discourse is the believer and
            not the earth or creation. You cannot ignore Rev. 21.1 as God’s personal intent
            for what happens to creation and it is not saved nor is it intended to be saved
            by man’s effort. This seemingly worshipped creation will be destroyed and is in
            fact designed to be so by God’s prophetic Word (cf. 2Pet. 3.7, 10).

            In Romans, Paul is not placing creation above man in God’s
            economy but is instead using the cursed creation as an example of man’s hope
            that creation looks forward to and man lacks. Man, in his pride and
            disobedience seeks his own will and ignores God’s promise of recreation because
            of Christ. Creation, on the other hand, is represented as figuratively looking
            forward to its being restored in its original condition and is given human
            emotions as is demonstrated in anthropomorphic language used throughout Scripture.

            As for your anti-anthropocentric attribution for the purpose
            of the Gospel, that is in the realm of unorthodoxy and cannot be reconciled to
            man’s creation in God’s image as the design for Christ’s death and resurrection.
            What you are representing is a Gospel that Paul warns against (cf. 2Cor. 11.4;
            Gal. 1.8) and in Galatians the warning is severe.

            John 3.16 is not translated in such a way to remove man as
            the central theme of Christ’s work on the cross. Man is God’s central figure
            and concern; the rest of creation is under man’s authority (cf. Gen. 1.26-27).
            What you have done is placed the creation (except man) as equal to man in value
            and that is unscriptural and is not in keeping with the Christian doctrine.

            However, now that I am aware of your unorthodox
            interpretation of salvation, I understand your placement of the earth as above
            man. Something that I, Paul, God, Christ, and Scripture deny and in fact warn

          • Thank you for your continued engagement on this important topic, Ken. My theology is shaped first by Lutheranism, and also by liberation theology, and ecofeminist theology. As you observed, that combination does contrast with more traditional theologies. Would you be willing to share what has shaped your primary theological commitments?

          • Ken Allen

            Sure. 67 years of life, mistakes, finding God, and losing
            connection with Him has led me to the Evangelical theologies. This was further
            influenced by studies through Liberty Bible Institute and The Moody Bible

          • JoshuaTree

            History repeats itself. Natural earth worship turns into a formal type of Pantheism, which is a slippery slope that leads to paganism (the path of least moral resistance) which, in turn, leads to some type of strong-armed collectivism. Rinse. Repeat.

      • JoshuaTree

        God’s message is probably closer to “love each other more” than “stop wrecking the bloody planet”. Do you really think God cares more about the inanimate planet than the millions of the unborn killed every day around the world? Each one of those unborn is made in God’s image and each one is so unique that the tragic loss of each unborn robs us all a little of our humanity and potential. We were given dominion over His creation in order to love the Creator so that we can learn to love our neighbor, here used in the most expansive sense of the word to include our spouses, our children and families, our friends, our neighbors and strangers.

        Exercising dominion and not domination over the planet and its resources is an iterative process that becomes better over time partly out of necessity and partly out of a deeper understanding of how God created his universe.

        • ” Do you really think God cares more about the inanimate planet than the millions of the unborn killed every day around the world?”

          Considering that there is a whole lot more life residing on this planet than just humanity that faces the prospect of extinction, I’d say that the maker of the world would more concerned about the whole.

  • Russ Hale

    “come to the table and accept Nature’s terms.” Really. Where is this table? What are the terms of surrender? Do we even know if “Nature” is going to show up for the armistice?
    Ascribing thought, will and personhood to a force = lack of logic.

    • John Purssey

      A figure of speech. You are over literalistic.

    • Russ – Thank you for engaging this piece. Here’s the follow-up post about the “terms of surrender.” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ecopreacher/2017/09/planet-earth-potsdam-declaration-climate-change/

      This piece was responding to Bill McKibben’s metaphor, and I was doing a role reversal with the metaphor. This is a style of writing that is not meant to be taken literally, but metaphorically. That does not mean the topic of climate disruption is not a real, scientifically observable phenomenon, because it is. I am simply offering another approach to help us conceptualize it.

  • rwg1949yt .

    Apparently the author isn’t familiar with reputable climate scientists who have created a model of climate change that begins a casual chain from water vapor to aerosols to cosmic rays to clouds to solar activity to solar storms to climate change both directions.
    Svensmark: The Cloud Mystery at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANMTPF1blpQ

    Equally baffling is that the author is ignorant of how climate data has been corrupted and falsified.
    NASA Climate Data Fraud – Trend “Completely Fake” And “Manipulated!” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgKQIfPr9to

    Whoever is paying her salary is getting short changed. She doesn’t have the first clue about the climate and wants to surrender on the basis of manipulated and false data that is supposed to back up the fake science. People aren’t even buying Al Gore’s fantasies anymore. His book is being outsold by an author who explains why the sequel is fake.

