Our Environmental Legacy

I grew up in places with a lot of room to play.  At one house we had woods in the backyard that led to a dammed up creek.  We tied a rope to one of the trees and jumped from a ledge, catching onto the rope, letting go at just the right moment to land right in the middle of the pond.  

I remember one night my family and I went to a campsite and it was well past dark when we arrived.  All 10 of us piled out of the van.  My brothers, dad and I set up camp, and went to sleep for the night.  The next morning, a ranger came and told us to move.  It turns out that we pitched our tent on the gravel road.

We later moved to Montana where I felt like I had land to run and run.  I spent hours hiking in the mountains as a boy scout, making sure to keep the area, "cleaner than I found it" - my dad's mantra. 

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as with most religious traditions, a culture of environmental awareness and stewardship is preached and understood.  In many Sunday School lessons (found here, here, here, etc.), we learn about how we need to be wise stewards of our Earth.  The mantra my father taught me when I was young, and what I learned as a boy scout, points to the fact that we should care for Mother Earth – as we all rely on her bounty.  Just as Adam and Eve were tasked to care for the Garden, so too are we asked to be careful stewards of our temporal home.

It seems like the Republican Party has come a long way from Theodore Roosevelt and his National Parks initiative.  Instead of increasing the size of these beautifully preserved areas, Republicans are trying to shrink them; and to what end?  So we can continue to give companies leases to ravage our planet?  Is the consumption of oil and other natural resources worth such a price?

Roosevelt spoke in such respect for our land, "Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us."

With a real and present danger lurking in the next 20 years from the fallout of climate change, it would seem like a sense of urgency would be etched into the heart of every person – especially every Latter-day Saint, who has been taught we need to be good stewards of the planet. 

Unfortunately, I’ve found this sense of urgency does not seem to exist for many Republican members of the church. When I bring up climate change among Republican friends who are members of the church, I am met with a litany of excuses for not doing anything.  Mostly I hear these two arguments:

  1. "Climate change doesn’t exist."
  2. "It does exist, but it’s a natural cycle; mankind has nothing to do with it."

We have known about climate change since the late 1970s.  At the same time, there was also a large and growing hole in our ozone layer because of the use of CFCs and other harmful-to-ozone chemicals.  An international agreement was reached, Congress worked with President Reagan and these harmful chemicals were banned.  The ozone holes caused by these harmful chemicals have finally started healing.

Shortly after this environmental initiative was instituted, climate change was brought to the fore.  John Sununu, Bush Sr.’s chief of staff, derided the science and threw up roadblocks for those wanting stronger regulation.  Consequently, emissions-reducing initiatives never took off during Bush Sr.’s presidency. This was arguably the best time to get something done around the issue because Republicans and Democrats were working together on environmental issues.  After the Reagan presidency, oil companies began producing propaganda and lobbying legislators to begin doubting the science.  

By the time President Clinton came around it had become a political issue, not a human one.  The Republican congress would never allow legislation to curtail the effects of climate change. 

The paramount question seems to be, "Do we save Earth, or do we save our systems built on oil?"  Such a question is ridiculous when one realizes that without Earth, we have no home, we have no systems, we have nothing; indeed we are nothing. 

It is time for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to realize our environmental legacy, given to us by our parents in the Garden, to preserve and nurture this beautiful Earth that we call home.

Showing 16 reactions

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  • Justin McAffee
    commented 2019-02-19 15:41:39 -0800
    Kevin, your problem is you know so much that isn’t so. What you are saying doesn’t have truth to it. It’s your fantasy and anger at the idea that the state might interfere with your life. I get that. But the people have rights too. There literally isn’t any question what’s happening to the planet. No one other than ideological talking heads who have no credibility or objectivity disagrees. Not only are fossil fuels a problem, but we are mowing down the plants and rain forests that absorb green house gases. We are beefing up industrial agriculture and mass killing of animals and plants on land and sea at a rate 1000 times what’s happened since the dinosaurs went extinct 250 million years ago.

