Global warming has placed itself not only in the conversational big leagues recently, but it has also become a new catalyst in the science versus religion tussle. It is funny to hear, “We don’t do the big G“ from the religious for a change. Do they say it, really? Do not be flummoxed; their next “big G” means global warming and not the G in Alastair Campbell’s now famous phrase, “We don’t do God.”
New scientific research shows that, due to drastic changes in weather patterns from climate change, agriculture and tourism are taking a hit even in the tropics. Now, the famous Mexican food chain Chipotle claims guacamole will be hard to taste, thanks to global warming. It is pathetic and menacing that politicians of global stature have always turned a blind eye to this big G.
Whenever humanity is hit by a major landslide, an aberrant storm or a mysterious asteroid, the religious are the first to react only to brush the calamity aside as nature’s course or even sometimes alarmingly claim it as God’s curse upon humanity from time to time for all of their sins. Contrary to these farcical claims by the religious, environmental scientists have found that the Earth’s ocean level has risen dramatically in the past three decades, to a 0.14 inches per year rate. The scientists also observed a threat to many World Heritage sites like the Statue of Liberty, as well as an increase in global surface temperatures. The next big G just may be global warming.
Novelist Ian McEwan took the bull by its horns in his satirical novel Solar, where the protagonist Michael Beard, who happens to be a Noble Laureate physicist, pacifies his solar energy scheme partner, Toby, who worries about global warming by saying that scientists trick everyone by cherry picking the hottest year in a cycle and then claiming credit for discovering global warming. As Toby remains skeptical about their solar project, Beard asserts:
“Here’s the good news. The UN estimates that already a third of a million people a year are dying from climate change. Even as we speak, the inhabitants of the island of Carteret in the South Pacific are being evacuated because the oceans are warming and expanding and rising. There is drought in the Amazon rain forest. Methane is pouring out of the Siberian permafrost. There is a meltdown under the Greenland ice sheet that no one really wants to talk about. Amateur yatchmen have been sailing the northwest passage. Two years ago we lost forty percent of Arctic summer ice. Now eastern Antarctic is going.The future has arrived Toby……..Toby, listen. It’s a catastrophe. Relax!”
In reality, Beard puts the big G in a capsule. There is a need for global unity to fight deforestation, carbon emissions and chemical fertilizers, which scientist point to as the prime reasons for global warming. This initiative needs the religious, too, even if they choose to stick with the legend that “Where science ends, religion begins,” the discussion begins with science. So, it is high time the globe put a foot forward toward tackling the next big G and that begins by going green.
Opinion by Vikas Vemuri