On this page Prof. Brian Martin warns that global climate change is largely caused by human activity and that we must mend our ways before it’s too late.
I alert you to this because I anticipate a replay of what happened several years ago when The Banner published a similar article [“Climate Care,” April 2007]. We received numerous requests for equal time from those who disputed the author’s position. We refused. In frustration some of those respondents appealed, as is their right, to The Banner’s editorial council, demanding that we allocate equal space in the magazine to the contra-global warming position.
We did print Letters to the Editor and an IMHO arguing the contrary position, but, admittedly, those didn’t balance out the initial presentation either in space or in weight. With Prof. Martin’s article that imbalance only grows. We wish to let you know why we don’t, for example, simply publish two articles side by side, one pro, one con. That sounds like the fairest approach. Why play favorites, given the inarguable fact that Banner editors are not scientists?
We have two main reasons for not allocating equal time to these contradictory positions.
The first is that a side-by-side presentation would make it appear that the judgment of the scientific community is equally divided. It isn’t. While there are scientists who still have doubts that the causes of climate change originate in human activity, the overwhelming majority are convinced and alarmed. There are few, if any, reputable scientific associations that take the contrary view. So allowing equal treatment would seriously misinform our readers.
There are many issues where The Banner should, and does, give equal opportunity to both sides: the Belhar Confession, Christian day schools, evolution theories, to name a few recent examples. But with climate change the gap is just too large.
Our second reason for not allowing equal treatment of this issue is precisely because we editors are not experts on climate change or global warming. We need to rely on the insight and wisdom of the scientific community as a whole to guide us in making our editorial judgment on this issue. That’s why we have sought and received the advice of many scientists in the field. Regardless of our own personal views, we must act on the assumption that climate change is real and that we humans need to make the painful commitment to curb emissions from carbon-based fuels. Given the many strong warnings, we need to act even if some of us still have second thoughts.
Besides, even if the vast majority of scientists turns out to be wrong (could happen!), then we still need to curb our appetite for fossil fuels, because we are rapidly running out of them. And on that score there is unanimity.
God calls us to be good stewards of the creation as a whole and of its resources. At the rate we’re burning through the carbon-based stuff, our grandchildren will be in serious trouble.
It’s time to step up to the plate to do some serious God-imaging.