There is no secret that the region is experiencing an unprecedented oil and gas boom. Along with the economic gains and vast profits the oil and gas industry are bringing to Southeast New Mexico, there is also a largely hidden cost. As citizens who live and raise our families in Eddy County, as well as people of Faith who were entrusted by our Creator to care for the precious gift of this earth, it is vital that the community take seriously a balanced and faithful environmental approach to oil and gas production.
The State of New Mexico Environmental Department has a resource at https://gis.web.env.nm.gov/oem/?map=methane that calls into question the sanctity of God’s creation at the hands of unrestricted drilling and relentless fracking in the Permian Basin. Sophisticated thermal imaging technology developed by the oil and gas industry illustrates numerous sites in and around Eddy County where vast amounts of toxic Methane gas and Volatile Organic Compounds are being vented into the atmosphere from petroleum sites across the region. Although they may not be visible to the naked eye, when seen through the lens of cameras calibrated to see the pollutants, it illustrates the functional equitant of someone dumping vast amounts of raw sewage into the drinking water of an entire community. The only difference is that it is the very air we breathe that is being silently, and invisibly, poisoned by some of the most destructive greenhouse gasses known to humanity.
Many argue that climate change, global warming, and the catastrophic effects of greenhouse gas emissions are nonsense or refuse to accept the reality that the global climate is significantly changing. Often the argument goes that in much of the country, winters are increasingly brutal. The thinking erroneously assumes that if global warming were real, winter storms would not be so brutal. However, science proves that the broad swings of hot and cold are part of global climate change, not a refutation of the scientifically proven fact. The bottom line is that humanity is changing the global climate by our obsession with short term profit at the expense of God’s creation.
It is vital that people of faith — not just Christian but all of the world’s religious faiths —take seriously the fact that regardless of how we may personally understand the Creator and the Creation, we all have a sacred responsibly to protect and defend the Creation as an act of fidelity to the God whom we serve!
For the next two weeks, the United Nations will be meeting in Madrid, Spain for the Global Climate Change Conference. As a faith leader, I will be attending part of the conference and will be connecting with other faith leaders from around the world to solidify our shared commitment to care for God’s creation. Next Sunday I will submit this column from Madrid discussing the events and interaction from the faith community as we are gathered in Spain with the United Nations to discuss and resolve the global crisis of climate change.
Christians must be focused on the realities of what we are doing in our world today with intentionality on how we can leave a planet worth passing on to future generations. Some may argue that we are in the end times and that future generations on this planet are of no concern because Christ will return before then. Yet, Biblical fidelity requires that we never live in the delusion that Christ will return in our lifetimes. Rather, it demands that we trust in God in all things and be faithful stewards of all in God’s Creation.
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