Earth Day, our family’s style. Or, the Skeptical Stewards.

Grant and Wes and I were studying about Mars today, and Googled to find out more about its polar ice caps.  I thought they were purely carbon dioxide (dry) ice, but it turns out that research is currently suggesting that they may be water ice covered in a layer of dry ice.  There doesn’t seem to be a consensus either way right now.

However, that’s not my point.

Upon Googling, I saw several articles that I thought were interesting.  This knowledge is, apparently, more than a year old, but it was new to me.  It’s that Mars is currently experiencing global (Martian?) warming, and its polar ice caps are shrinking.  The level which Mars’ temperatures have raised since the 1970s are commensurate with the amount of global warming experienced on Earth in the same time period.  This has led to some scientists to propose that Earth’s current trend towards global warming and Mars’ global warming might have the same source:  the Sun.  Not millions of cars spewing exhaust, and the smokestacks from factories, and other human sources.

After the younger boys and I did science, I called my almost 11yo Ethan in, too, and we had a little discussion about environmentalism.  Today’s Earth Day, which the boys heard about from some place.  And I’ve been hearing them start talking about some current popular environmental theories as if they were fact lately, which is of some concern to me.  Now, I’m not anti-environmental;  I consider my stance to be one of “stewardship.”

When God created the Earth and plants and animals and people, in Genesis 1:26-28, He gave Adam instructions to both care for the inhabitants of the Earth and to be “fruitful and multiply.”  In other words, the environment is important, and people are, too.

We talked about our hiking trips, and about how disappointing it is to see trash along the way, or “our” lovely riparian area with a teensy spring in the middle of the desert west of Lake Pleasant that has been destroyed by illegal gold mining done by chemical leaching, which has killed all the plant and animal life in the stream and its surroundings, turning the area an unnatural orange.  Litter = bad.  Permanent destruction of unrenewable and rare resources = bad.  We want to care for the gifts God has entrusted to us, not trash them.

However, it’s not like everyone should recycle their cars, become vegetarians, move into a cave and never have kids. 

I also mentioned something that Ethan and I, as he studies geology, have discussed extensively:  Scientists are swayed by their own biases and beliefs.  If a scientist does not believe in God, and believes that there should be zero (or negative) population growth, that’s going to be reflected in his research, and the conclusions which she draws.  Same with creationist scientists.  Not that all, or even most, scientists are “bad;” we just need to be careful what/whom we listen to, what we believe, what we accept as truth.

I thought that the example of Mars was a fantastic one.  All three of my boys, even 6yo Wesley, had heard of “global warming.”  All of them were of the firm conviction that global warming is because of people and pollution.  Now, I’m not suggesting that we should return to London of the Industrial Revolution and fill our cities’ air with unhealthy chemicals to the extent that street lights are needed during the day.  However, I’m skeptical that all of the current global warming trends are simply from pollution.  And Mars’ melting polar caps seem to be a suggestion that my skepticism is shared by at least a few scientists.  I’ve often thought that perhaps there is some other source, like in the sun itself, causing it to, say, burn slightly hotter for the last few decades, leading to current climate change upon the Earth.  Or something like that.

I’m not a scientist, and I may be opening another unwelcome can of worms here.  I certainly don’t want to be blasted as an Earth-hater, because I’m not.  I love the world that God has given to us, and we actively work to be wise, careful, responsible stewards with His gifts.  But, neither do I want to swallow the Gospel According to Al Gore, et al, hook, line and sinker.

If you care to read the articles about Mars’ melting polar ice caps, here you go:

In the National Geographic News, Feb 28, 2007.
In the (London) Times Online, April 29, 2007.
From Heartland Institute, November 1, 2005.



About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on April 22, 2008, in Arizona, Christian Living, Homeschooling, Loving Nature!, Parenting, Political Thought, Science, The Kids, Weather. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I, too, am open minded, but I think that this theory about a slight increase in overall temperature of the sun is a good one.

    This must be one of the great advantages of homeschooling – finding all these sources of information which you may not otherwise come across. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  2. Amen, Karen! Sounds like we are of like mind on this one. 🙂 (of course we seem to be of like mind on a lot of things 😀 )

  3. Karen, very interesting post! I actually read about that Mars global warming thing about a year ago in one of the science-for-regular-people magazines I read occasionally (Discover, maybe?) . My understanding of global warming is that a)scientists have not determined the exact mix of short- and long-term causes of global warming but b) they have determined that humans can affect it for good or ill. It’s likely that some science popularizers (the same crowd that tells us each week whether science has proved that coffee is good for us–no, wait, bad!– no, wait– good!) and politicos suppress findings that seem to complicate the issue for the sake of maintaining the public’s momentum toward pollution reduction. As for the term “environmentalist” you inspired an actual post over at

  4. P.S. I bet you would enjoy the book “Freedom of Simplicity” by Richard Foster.

  1. Pingback: Comma Dot Comma » There are a lot of people rowing this boat!

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