    Look, I don’t blame you. I was once in your shoes. I was privy to different information than I am now. I’m sure that’s the case with you. But let me ask you, will you take the medicines doctors prescribe you for cancer, even though they can’t predict exact timelines and are often wrong about them? I bet you will.
  • kevin wally
    commented 2019-02-19 11:28:04 -0800
    I said it was a deceptively written article. The title is “Greenland ice sheet faces “tipping point” in 10 years.” Subtitle “Scientists warn that temperature rise of between 2C and 7C would cause ice to melt, resulting in 23ft rise in sea level.” Sounds pretty definitive. So why did the article include the 23 ft mark. If it was not intended to scare people why the 10 years? The 10 years have come and gone and no tipping point. The current tipping point brought to us by the Guardian/IPCC is 12 years out. You can try knocking it but they made the same prediction of a tipping point in 1989 and many more. I guess listing dates that are supposed to be points of no return is not lying bull crap. Great! this is why I don’t take any of their dates seriously. Anyone including me can make all sorts of predictions with an indefinite time table to come true it doesn’t make me a prophet or a scientist. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally. It is not science. The Guardian and all the other news organizations that do not hold these wild eyed crazies accountable, makes my point over and over. Why don’t they ask them about their previous predictions before printing the new ones. There is a Smithsonian article about predictions not coming true and giving climate deniers ammunition. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-didnt-first-earth-days-predictions-come-true-its-complicated-180958820/. It’s interesting that they admit that most of the predictions didn’t come true, but we still have to give up our sovereignty to avoid the calamities. There is a couple of questions that climate scientists never seem to answer. In humans the healthy happy temperature is 98.6. If the temperature of a person is higher than 98.6 they have a fever. If colder than 98.6 there is a range of health issues that come to mind up to and including death. What is the 98.6 of the planet earth. What would it be at the equator, at the north pole, at the south pole? In the month of Jan, Feb, March etc? What it would be on each continent. If you can’t tell us what the optimum temperature for the earth is, give us a year that was the optimum temperature. Maybe a decade. If you can where is the studies that back these temperatures. If you can’t tell us what the optimum temperature is then you can’t even tell us if the earth is sick or not. There have been five major ice ages. There was mini ice age. There was several warming periods with no ice at all “hothouse earth events”. None of these climate events correlated with CO2. So what caused the ice to appear? What caused the ice to disappear? What caused the warming periods? Historically humans, plants, and animals do much better in the warming periods. Heck England now has grapes as Matt said. We haven’t even had to kill off half of the world population or perform forced sterilizations. An increase in CO2 causes plants to grow much better than when it is low. Since most of the data that is being quoted today is “cooked” and none of the negative events, turning points, disasters have come to fruition maybe the lying Bull Crap is coming from the phony climate scientists who use natural cycles and altered data as some sort of proof of their Lying Bull Crap. They also rely too heavily on computer models. All of the predictions are based on “models”. Every time I read these predictions they refer to “the models”. These models have been wrong because of GIGO. Bernie Madoff has nothing on these climate scientists.
    The green energy economy may be worth 90 trillion dollars. If it is it will not require taxes and one world socialist government agreements and carbon credit trading to get it rolling. Nothing is stopping it from beating the socks off of fossil fuels. That is what capitalism is all about. When personal computers were taking off the economy expanded on its own. When smart phone appeared on the scene the same thing. The government didn’t have to subsidize. When the green economy appeared we have had nothing but top down lies, threats and non performing predictions of doom. None of which have been able to help the green economy take off. If we do not have to worry about time tables because scientists are humble about their predictions we should give the green economy a chance to work on its own not force it down our throats.
    So you want to defend socialism here? The political system responsible for the death of millions in the last century! Venezuela has amazing natural resources honest hard working people, a 12 month growing season. A weather pattern that is great. It is an amazing location. Why is it a third world country? Maybe a little too much socialism/fascism/communism or just plain old totalitarianism. Just like Cuba, North Korea the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and any other big know it all government—The people suffer. There is two things that socialism promises. First to help the poor. Second to punish the opposition. It is always the second promise that they follow through with. Just look at the media, twitter etc. Oral sex for anyone who beats up a 15 year old for wearing a maga hat. Tweeted death threats against climate deniers is common and okay with twitter. If we had socialized medicine it would be denied or the prices will priced out of reach for people who don’t agree with the socialists. Antifa is good? Obama weaponized the IRS, CIA, and FBI. Totalitarians have no problem using the government as a weapon against their opposition. The IPCC and the climate fanatics are doing the same thing. Chuck Todd is the newest climate scientist. We have have to live through Al Gore and Leonardo Dicaprio as well. He has shut down debate because he claims that the science is settled. It’s insane. There is no integrity in the media or the climate scientists. Their predictions are meant to create fear. It’s still a scam. All designed to have us sign our rights away. Please don’t fall for it.