  • Jon Kitchen

    I find that I can’t share to wordpress with included media. What is this Po.St and is it your only way to share?

    • What is it that you’re wanting to share, Jon? If it’s a link, you should be able to copy and paste it right into your comment.

      • Jon Kitchen

        If I want to add anything from someone else’s site(i.e. “Patheos”), I refuse to do it without media. No photo, and I simply forget about the info. It must be able to draw SOME attention.

  • billwald

    War on??? My youngest has turned 50 and doesn’t have a clue about war. Neither do most natural born Americans her age and younger. For that matter, I was to young for Korea and had to many kids for Vietnam. Was one signature away from enlisting during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    Now every case of heartburn for someone must be a war for everyone. In case you have not noticed, the climate on earth has been changing ever it was cool enough for rain to condense.

    Furthermore, no one noticed that every public predictor of the last hurricane was wrong or anyone who disagreed didn’t have the guts to go public? Anyone still think that weather/climate predicting is “scientific?”

    • I know it’s tough to get hip to the ways climate change will impact on your life if you are still in a climate zone that is relatively intact. Cuz why should you when you are brainwashed to believe you are exceptonal & the rules don’t apply to you? Psychopaths believe as you do IMHO


    • Margaret Swedish

      Me, I think it because it is true. It is important to differentiate between a weather prediction that it is not always pin-point accurate and climate science which studies trends over decades. Those latter have become quite clear. The real surprise here is not that warming of the atmosphere is changing climate patterns – that has been clear for decades now – it’s that they are changing FASTER than predicted. But how they are changing, and how much more they will change if we don’t alter the global economy drastically and soon – that is fulfilling those climate science models just beautifully.

  • Alonzo

    >>>”election of a climate-denying president…”

    This phrase is a great example of a perfect straw man. There has been no president who has ever denied the climate. Who in their right mind would ever deny the climate? Of course, we really know what the author means, but he covers up what he really means by using a straw man phrase as though believing the myth of man-made global warming is denying the climate. Now what is the climate? It identifies weather conditions in a specific area. It also could be used metaphorically to refer to a prevailing philosophy. Climate is real and so is climate change. The climate changes depending on the season. However, this article is more of a panic button given the deceptive use of pictures displayed in it to make it seem that global warming, climate change, or whatever this philosophy is currently called renders what the pictures portray. However, the Japanese picture is a disparate one, and leads me to ask as the puppets on Sesame Street ask, “Which one of these is not like the other.” Guess?

    So I also ask, “Which one of these is not like the other: “climate, climate change, global warming, climate disruption, carbon pollution?” Hmm. Each word or phrase goes from the general to specific. They are all disparate, and only three have a word in common with two followed by disparate adjectives, making them all disparate. George Orwell warned us of such disparate language when he said that political language “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind” (“Politics and the English Language”).

    Orwell’s rewriting of Ecclesiates 9:11 could be a grand example for the global warming crowd. In plain and simple English, the Preacher writes, “I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” But Orwell exemplified the political side of this religious truth, “Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.” He made what was concrete and truthful to something hazy and…huh? Disparate and murky language has the tendency to lend to the “huh?” effect, especially when panic explodes from the murk of adding disparate adjectives to generalized terms.

    • Thank you for pointing out that missed word. It has been corrected and now reads “climate-change-denying president.”

      As for confusion about terminology when it comes to climate issues, you may find this glossary by the EPA to be helpful: https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/glossary.html

      • Alonzo

        Thank you for pointing me to the EPA glossary. I think President Trump would never see himself as a “climate-change” denier. Neither do I. However, because the term is so generalized, it becomes ambiguous and therefore open to interpretation. As I mentioned in my initial post, the climate always changes seasonally. I know that is not what the EPA means, but I do not view government as the arbiter of terms. Linguistically, terms change as the general population derives new words and meanings to current terms. Government, mostly, is always on the tail end of such changes and not at the forefront. Besides, it cannot dictate to societies the meaning of terms. That is left up to users. That was Orwell’s point.

        I think that it changes terms to subscribe to a specific philosophy about our world. Such terms remain generalized. That was my point in bringing in Orwell and his critiique of the political environment of his time. The use of generalizations allows for the adaption of terms to philosophical and political thinking. He saw that kind of thinking then with government and the media..

        On another issue, many who subscribe to global warming hold to a consensus. I am not saying that you do, because you never stated that, and I try my best not to create straw men. Rational people hold to differing educated views, and that goes for a large number of the sciences. There are vast number of professionals on both sides of the debate. Theories on the climate do not arise from votes toward a consensus. Experts in their fields quite often get their theories wrong, and that goes for the climate, weather, or ecological systems. That is, they observe the same data but derive different interpretations. It is healthy to have rigorous discussion over theory, but it is unhealthy to accuse others to the point of prosecution as many who subscibe to global warming as having done.

