Stop Adani. Keep coal in the ground. 100% renewable energy by 2030.
Those are the demands of School Strike 4 Climate Action, a movement of 5-18-year-old students who have been walking out of school in their thousands in the name of “climate justice.”
Sporting their best pouts, many marched under banners which abused the Prime Minister whilst shouting through megaphones. “ScoMo sucks!” was the chant heard on news footage, though the banners said much worse.
But there’s a lot of things these kids don’t know.
If they knew what it was to pay bills, shoulder a mortgage and support others (as they are themselves currently being supported), they may not think 100% renewable energy by 2030 is such a grand idea.
If they had been exposed to a balanced debate about the many facets of the climate change issue, I guarantee many would change their views, at least a little.
But if they understood how they were being used as pawns in someone else’s political strategy… Well, that really should make them reconsider.
Because that’s what this is. The social progressives have all but conquered the grassroots campaigning space. Volunteers are ready, willing and able. They are experienced. They are skilled up. They are ready for action any time.
Phone calls to an MP’s office, right now? Easy. Door-knocking for a snap by-election? Ready to go. Hit a bigot’s Facebook page with torrents of abuse? Love it. Dial in to talkback radio to sway a discussion? Can do.
They get it.
Their grassroots campaign machinery is sophisticated, established, and disciplined.
That’s one reason why the avalanche is upon us. An activated constituency which is taking targeted and effective action has every pragmatic politician sweating in fear.
The cost of standing firm on key social issues is edging closer and closer to political suicide. These activists are coming for you at the next election.
So, where do you go to find more troops when you’re doing so well?
Answer: you train them younger.
Get kids who know nothing, flood them with propaganda, give them a day off school to sweeten the deal, and so get the idea of activism ingrained in them as early as possible.
Someone who has been activated from the age of 5 is going to be very nicely trained; an excellent soldier in your political cause.
In my view, it’s reprehensible.
Children should be left to be children.
Young people should be listeners, not shouters. The next generation should be taught to “love wisdom and instruction” – not to despise those from whom they could learn a great deal.
But there’s something else that I wish they knew.
I wish they knew God, who is the creator and sustainer of heaven and earth; Jesus Christ, who created all things and by whom all things consist.
That simple but grand truth is of huge significance to the climate change issue.
Because God, as Creator, has made key promises concerning His creation.
In Genesis 8 He makes a covenant with Noah, saying, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
He promises to sustain the food-giving capacity of the earth, it’s seasonal variations, and the realities of cold and heat.
The context of this promise is that He won’t even withdraw His sustaining power in judgement. The continuation of these things is absolutely guaranteed by the One who holds all things together.
And we know that every detail of creation, climate, and the environment, is in God’s hands. He “sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” [Matt 5:25] and “imparted weight to the wind and meted out the waters by measure… He set a limit for the rain and a course for the thunderbolt… He saw it and declared it; He established it and also searched it out.” [Job 28:25]
So, let’s get rid of the notion of a wholesale climate apocalypse.
That said, I want to be clear: I am not saying that we have no environmental responsibilities. Neither am I saying that our actions have no relevant environmental impacts.
But scripture is also helpful when it comes to framing our understanding of those responsibilities.
Some will have already had the thought: “But aren’t we told to steward the earth?”
Well, yes and no.
The words used in Genesis 1-2 are “dominion” and “subdue.” The Hebrew meaning of both is very similar, meaning to bring under control, make subservient, tread down, dominate, force, or even to violate. It is used often in a context of military subjugation or enslavement.
That makes sense when one looks at the sentences in which they appear, and their immediate context.
The command to subdue and have dominion is given in the same sentence as the command to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” The several sentences which follow contain God’s statement that He has “given” every plant, tree and fruit as food for that multiplying human race.
One of the ideas being conveyed is that the earth is forman. That is to say, it is supposed to supply. It is supposed to be filled and supposed to be used. That is a key purpose God has given it.
But that does not mean we can just pillage.
Genesis 2 says that the man God had created was to “work and keep” the garden. Those actions ensure the plants will continue to produce effectively, so they can continue to be used.
From this follow three deductions: The climate apocalypse won’t happen. Using the earth’s resources is not wrong – it’s right. A level of responsibility about how we do that is necessary.
But too many are being seduced by the climate narrative which says we are in total control.
That is firstly nonsensical – even if we were to wipe out several entire countries, the measurable difference it would make is laughable.
Add to that known phenomena such as the medieval warm period during which the globe was far hotter, with no human impact… and survived.
But it is secondly a hallmark of several errors.
It denies the promises of scripture that, no matter what we do, God will always – repeat, always – be in control. Because He is God, and we are not.
And on that, it occurs to me that one proclivity of the Roman 1 society is to get too big for its boots; for human beings to deny God the creator, and to live as if they are in that role.
So, it’s hardly surprising that those around us are not only rewriting the moral rule book, and denying created realities like gender… But they are also arrogating the role of climate controller to themselves.
But I can’t help also thinking this: if our affections were truly set on the new creation, would we be so easily seduced by overblown notions of preserving this one?
We do have to be careful how far we take that, but time and again, the distinguishing feature of those in the “Faith Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11, is their focus on that which is outside of this world. To name a few affirmations: they “acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth,” they were “looking forward to the City that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” “…they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.”
This present creation is “groaning” because it awaits its redemption [Rom 8:19]. For now, we must fulfil our obligations to it, but not get too big for our boots.
For now, we can rejoice, living under the conviction that God is Sovereign, and the future is magnificent.