  • Justin McAffee
    commented 2019-02-13 20:13:58 -0800
    Venezuela is a third world country and their problems have nothing to do with socialism. They struggled as much if not more under capitalism. Again? Lying bull crap. And if you want to call making trillions of dollars off of poor people “socialism” that’s actually called capitalism.
  • Justin McAffee
    commented 2019-02-13 20:11:41 -0800
    Kevin, you believe these things because you read junk news sources like real climate science dot com. That baloney about sea level rise of 23ft by 2020 is not even what the article says. It said there would be a tipping point in 10 years where we aren’t going back from a minimum 2 degree rise in global temps. It said Greenland would not be able to sustain that. The ice will melt. It did not offer a timeline for either the temperature rise or the ice melt. Classic reading comprehension problem. Intentional lying bull crap. They can’t tell the truth so they lie.
  • kevin wally
    commented 2019-02-13 16:16:23 -0800
    I appreciate your responses. It is kind of fun having a discussion on this issue. What most radical predictions? The Guardian and the New York Times are always presenting radical predictions. For example in 2010 the Guardian pronounced that there would be a 23 foot rise in sea levels by 2020. On my calendar that is one year away. Do you know how insane that sounds. 23 feet!!!! They claimed at that time that what was happening in the arctic was and I quote “What is going on in the Arctic now is the biggest and fastest thing that nature has ever done,” Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University said. Sounds familiar. So now there is an article by the Guardian hot linked above that says that we have 12 years to limit the climate catastrophe! Like I’ve continually said are we to believe the scientists from 2010 or the ones that the Guardian are quoting now. Its not me that’s cherry picking political and radical predictions. This blog has done that for me. I am using your predictions and your scientists. The 23 foot rise in sea levels prediction was to get funding from the government. It was also to get political action. I can show a non stop flow of articles from the most respected climate scientists that are as wrong and even more crazy than a 23 foot increase in sea level in 10 years. Pure scare tactics. The articles are written very deceptively. I’m not falling for it. If you want to fall for it fine but public policy should not be forced upon the unsuspecting public based on scare tactics and junk science.
    I looked at your data on ice in the north pole. Just like the article above there is one written by a “credible” scientist that said north pole ice free by 2008. Biggest and fastest thing thing ever, right? There is still ice. Greenland and the North Pole most of the year is spent way below freezing. Some times the highs never get above 20 below 0. There will be lots of ice in the next 12 years just like there will still be ice in 2020.
    Lets talk data. NOAA has been altering the data. It hasn’t done a good job hiding it. Since the year 2000 they have decreased the heat from the thirties and forties and increased the heat from the nineties to present. They get caught all the time cooking data. They have done it on sea level rise as well. It is impossible to believe anything they say. False predictions false data add up to totally untrustworthy. They are never held accountable. They keep coming out with the same old rehashed predictions and want us to panic into some total government take over of the economy.
    Lets talk Socialism. Bernie is a communist loving democratic socialist. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is a is a communist loving democratic socialist. The Green New Deal is a total marxist take over of every aspect of my life. Every major democratic presidential candidate and a bunch in congress signed on to it in one day. I’m sure Tom Steyer would be happy to make more billions off of the wealth transfer that would happen from it. Lets be realistic. Just because 90 trillion dollars would be the cost of the Paris Accord it would come off of the backs of the poor just like every other socialist program eventually does. Just ask the Venezuelans.
  • Justin McAffee
    commented 2019-02-12 15:44:37 -0800
    Kevin, your problem is you know so much that just isn’t so. You are cherry picking by choosing the most political and radical predictions only. The loss of sea ice in the 40s WAS NO WHERE NEAR what it is today. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you are just misinformed. Finally, the green energy economy is potentially trillions of dollars (I’ve hear 90 trillion) in economic activity. Socialists are offended that you suggest they would have any part of this new capitalist profiteering. 🤣