        I differ with you on interpretation on climate issues, but I think we both agree with we are caretakers of God’s creation. I certainly do my best to conserve. But I believe there are solutions other than government intervention. That may be our major point of departure.

        On the spiritual side, I do not believe we should be obedient to the dictates of God’s creation but to God and His word. Creation is impersonal (except for humanity). We relate to a personal God for redemption through His Son.

  • Les Mc Mahon

    I live in Australia and one of the things I was taught in school is that the tree’s are the lungs of the earth in this country we’re destroying those very lungs of our earth with our greed. I see the only way to change this is to is to repent of our greed and start rebuilding nature. If we don’t turn to God and seek his direction all we aare is reeds swaying in the breeze.

    • Les – The comparison of trees to lungs is an apt one. And I agree that the environmental crisis is also a spiritual and religious crisis. Thank you for making that connection.

  • Margaret Swedish

    I read this via your FB page and just want to add this thought. I have never liked the “war” language theat McKibben started to use. We are not at war with climate – which is not the source of our crisis in any case. It is symptom of it, and only one of many. I would like to completely demilitarize our language now and get to the heart of the matter. Our western relationship with the planet is one of exploitation and profound abuse. We have to heal a badly broken relationship with our fellow sentient and non-sentient beings if we want to keep living here. You are right on target about how to do that – it can only be done by bringing down our fossil fueled consumer-based economy and allowing the planet to heal itself – and us within it. Thanks for this.

    • I am deeply honored by your words, Margaret. When I think back to my first reading of your book “Living Beyond the End of the World,” and how it has shaped my thinking, writing, and activism – what you have said here means a great deal to me. Blessings and in solidarity!

  • B. Sherman

    Nature is giving us a Potsdam Declaration that demands the complete disarmament of our fossil-fuel industry and the unconditional surrender of our imperialistic economy. And as with the ultimatum of that historic declaration over 70 years ago, we are being promised “prompt and utter destruction” if we do not surrender.

    An interesting perspective from a Christian. Your God comes across as quite powerless in your writing, i.e. humanity is our only hope.

    • You may not have read the last part of the piece:

      “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?” (Luke 9:24-25).

      In other words, to save this country, we must surrender to a higher calling of humility, obedience to the dictates of God’s Creation, and radical focus on rebuilding a just and equitable society and economic infrastructure focusing on “the least of these” – those who have suffered under our oppressive reign.

      As a Lutheran, my theology orients around a different understanding of God’s power than that of some Christians. Luther taught the “theology of the cross,” where God’s power is hidden in the last place we would think to look – the apparently God-forsaken place of a humiliating death by state execution. The Resurrection upends all human standards of power. In my book, Creation-Crisis Preaching, I talk about the eco-crucifixion and the eco-resurrection. We must go to the apparently God-forsaken places of environmental (inclusive of human) devastation. That is where we find Jesus beckoning to us to follow.

      So yes, God kenotically chooses powerlessness by human standards. Because there is an even more mysterious and life-giving power that comes from God. And I still believe that power is at work, even as we are facing the planet’s darkest hours.

      Thank you for your comment and engaging the piece.

      • B. Sherman

        Yes, I read the entire piece. I am not sure I can make the connections you’re implying or if I adequately made my initial observation. After further thought and reading other posts, I’ll try again. I believe we diverge at our view on the sovereignty of God, or the extent thereof. Perhaps it’s my fondness for Calvin. I am not alarmed by the “climate change” to the degree I see in others. That is neither an endorsement or rejection of the science involved. Either God is in control of such things or he is not, in which case I’ll start preparing now to be spectacularly disappointed by humanity. Also, I have no affection or animus towards the planet. Such feelings toward the earth simply do not reside in me for whatever reason. Clearly they do in others as you have so rightly observed in your reminder above regarding conduct. Anyhow, in the absence of these feelings I seem to also lack the intense survival instincts on display in some of the posts (colonizing space, et.al). Go figure. Anyhow, I appreciate your continued civil discourse on the matter in light of what I see from many others. I don’t post this to illicit a response, this is merely an observation.

  • Bruce Gorton

    In other words, to save this country, we must surrender to a higher calling of humility, obedience to the dictates of God’s Creation, and radical focus on rebuilding a just and equitable society and economic infrastructure focusing on “the least of these” – those who have suffered under our oppressive reign.

    No. Fuck you. It is this bullshit that caused the problem in the first place.

    You Christians have pushed this utter horseshit psuedo-moral wankery over factual analysis for decades, constantly pushing the idea that it is all about “sin” when it is actually about the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gasses landing up in the atmosphere.

