Monday, June 15, 2015


Creation - Ma'ase Bereshit

   When we talk about the global crisis, the crisis of global climate change, just what are we talking about?  I will use comments on an article by Stephen Wheeler, “Urban Planning and Global Climate Change” which appears in The City Reader, edited by Richard T. LeGates and Fredrick Stout to answer the question.   Editors define the problem in an introduction to Wheeler’s article. 

   No matter how effectively urban planners change plans for cities of the future, so much damage has now been done to the earth that world   cities will experience severe climate change-related problems. … Heat waves will likely increase mortality among people and animals.  Climate change will affect agriculture and food availability.  Water scarcity will become a problem as mountain snowpacks and glaciers melt.  Shifting global air circulation patterns will cause droughts in many parts of the world.  Storm surges and sea level rise will require costly flood protection systems and may flood cities built near sea level regardless.  … These changes will likely require the relocation of millions of people and in hard hit areas may produce political instability and even provoke wars. (City Reader,  Routledge London & New York, 2011, p. 458)


   Time measures the movement of history, but does it show a straight line of progress?  The climate change crisis indicates we are spiraling back to the beginning as described by the book of Genesis.

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the heavens and the earth the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. (Genesis, B.C.E.)  

   The Gospel of John adds:

   In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came to be through him and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (John C. 1 Vs. 1-5, circa 100 – C.E.)

    Does the “Word” represent – creative intelligence?  For the German idealist Hegel (1770 – 1831) the final cause or ultimate moving force of history was the detached spiritual; for Marx (1818 – 1883) it was formless matter.  Lincoln, a man of thoughtful analysis and common sense, indicated at Gettysburg that “We the people” – “under God” determine history.  (1863)


   There are many examples of willingness and attempts to do something about climate change.  AFSCME District Council 37 executive director Henry Garrido is quoted in the May 25th issue of The Nation

   Labor must stand for more than working conditions.   We must stand for more than contracts.  We must stand for environmental justice-otherwise we will become irrelevant.  The issue of climate change is the biggest threat to our humanity. (The Nation, 5, 25, 2015, p. 16) 

If Labor is on board, with its potentially invincible political power, there is still hope.    

Tree of Life - Milan Expo 2015 - Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life

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