    https://skepticalscience.com/print.php?r=429

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11958916/Paris-climate-deal-to-ignite-a-90-trillion-energy-revolution.html
  • Matt Gardner
    commented 2019-02-12 15:15:31 -0800
    This is not a socialist idea. The Earth is warming. Ice doesn’t lie. Look at the global temperature since before the industrial revolution: http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/files/2016/09/spiral_aug2016.gif

    Why can we now grow grapes in England when only 50 years ago this was unheard of?

    Do you think that emitting billions of tons of C02 per year into the atmosphere is doing nothing?

    No one is asking for your paycheck. No one is coming for your guns. No one is going to arrest you. We’re just trying to find a solution to a problem that you seem to think doesn’t even exist.

    Once we can agree there is a problem, we can find a solution. We certainly did find one during the ozone layer crisis in the 70s. We can come together and find one again now.
  • kevin wally
    commented 2019-02-12 14:32:13 -0800
    I’m not cherry picking anything. I said in my first post I’m not willing to give up my rights to socialists. You still haven’t pointed to one of the predictions that have panned out. Also do you think that I and everyone else in America have to give these people that have denied science, given crazy predictions, and have been wrong every decade since the 60’s total control over the economy in some socialist utopia. Its like predicting that a meteor is about to hit the earth and then demanding that I give control of my bank account, paycheck, mode of travel, and where and how I live. When I ask where is the meteor in space? You tell me you don’t know. I ask where is it going to hit? you say I don’t know. Then you tell me it will destroy the world in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s, 2010’s, 2020’s and beyond I ask for a little more evidence than computer models that have been wrong. Wrong because garbage in garbage out. Why do climate “scientists” always predict the end of the world as we know it? Why do they alter data and resort to the politics of personal destruction? Why do they act more like a religion than a scientific community. When they can’t answer hard questions. I guess we should all be arrested like the great scientist Bill Nye wants. Check out this graph of north pole ice from NASA if you want see what “dishonest” looks like. They of coarse only chart ice reduction from 1979. If you look the 40’s had very little north pole ice. Also the article from the 1940 predicting an ice free north pole. https://realclimatescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Dr8JOUPV4AAWdXg.png https://realclimatescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/PaintImage47_shadow.jpg
  • Justin McAffee
    commented 2019-02-11 21:30:06 -0800
    In other words, it is definitively more crazy to ignore the predictions of the scientific community at large and cherry pick predictions of controversial figures as an excuse.
  • Justin McAffee
    commented 2019-02-11 21:26:19 -0800
    The problem with your premise is that the ice in the North Pole has already been dramatically reduced. So you are completely ignoring that. That’s not honest. It’s dishonest. Al Gore is a politician. I don’t care what he predicted. I care what scientists are saying. Their predictions are more humble in recognizing some limits to our ability to make exact predictions. But the trends are solidly there, as is the cause.
  • kevin wally
    commented 2019-02-11 18:49:54 -0800
    Apparently Al Gore’s amazing internet doesn’t go very far back if you are looking for predictions about the climate. Because it is full of crazy predictions. Not just by Al Gore but Paul eliminate half the world population or the famines by 1975 will devastating. Maybe instead of believing crazy predictions that never come to fruition do some research on the people making the predictions. It might open your eyes to the number of times the same prediction has been made. Al Gore wasn’t the first to make an outlandish prediction. The “we only have ten years” prophecy has been given almost every 10 years and each time they are just as incorrect as the last time. Its not my ego that gets in the way of believing the prophecies by these false prophets its just that I am not falling for it for the 20th time. Like I said below none of the predictions have come true and their solutions would make things worse not better. I hope when the north pole still has ice in the future your ego will remember this discussion.
  • Justin McAffee
    commented 2019-02-10 22:34:33 -0800
    Al Gore made aggressive predictions based on summer artic sea ice disappearing. While those predictions may not have come to fruition in his timeline, it’s trending that way and most scientists predicting between 2020 and 2040. So when this happens, I hope your ego remembers this discussion.
  • Justin McAffee
    commented 2019-02-10 22:26:35 -0800
    Still waiting for a citation.
  • kevin wally
    commented 2019-02-10 19:40:16 -0800
    Still waiting for Paul Ehrlch’s ice age prediction’s to come true. Or the predictions that the north pole would be free from ice in 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014 this one by Al Gore?
  • Justin McAffee
    commented 2019-02-04 15:36:19 -0800
    Kevin, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. You refuse to even consider climate change because of cognitive dissonance.
  • kevin wally
    commented 2019-02-04 12:58:52 -0800
    Being good stewards of the earth does not mean to worship it. We believe in responsible use of all of the resources that the earth provides for us. I checked out the links in your article and they are better propaganda than anything the oil companies could ever produce. In fact the oil companies and anyone else would not have to produce any propaganda in order to combat what climate believers are pushing. They just need what climate believers were saying just a few short years earlier. It could be said that climate believers are their own worst enemies. Being able to check out the previous predictions and data and writings gives us a clear picture of what is really going on.