    Climate change is not something you “surrender to”, there are no terms reality is going to dictate to you, nature isn’t angry, it isn’t going to be placated by saying we’re vewy, vewy sowwy,

    And lets face it, you Christians have always thought you had that out, that if you just very sincerely apologised it would all be better.

    It is you Christians who repeatedly put a stop to action on climate change. It was the very Christian GW Bush who ignored the problem, the very Christian administration of Donald Trump that has undermined global action now. America, the most religious of the first world states has repeatedly vetoed any action on climate, to the point where every deal is made with the US in mind only for you to turn your backs on it the second the administration changes.

    Each time the Republicans have won it has been on the back of the most religious Americans, with clear majorities of white Christians voting for them.

    All because you have faith and that is what matters to you, not someone’s actual ability to govern,

    Well here we are, acres of dead trees, fires, droughts and yes reaping those hurricanes, because you had faith. Faith doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, just more hot air.

    And here you are, once again extolling obedience to your fucking imaginary friend.

    Fuck. You. Fuck you and the sky fairy you rode in on.

    You want to do something about climate change? Fuck your preachers, fuck your God, listen to the scientists who study the subject, actually vote for candidates who don’t put their faith in some imaginary being but govern based on verifiable data.

    Because reality – that’s not going to bend if you just believe hard enough. This isn’t a fucking kids’ movie where magic is real, this is reality. Deal with it.

  • Just a reminder, readers and commenters, that any comments posted on EcoPreacher using foul language, obscene content, or violent/aggressive remarks will be deleted and the user banned from commenting. Determination of crossing the line is solely at the discretion of this author. I understand that passions run high, and that there are strong points of disagreement. But use ways to express yourself that are respectful, constructive, and upbuilding.

  • Ulf Turkewitsch

    It is gratifying to see that you are very concerned about the problem of climate change. The destruction caused by this phenomenon is truly great. However I think that to even start to reverse it’s negative impact governments would have to stop the use of fossil fuels immediately. This would never happen. Why? Because the social and economic and political disruption that this would cause would utterly disrupt all human organizations on the earth. We are well stuck on this path . I mean the path of climate change. I think that there is actually no way out. So unless we find new techniques to ameliorate the damage we are in very very bad shape indeed. And that cannot be implemented in a short time period.

  • Sam Andrew

    Well if we’ve past the point of no return, maybe the best action to take is just to double down and burn up all the resources we can living as hedonistically and extravagantly as possible till we die. Someone else can clean up later, I’m going to have my cake and eat it too, once I’m dead I don’t care so long as I get my fill of pleasure now!
    “Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
    Before we too into the Dust descend;
    Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie
    Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and — sans End!”
    Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam XXIV translated by FitzGerald.

  • Perry Widhalm

    What should an intelligent human being make of an essay like this one? Perhaps, a suggestion …. the author should spend more time educating herself in the basics of anthropology, archeology, world history, bio-evolution, ecology, geology, geography and especially mythology and less time reading a book written by superstitious desert nomads and goat-herders thousands of years ago. An average 6th grader of today is far better educated than the best educated bible author. There is no connection whatsoever between Earth’s ever-changing climates and belief in a particular myth. None. Zero.

  • Clement Agonistes

    50,000 years ago, New York City was covered by a glacier over a mile high, and the Great Lakes were being dredged out by a 2-mile thick blanket of ice. 10,000 years ago, there was so much ice that the now-150ft deep Bering Strait was a dry walkway allowing people from Asia to walk into N. America. So, immensely powerful natural forces almost beyond our imagining have been working to warm the Earth and bring us to our current state. And, 20,000 years from now, the planet will return to that icy state without caring about our actions. We are in and Interglacial Period of an overall Ice Age that has been ongoing for millions of years.

    Over longer periods of time, the Sun will gradually warm. 150 million years from now, it will inevitably warm so much that our oceans will be lost, and life as we have known it will be impossible.

    The scientific consensus is that over the next 100 years, man-made warming will result in about a 1-degree warming. This is not a concern for this generation, nor even for the grandchildren of today’s newborns.

    In terms of the science, a little bit of perspective goes a long way. It discredits science to predict imminent doom from man-made climate change.

    In terms of the theology, God has His own timetable, which was not even revealed to Jesus when He was on Earth. As individuals, our doom is imminent – within the next 100 years, right? But, as a species, humans will continue on until God is ready. It discredits theology to predict doom from man-made climate change.

    Fear can be a wonderful motivator to “make the sale”. False fear can accomplish the opposite of one’s intent. 20 years from now, when people look back on the product they bought under false pretenses, they will wonder what other beliefs they have had were also false. They will reject the science/theology. Fear yields short-term, insincere results.

    We are stewards of the Earth and its people. We should not be wasteful because of the trust that have been put in us. That is reason enough.