My blog posts revolve around my interests and vocation as a historian: the intersection of history and contemporary church life, the intersection of history and contemporary politics, serendipitous discoveries in archives or on research trips, publications and research projects, upcoming conferences, and speaking engagements.
I sometimes blog for two other organizations, the Canadian Baptist Historical Society and the Centre for Post-Christendom Studies.
The views expressed in these blogs represent the views of the authors, and not necessarily those of any organizations with which they are associated.
In one of my trips to the archives I unexpectedly found in a Canadian Methodist periodical an editorial on the subject of a climate crisis. It was published in the Christian Guardian well over 100 years ago, and I was struck with how the language is virtually the same in 1901 as it is now.
My point in printing this is not to enter into some kind of heated debate over global warming, climate change, etc. It is simply to show how there is a history to current worries, and we are not the first ones to raise concerns over the impact of humans on the environment. In fact, there was a flurry of nineteenth-century scientists looking at possible futures for the planet in light of rapid advances in technology and industrialization.
Here is the editorial in its entirety:
“The first summer of the century is destined to pass into history as one of extreme heat and drought over many parts of the world, but especially on the American continent. In Canada, though we have had it very warm, an average rainfall has greatly relieved the situation and prevented any great distress. In the western and south-western States, however, the mercury has stood for weeks above ninety degrees, and frequently above one hundred, and in many localities there has been practically no rainfall for months. The results have been disastrous in the extreme and the prospects are that the crop returns will not be at most more than one-third of the average. This condition of affairs should call general attention to a question that has awakened frequent and spasmodic interest, but that has, up to the present, not received the general and practical consideration that it demands. The effect of forests upon climate and rainfall has been written about and discussed not a little, but, though it is a question involving millions of dollars, and the comfort and happiness of millions of people as well, it has been given but indifferent attention. It would appear that the arid belt in the West is increasing, and that one great reason for that is the destruction of the forests, especially at the sources of the streams. And yet that destruction is being carried on in the most improvident fashion and practically nothing is being done to counteract the disastrous results. In the matter of forestry practically nothing has been attempted either in the United States or Canada. The question will be forced upon us some day in the not distant future; it might be better to give it attention before that day comes.” “About the Weather,” Christian Guardian, 7 August 1901.
Here is the original:
Leave a Reply.