Scientists who study climate change have now come up with a new prognosis for the future of our planet. 2007 saw the greatest single drop in temperature in recorded history. The ice age which had been receding for the last few centuries seems to be returning. Global cooling is a serious problem. The last time our planet suffered from global cooling, there was also a troubling increase in crop failures, disease and the decline of habitable areas.
It is difficult to say if mankind can stop global cooling, but it is not difficult to say what the reaction of policymakers around the world should be to this newest and real natural threat. Governments should encourage the mining of coal, the drilling for oil, increasing industrial activity, more vehicles on the highways and the introduction of heat-retaining chemical compounds in our atmosphere.
Unlike the mythical global warming, mankind's ingenuity has given him the tools to deal with global cooling - if we act in time. Invention has often been a human response to cold and its effects. Indeed, human progress has largely been a response to the challenges of nature in general. Often - the vast majority of the time - this has been futile. Mankind cannot stop volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. But sometimes, if we are prescient like the Medieval Dutch, we can hold back the sea and win quiet victories against our enemy, nature.
That requires recognizing that nature is, by and large, the enemy of mankind. It may be beautiful; indeed it is both beautiful and ugly, bountiful and destructive, helpful and merciless, and above all nature is utterly disinterested in our survival or welfare. Our goal has always been to tame nature, which is a divinely inspired mandate. God has given us only the tool of our mind to do this. But He has also made it clear that we are the masters and nature is the servant.
The mythology of Global Warming was built upon the assumption that the more man asserts his hegemony over nature, the more man somehow desecrates the Goddess Nature. Global Warming was constructed upon a rejection of the Judeo-Christian God and an embrace of the ancient and savage gods and goddesses of primitive and ignorant people.
These people lived in awe of the brutal pantheon of impersonal deities. As a result, they never developed science, they mastered technology - but only up to a point and then no further, and they never questioned the morality of the heartless river gods, earth goddesses and thunder lords. Fear - very much like the fear of Global Warming - dominated their lives. (Would the sun rise tomorrow? Would spring come at its appointed time?)
The rest of us, who seek the living God of Jews and Christians, have always seen the real danger as Global Cooling. If we are not fruitful and do not multiply, then we reject the injunctions of the Living God. If we do not take the blessing given to us of this planet, to use as we will, then we reject the injunctions of the Living God.
When we stop working and start fretting, then we cool down as does the order of man on earth. That is a bad thing. When we stop having children, then the reign of man on earth begins to end, with nothing to replace it but soulless nature.
There is a huge difference between admiring and enjoying nature and groveling before it. The Dutch dikes reclaimed land from the sea so that gardens and flowers could grow: gardens and flowers are a lovely and real part of nature. The laws the Christians passed against cruelty to animals a few centuries ago were the first of their kind in history: kindness to inferior creatures is founded upon Judeo-Christian traditions and without that tradition it has no real roots.
The new threat of Global Cooling, which would shift hundreds of millions of people out of the outer latitudes and into the crowded inner latitudes, is not manmade but part of the geological cycle of our earth. The question, if it turns out over the next years and decades to be real, is whether we confront it and prevail (which will require that ANWR and pristine coastlines surrender to the greater need of our welfare) or whether we abandon ourselves to the tender mercies of a nature which is neither divine nor holy nor good. Global cooling is a serious moral problem.