Friday, August 31, 2007


This week, a group of evangelical Christians and prominent scientists are visiting Alaska to see the effects of global warming on glaciers, people, and forests.

This is the Begich Boggs Visitors Center, built near Girdwood, about 50 miles south of Anchorage, in 1986. Although the Portage Glacier was retreating, the belief at that time was that it would be possible to see it from the Center until 2020. Instead, all that can be seen now are the ice floes that have calved off. It is one of the sites visited by the expedition.

Also visited was the village of Shishmaref, an Inupiat Eskimo village slowly eroding into the Chukchi Sea because shore ice no longer protects it from fierce winter storms. They will tour the Kenai Peninsula, where more than 3 million acres of spruce forests have been devastated by destructive beetles normally kept under control by colder winters.

To me, this is an incredible tour. Scientists and evangelicals, who do not agree on the origins of life, have set aside their differences to work on preserving it. The idea of stewardship does not depend on finding agreement in all particulars about things. Only that the two groups agree that a terrible thing is happening, that it is being at least added to by human behavior, and that steps must be taken now to stop it.

We need more partnerships like this one. Where well intentioned people turn away from their differences and concentrate on their commonality for the good of all. In a time of great divisiveness, where wedge issues are used regularly to drive people apart and keep them from noticing that they have common interests, this expedition is a lamp in the darkness. A reminder that by far the vast majority of people are well intentioned and can work together.


Anvilcloud said...

That is encouraging.

Angela said...

Thanks for the story. I imagine we all may get along better as it begins to be apparent our survival as a species is on the line.

Tabor said...

I am hoping that the pendulum is swinging back as this administration comes to an end and once again people talk to each other and compromise and find solutions to common problems.