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Friday, November 22, 2019

Everyone Take a Deep Breathe of Clear Air

Everyone Take a Deep Breathe of Clear Air

It’s not unreasonable to imagine that some or a great deal of global warming is caused by human activity. But I’m no scientist, so what do I know? Yet for me, global warming is more or less a so-what? Even if the planet wasn’t warming, we are responsible for the health of the planet God put us on. We’re still required to steward well the air we breathe, the ground we till, and the flora and fauna we find everywhere. “Environmentalist” is part of our job title from Genesis 1 on.
Still, I find it annoying that hardly a week goes by that I don’t read about the coming climate calamity. After a while, and after hearing this for a quarter of a century and more, one tends to get jaded. Not about troubling environmental trends, but the apocalyptic predictions. Thus I found this piece, Climate Change—Assessing the Worst Case Scenario,” a level-headed response to some of the hysteria, whose conclusion is:
I am not by any means claiming that my analysis is the definitive or final word. Important information is still missing, all of it is debatable to some extent, and new research may turn up surprising results. But, for the time being, I see no justification for describing climate change in terms of “crisis,” “emergency,” “catastrophe,” or “existential threat” rather than simply “threat,” “challenge,” or “problem.” At the very least, anyone claiming that millions of people are going to die, or that civilization will collapse, should be required to specify which impacts of climate change are going to cause this and how.
There is also this: a blast from the past, a 1959 article in CT: Global Survey: Thanksgiving in a Needy World.” After noting the immigration crisis of the day (1 million refugees in Hong Kong fleeing Communism) and quoting at length President Eisenhower’s Thanksgiving proclamation, it lists the “pointed areas of need” in the world 60 years ago. Thirteen of the twenty items was the result of weather: a typhoon, a flood, a famine, or a drought. It appears that climate change has been with us always, and perhaps less a sign of a coming apocalypse (accompanied by yet another dire warning) but a call to do something hard today. Like offering succor to those devastated by really bad weather, no matter its ultimate cause. That previous sentence certainly indicts the lazy likes of me.
The Intimacy of Silence
This brings me to a figure you may not know but should: Robert Cardinal Sarah of Guinea, and especially his book, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise, which I read to great effect last year. This piece in The Week is a good introduction. One taste:
Sarah writes: “Silence teaches us a great rule of the spiritual life: familiarity does not promote intimacy; on the contrary, a proper distance is a condition for communion. Humanity advances towards love through adoration. Sacred silence, laden with the adored presence, opens the way to mystical silence, full of loving intimacy.”
The Future of Learning Styles
Apparently it’s bleak, because this concept keeps getting debunked in study after study. And yet it still hangs on in much of modern education. Why?
Experts aren’t sure how the concept spread, but it might have had something to do with the self-esteem movement of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Everyone was special—so everyone must have a special learning style, too. Teachers told students about it in grade school. “Teachers like to think that they can reach every student, even struggling students, just by tailoring their instruction to match each student’s preferred learning format,” said Central Michigan University’s Abby Knoll, a PhD student who has studied learning styles.
More insights into this phenomenon can be had "The Myth of 'Learning Styles'" by Olga Khazan in The Atlantic.
Free Can Be Costly
One great modern mystery that I was unaware of until recently: That free parking is really expensive. Watch this video to understand why.
Grace and peace,

Mark GalliMark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today

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