By Nick Stamatakis
“…We are convinced that any real hope of reversing climate change requires a radical transformation of the way we perceive and treat the world. However, part of the problem lies in our unwillingness to make sacrifices for the sake of others and the Earth. We are called to distinguish between what we want and what we need, or – more importantly – what the world needs first and foremost…”
The above is a central excerpt of Pat. Bartholomew’s speech at the recent Halki conference about “Covid-19 and Climate Change”. I wouldn’t bother to comment on such an obvious political exercise, which has very little to do with either science or faith – in fact, I would argue that it negates both science and faith. But I am tempted because of the circumstances we all live in… Where to start with the multiple contradictions of this “enterprise”?
The title alone connecting “covid-19” and “climate change” rings hollow. How are these two connected? Pat. Bartholomew explains that during the pandemic “we observed a reduction of pollution and contamination of the atmosphere” in supposedly “scientific” observation, which assumes two “not self-evident” statements: First that “climate change” is caused by humans and, second, that it is necessarily a catastrophe for humanity. Are we supposed to stay on lockdown forever to fight climate change? And what is the answer to climate change? Climate stability? Unbelievable unscientific and ideological concepts, hiding political goals…
Please allow me to address these questions drawing from my personal experience, both in politics and in science (I have been in an autobiographical mode for the past few weeks…) I would like to remind the younger generation among us that in the 1970s the “environmentalists” were worrying about “global cooling“. At the same time, the European Left was watching with great disappointment their “socialist dream soviet-style” going down the drain. Solzhenitsyn’s “Archipelago Gulag” had just been published, following a few popular uprisings in Hungary, Prague, and elsewhere. The always agitated and “itching for action” intellectuals of the Left were frantically searching for a “new crisis” in order to cover the void of their failure and prove that socialism works. And they turned to “ecology” (environmentalism in Europe started under the “ecology” rubric), which in essence meant a concern for the human impact on the environment: This was a “feel good”, “peaceful” and seemingly “politically neutral” new ideology. (In parenthesis, let me note here that a few of my former “comrades” of the 1970s and early 1980s instead of turning to ecology they turned to Orthodoxy and some are still today monks in Mt.Athos – a phenomenon worth sociological and psychological analysis…)
Later on, the real scientific numbers proved that we were NOT dealing with “global cooling” but rather with “global warming”: as a result, they started introducing several obnoxious concepts that really did not help their cause “to save the Earth”: they talked about “greenhouse effect”, etc… Why did they fail again? Because science is based on facts and numbers and both are quite “stubborn”: they cannot be manipulated to agree with anyone’s political goals. The “greenhouse effect” was apparently – at least partially – protection against global warming… And the numbers said that during the last 170 years the Earth’s average temperature rose only by 1.5 degrees Celsius!! Here is the graph from very official sources:
Having hit the “facts and numbers wall”, the “ecologists” realized that they have to alter their basic tenet to “CLIMATE CHANGE”, which they did… That way they were covered any way the “scientific” wind turned… In any case, the Left’s goal – have no doubt, this was a leftist political operation – had nothing to do with the environment: it was all about control of humanity (as it is evident in Pat. Bartholomew’s speech below – which I encourage you to read in order to see with your own eyes the naked political goals of the “climate change” ideology)…
Now we have to ask: Why is climate change “catastrophic”? Did God create the Earth to be in stable temperatures forever and ever? Of course not… The Earth’s temperatures have varied tremendously and, despite what they want us to believe, the Earth survived all these huge changes. Let me explain by drawing from my scientific experience: The first scientific experiment I was taught as a graduate student of Anthropology at Stony Brook (1985) had to do with “ice cores” – round chunks of ice extracted vertically from the earth’s poles in order to study past climate and other environmental factors. (I have to note here that Stony Brook was and still is in this field – paleoanthropology – among the best in the world). What did we learn? We learned – at a time when science was still science and politics was not involved – that during the last 11,000 years the average temperature on Earth has changed significantly and that it is now cooler than it has been 11,000 years ago. I challenge ANY so-called “scientists” – like those who participated at the Halki conference – to disprove this statement with their “scientific” facts!! But if this is a scientific fact, (i.e. that the Earth is now cooler than it was 11,000 years ago) then human activity has not much to do with climate change – at least not as much as they claim it has!!