    Just a heads up science is not determined by consensus. Thank goodness. Scientists are the biggest enemies of science out there. Their dishonest studies and conclusions have all but destroyed the credibility of scientists in general.

    The number of crazy predictions that have come and gone are too numerous to list here. This latest 12 year scare is just that a scare tactic. One in a long line of predictions that have amounted to nothing but hot air. The predictions are always exaggerated for effect. Placed out far enough that they can be denied or ignored when they don’t come true and new predictions can be issued if the media doesn’t keep anyone accountable. They are also near enough in time frame to hopefully scare people into giving up their rights. This process has been repeated over and over decade after decade. and none of the predictions have come true.

    It was the coming ice age in the 70’s. It was global warming after that and now it is climate change. So back in the 70’s 80’s 90’s and beyond we have the likes of Paul Ehlrlch, John Holdren, Jim Hansen, and Al Gore predicted the end of earth as we know it. Such as the USA needing water rationing 1974 and food rationing and the worlds oceans dead by 1980. Also an ice free north pole, parts of New York under water etc. There is also the inconvenient truth about the predictions of a coming ice age in the 70’s by the same people. In fact it could be said that 100 percent of their predictions are easily debunked. Sometimes by there own predictions.

    If it is true that the oil companies started a successful propaganda program as you say, they could have saved millions of dollars and just quoted “Climate Scientists” . The real propaganda program has come from the climate believers side. They are never held accountable for their ridiculous predictions. Also if the oil companies had been so successful in their propaganda why is there not one news organization willing to take their side. There is hardly ever a positive news article or report about big oil. Over the years I have never seen a pro oil news report. Not locally, nationally or internationally. That’s super successful. If they did spend any money on this propaganda it was the most unsuccessful of all time!!!!!

    If climate scientists wanted action they would quit lying to us. Stop with the outrageous predictions, phony propaganda films and actually accept the invitation to debate the deniers. Show us that they actually have something.

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