One of the new blogs on the NYTimes website (newly accessible to people who have setup a free account) is the Dot Earth blog. The focus is on how the Earth’s environmental change is effecting human life.
I was a bit unnerved by the following post, which appears to be a follow-up on the news that the UN released late last week about the dangerous combined effects of the climate change mixed with population growth:
“Many population experts foresee the next few decades evolving in a way that is very different from the global-scale, catastrophic ‘population bomb’ concept that caught hold in the 1960s.
What they depict is more like a dangerous scattering of cluster bombs, as the world splits into two types of countries: those with aging, shrinking populations, like Japan and much of Europe, and those regions, like most of Africa and parts of south Asia, still mired in poverty, disease, illiteracy or government dysfunction with resulting high birth and death rates.
Jesse Ausubel at Rockefeller University calls them ‘imploders and exploders,’ and Jason DeParle’s continuing Border Crossings series on population flows around the world has perfectly captured the consequences.
I caught Joseph Chamie, a sociologist and demographer, on the phone a couple of nights ago to explore the inevitability of nine billion and these other trends. It’s telling that he used to run the United Nations Population Division but recently migrated (~sorry~) to the Center for Migration Studies.
It is flows of people, and regional population crises, that will matter most in the next two generations, Dr. Chamie said.”
What I find myself particularly thinking about in all this is how the Church is going to be called to respond. It looks like there will be a window of opportunity, where we in the developed world will have the necessary resources to reach out to people in the developing world in a way that will mitigate some of the effects of climate change and population growth.
But I don’t think we’re going to have much time to come up with a coherent response. And if we don’t start taking seriously the reason we do mission – because of our relationship with Jesus, there’s not going to be many of us around trying to help…