Who then might be responsible? Below I will give you some more science: A chart that correlates the spots (huge explosions) on the surface of the sun with Earth’s temperatures over the last 400 years… Is there a force more powerful than the Sun in our planetary system?
As you can clearly see, we are now living in a rather cooling period corresponding to reduced sunspot activity. I will stop here with my stubborn science facts and I will not refer to ocean currents and their impressive ability to regulate Earth’s temperature! God has created this planet in great wisdom, wisdom not matched by the self-proclaimed “Saviors of the Earth” – who are arrogant “sinners” and believe they are more powerful than their Creator!! And so at the end of their argumentation, we are left with a “feel good” concern about “deforestation”, “pollution” and the rest…
For a moment I will assume that “my science” is wrong and that the environmentalists are scientifically correct. Then why should we accept that the answer to “climate change” has to be several forms of human control – in other words, “socialism”? Environmental issues are best solved if the “saviors of the planet” let science and economy function uninhibited. For example, we now know for a fact that the American wood industry plants 3-4 trees for every one they cut. America is much more forested than 250 years ago – and the same can happen in the rest of the planet, in China, India, and in South America, because these are the countries and areas with the biggest environmental problems… We also know that science will soon invent new technology to clean the oceans from plastic: we have seen several efforts to that effect already… Or should I mention that a few days ago Elon Musk offered an award of $100 million dollars for the best carbon capture technology? Finally, let me mention that we already have quite advanced hydrogen fuel cell technology for use in automobiles, while other forms of propulsion are rumored to be part of research in “secret” laboratories by major powers. Just hydrogen fuel cells will make the issue of “carbon emissions” obsolete in the next 30 years…
Instead of having confidence in human innovation and human free will first, the “Earth’s Saviors” insist on human control: They are the rulers and the ones who hold all “knowledge” and we, the “plebes”, should follow them. This is the same “dream” the Left had throughout its existence, “to control all humanity in uniformity”, and that’s what they practiced anywhere from the former Soviet Union to China to Cuba to Venezuela. They always claimed their ideology was somehow “scientific” – it was Marx and Engels that adopted Proudhon’s concept and “advanced” their “scientific socialism”… They always used science as a cover for their power-grabbing schemes; today they are allied with global plutocrats (the likes of Bill Gates – and that’s why they are so much more dangerous)… And with their willing accomplishes in Christianity like the Pope and the Patriarch…
The end result of practicing their unhuman ideology was the creation of “nomenclatures” / elites and the untold suffering of the people… Do you want proof? Ask Bill Gates or Al Gore or the new “climate czar”, John Kerry, to give up their private jet… The Left and those who now are acting on behalf of the “Global Reset” present their cause as a harmless set of good intentions. But as the great T.S.Elliot famously said, “most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions” (although I doubt that this truly the case here – their intentions do not seem to be that good to me, to begin with)…
Let me close these thoughts by referring to St.Paul’s teachings: “Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting, yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you …. . .” Philemon 1:8-9. He continues: “But without your consent, I wanted to do nothing, that your good deed might not be by compulsion, as it were, but voluntary.” Philemon 1:14. Patriarch Bartholomew is ill-advised to dictate to any human what the “world needs”. This determination is made by people endowed by their Creator with “free will”. If you take away this notion of free will, then Christianity is rendered a godless concoction of “feel good” ideas that are a bad copy of the faithless and materialistic leftist ideology. Is this the path His All-Holiness would like to show the faithful?
PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW’S SPEECH AT THE HALKI CONFERENCE ON COVID 19 AND CLIMATE CHANGE
CONSTANTINOPLE – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was the keynote speaker at Halki Webinar Conference on the protection and preservation of the environment.
