When I was growing up, my parents were determined to keep a clean home and yard. I can remember countless times when my parents would come in to the room where we were watching Bonanza or Batman and tell us to go clean up the family room/living room/back yard/front yard. If somebody had dumped trash on our curb or we were getting fallout from a neighbor’s teepeeing, we had to go clean it up immediately. We learned early not to say, “I didn’t leave that there” or “I didn’t make that mess.” When the locust trees began losing their pods, my brothers gave up on the argument that there would just be more of the mess tomorrow. We knew what our parents would say. “We are too good to live in a pig sty.” If there was a mess in property we controlled, we cleaned it up. I can’t tell you how many times I had to pick up the newspapers or snack leavings from my brothers just because it was there and I was there.
So now we have a planet that is becoming a pig sty. And all of us are too good to live in a pig sty. Instead of arguing about who left it there, we are arguing over scientific nuances of global warming and climate change. There are the arguments over fault.
There is no question that global warming and climate change are a reality. None in my mind at all. However, those who can’t accept the science of evolution can’t be expected to believe in the science of climate change. It is a bridge too far. We need to change our argument. We need to make the case that we are too good to live in a world with unbreathable air and undrinkable water.
Moreover, some are so invested in the argument that global warming is not real, we need to give them an out. I remember when I was a kid, how when my brothers were losing an argument they would begin calling names. At that point, no solution was possible. My dad would tell me to give my brother an out so he could save face and still cooperate. We need to do this now. Their out is that regardless of what you believe about climate change, the planet is becoming a pig sty. We need to ask if what is washing up on the beaches in the Gulf is the type of oil you want smeared all over your body for tanning (I guess it would make you darker). We need to put the need in terms they understand, “God gave us a beautiful planet and look at what is happening to his gift.”
We saw some religious groups begin to speak on the need for conservation and a clean planet a couple years ago. We need to assist their efforts. We need to talk about how God dislikes waste. We need to talk about how wrong it is to destroy that which is beautiful. If we can’t get science into the thick heads of those who oppose it, we need to use their own belief system to help us. And I guarantee you, every one of them would agree: we’re too good to live in a pig sty.