This is a piece that I wrote almost a year ago, while taking my final college course on Environmental Literature. During the three week course nestled in the mountains of western Oregon, I was exposed to a video series put out by fundamental Christians about the dangers of “environmental extremism”. At the time I was appalled by the perspectives of the “experts” in the film, especially since they claimed to love and follow the same Jesus that I do. This piece is all the more poignant to me now that I have since moved into a community that would find little in this film series to be offended by. I repost it now, a little less angry but still strong in my beliefs, because I think that it brings up important perspectives that all of us, regardless of our faith backgrounds, should be willing to discuss.
Climate change skeptics are out there. I get it. Never mind that for every 3 scientists that believe anthropomorphic climate change is a myth, 97 believe it is a verifiable fact. It’s a scary, contentious topic and people are bound to disagree. In fact I’m glad that there is a variance of opinion because that encourages all of us to look at the facts and be ready to give an answer about why we believe what we believe. But I have rarely, if ever, been more disgusted with climate change skeptics, with the conservative right, and even with people of my own faith than I am after being exposed to the Green Dragon.
Resisting the Green Dragon is a twelve part video series that is supposedly a Biblical response to the radical environmentalism movement. The formatting is of spliced together interviews from “top Christian worldview-thinkers” (who also happen to be almost all white males) to expose the “eco-heresy” of environmentalism. Some of the topics include:
– The False World View of the Green Movement
– From Captain Planet to Avatar: The Seduction of Our Youth
– Putting Out the Dragon’s Fire on Global Warming
– How “Going Green” Impoverishes You, Your Church, and Your Society
– The Green Face of the Pro-Death Agenda: Population Control, Abortion and Euthanasia
– Go Therefore and Make Disciples: Advancing the Gospel in a World Permeated by Environmentalism
In class we watched the introductory episode which touches on the topics of all twelve of the other half hour episodes. Most of it was deeply troubling, but a few poignant moments stood out to me.
– Environmental scientists were laughed at for thinking that “breathing out CO2 is causing the world to heat up” Ummm….what?! No one thinks this. It doesn’t even make sense.
– Environmentalism was compared to paganism and considered a false religion because it turned from reason to mysticism. They’re catching on to my Paganism! Guess I better do my goat sacrifices in private from now on.
– Climate change always happens and is completely natural. Plus, it’s a good thing because it makes trees grow faster! There is a huge difference between natural climatic fluctuations and the changes that are occurring now. The current level of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere hasn’t occurred in the time that humans have existed on this planet.(NASA) And, no climate change won’t be making all our forests grow faster and healthier.
– The environmental movement is targeting children through the media with hidden messages. Movies like Avatar are going to turn them into Pantheists.
– Environmentalism is all about zero population, so radical environmentalists actually wish your children were dead. Kids are just walking carbon footprints to them.
– The environmental movement is telling children that when they ride in their polluting, gas-guzzling family car, they are helping to kill children in Africa. Well that’s a little extreme.
– Poor people that don’t have access to cheap fossil fuels will stay mired in poverty. *This is a claim I actually can agree with to some capacity. However, the introductory video failed to take into account how subsidized, artificially low prices in gas and oil can also systemically affect the poor. Also, there is a huuuge difference between the standards of living of the poor in developing countries and affluent westerners. Most environmental movements focus on getting Americans to consume less, not refusing to allow electricity and motorcycles in rural Asian villages. It’s about evening the tables a little bit.
– And my personal favorite, the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25) teaches us that if we return the earth to God in the state we got it we are wasting His gift to us. I don’t even know what to say to this.
This sounds crazy, right? Good thing it’s produced by some fringe group deep in the Bible belt south, you’re thinking. Wrong. The Green Dragon series is actually a production of the Cornwall Alliance and all the video interviews were filmed in a hotel in Grand Rapids, MI. That’s the same city that I’ve gotten my Christian-based environmental studies degree. Worst of all, it was reviewed favorably in The Banner, the official magazine of the Christian Reformed Church. Check it out here.
Now the big question. Why do I care so much? Well, first, I value science and hate to see it misrepresented like this. It scares me that this series might persuade people to reject environmentalism. But most importantly I am disturbed about how out of touch it makes Christians seem with the realities of the world. So many times I have met nonbelievers that have judged me the second they learned I was a Christian because they assumed I didn’t believe in climate change and thought that the world isn’t worth preserving because I thought God was going to burn it all up anyways. It’s an uphill battle to convince them that some of us Christians are also passionate advocates for environmental justice and sustainability.
Christians are called to love and protect this planet. It’s an incredible shame that material like the Green Dragon is convincing the world we are content to watch it burn.
Want to see it for yourself? You can check out the website and sign up for a free twelve minute preview here.