The Patriarch delivered the following speech:
“Beloved friends and dear listeners,
Distinguished speakers, guests, and participants,
It is a special privilege to welcome you to this opening webinar of our Halki Summit, which marks the fourth in a series on environmental responsibility and sustainability.
These summits follow a long tradition of almost three decades. They are named after the island of Halki, just a short ferry ride from Istanbul, Turkey, the site of great importance for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, since on the top of the hill of this island, known as ‘the Hill of hope,’ is located the historic and magnificent edifice of the Patriarchal School of Theology, which has remained silent for exactly 50 years, since the end of the academic year of 1970-1971.
But this year – and this particular summit – is unusual in many ways, not least because of the painful impact of the COVID-19 on people’s lives and interactions. This is why we wanted to dedicate a series of discussions to the relationship and connections between the pandemic and climate change.
We are particularly honored by the presence of eminent leaders, thinkers and experts, all of whom share the same vision and the same purpose, the same prayer and the same promise – namely, the healing of vulnerable human lives and a wounded planet.
Our efforts over the last three decades have focused on promoting conversation and cooperation among all faiths and all disciplines in an effort to contribute to awareness and change with regard to the ecological crisis.
The Halki Summits have proved a vital step in this dialogue and partnership. We are convinced that any real hope of reversing climate change requires a radical transformation of the way we perceive and treat the world.
However, part of the problem lies in our unwillingness to make sacrifices for the sake of others and the Earth. We are called to distinguish between what we want and what we need, or – more importantly – what the world needs first and foremost.
We must be ready for costly surrender and sacrifice. As the Prophet David says in the Book of Samuel: ‘I will not offer to the Lord my God a sacrifice that costs me nothing.’ Such sacrifice is a fundamental religious and spiritual value. It is also a fundamental moral and existential principle.
At the same time, very much like the climate crisis, COVID-19 has also taught us the priceless lesson of the importance of listening to and learning from one another. Of being humble enough to care for and share with one another. Of ‘loving our neighbor as ourselves’ so that all may have life – and ‘life in abundance.’
This unprecedented crisis has revealed the power and value of love and solidarity, which transcend human standards and bear the seal of God’s grace. The pandemic has reminded us that the world is larger than our individual concerns and ambitions, larger than our church and faith communities, and larger than our political powers and national interests.
During the period of this global crisis – with the mandatory restrictions and lock-downs; with the suspension of movement and travel; with the shutdown of factories and the diminishment in industry – we observed a reduction of pollution and contamination of the atmosphere. We were reminded that there can be no genuine progress that is founded on the destruction of the natural environment.
Moreover, it became apparent in recent studies that humanity’s persistent and excessive ‘intrusion’ into nature, with the vast illegal wildlife trafficking and the destruction of the natural ecosystems, through deforestation, urbanization, intensive farming, and through the dispersion of chemical contaminants, as well as globalization and increased interconnectivity, are responsible for the quick spread of contagious diseases and viruses from animal to animal, including man. It is no coincidence that the rise in wildlife-borne diseases has occurred alongside increasing human encroachment on natural world and a rapidly changing climate. The pandemic is not an act of ‘revenge’ by God, but it is a desperate call to a much more respectful approach to nature by all of us.
We pray above all that the God of love and mercy, creator of heaven and earth, maker of all things visible and invisible, physician of our souls and bodies, will give rest to those who have lost their lives, strengthen the sick in their suffering, console their family and relatives, and support the selfless service of healthcare and essential workers.
This time will soon pass; the pandemic will gradually subside; God will heal all wounds. Spring is already in the air. May all of us emerge having discovered a dimension of depth in all things, having experienced a ‘good transformation,’ and having appreciated the value of the divine gifts of life and health, as well as of sacrifice and solidarity.
We sincerely hope that the Halki Summit IV deliberations and discussions will unfold fresh and fruitful ways of informing and working with one another. Whether you are participating ‘live’ or listening to a recording, we pray that all of you will be inspired to initiate new and vital ways for a genuine conversion of hearts and minds.
May God bless you all!”