Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Green jobs and the confusion factor

An article in Tuesday's Vancouver Sun points out one of the side-effects of the hysteria/concern over environmental trauma: the danger of greenwashing the jobs created by a project. Beyond that, the article suggests that the very prospect of determining whether a job or an industry is "green" becomes an incredibly convoluted and confusing task. Is the output "green"? Is the process "green"? If one is and the other isn't, is it "net green"?

Sifting through the elements that make up an industry to measure their greenitude is worse than peeling an onion -- with the onion, at least your eyes get flushed clean -- as you look at all those pros and cons. It can leave you wondering, "what is truth?"

My book, A Very Convenient Truth (or, Jesus told us there'd be days like these, so stop worrying about the planet and get with His program!) looks at the confusion factor in the discussion over climate change (or environmental trauma). For example, James writes that confusion is the by-product of envy and self-seeking (James 3:16), the result of obfuscation for one's own advancement -- rather like the magician's mis-direct during a trick.

Confusion is one of the signs God is not being consulted on the question of the environment. As I write in AVCT:
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (I Cor. 14:3)
With all of this, many people, including myself, have been left crying, “What is truth?”
And that’s actually good news, because when that happens, we're on the verge of an answer. 
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32) 
Jesus said ... I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, except through me. (John 14:6) 
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38) 
Poor Pilate. There he was, asking “what is truth?”, and it was staring him right in the face. 
We should remember that. When we are confused and our worldly efforts to try to sort things out prove fruitless, we need to go back to the basics.
Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life” -- not half the time, nor three-quarters of the time, but 100% of the time. That means that the truth of environmental matters is found in His Word.  
Underlying all this is the inconvenient truth that there's not a whole lot of honesty going on when it comes to the environmental discussion and the god of this world has blinded people to the truth, when economics come into play. "We're warned about environmental destruction but hey - I've got to feed my family ... now, wait! Here's an industry that's providing 'green' jobs! Wonderful! We can have it both ways!" And people are so relieved at the prospect of being environmentally friendly and keeping a roof over their heads, they don't stop to consider the possibility that someone might be lying.

(Something else left out of that equation is the very real possibility that people in "dirty" industries who might be displaced as those industries fall out of favor may not have the skills to take the "green" jobs. Would new employers have the patience to re-train them when younger workers who might work for lower pay are already available?)

It's worth pointing out that the author of the Vancouver Sun piece was part of a research team at the University of Calgary that did this study on "green" jobs, and it also notes that some jobs in supposedly "dirty" industries like mining and oil and gas extraction are actually "greener" than the those that are generally accepted to be environmentally friendly. Ah, one might say, but this was done by a university in Alberta, where so much of the economy depends on resource extraction. So does that make the study's findings suspect?

And here we go again. I'd like to think that a university -- even one in Tulsa North -- would produce work that's beyond reproach, but then, the Climate Research Unit is also based at a university (East Anglia), and its research has been challenged (as, indeed, has been its method of responding to those who challenge it).

There's a chapter in my book called "Satan Stirs the Pot", where we look at the fact that the absence of the whole truth is an indication that God has not been part of the worldly discussion for a long time. The debate has descended into a struggle over "who's right" rather than "what's right". Lies, bullying, fear tactics, all overshadow the truth, and if truth is barred, so is God.

It's another good reason to take another good, long look at the situation of "climate change" and put it into the context of the Word of God. When we do that, we see that there are signs and warnings that He has given us through the ages -- a good 2,000 years ago, in fact: that climate change, along with earthquakes, wars, terrorism and other situations that don't quite fit the "global warming" paradigm ("global weirding", if you like) are part of a grander plan, and rather than fight against the signs, we need to come onside and learn how to seek His Will and live within that.

In other words, we need to admit that we don't know all the minutiae of "green" issues, and turn to the One who does know, because He made this whole thing.

He has a plan going down, and has had it since before the earth came into being. Sometimes, it doesn't look "good" to us, so our duty is to look beyond that and assume that if we stick to His program, we will come through.

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