Climate Change

Climate change is a reality that is ignored to our peril



We of the twenty-first century have given ourselves over to consuming addictions more than any time in history. Even a casual look at how we live our lives makes it abundantly clear that we are so caught up in our addictions that we can’t even begin to notice that our world is on the brink of disaster. Scientists have been telling us for years that our over use of fossil fuels has been having a negative effect on our planet. Climate change is a fact, yet we’re so addicted to over consumption that we even look at the scientific facts in a selective way, finding ways to deny the inevitable. We’ve managed to politicize an issue that should have united us, all because we want to continue to our foolish abandonment.

Marine scientists know that the carbon dioxide that has been spewing into the air, has been sinking into our oceans. The result is the devastation of sensitive coral reefs, caused by the warming of ocean temperatures. We’re now seeing increased movement of non-native species into ecosystems that are foreign to them and we are on the brink of mass extinctions of ocean life that have not been seen in thousands of years. Much of the worlds population depends on food from these oceans and the depletion of whole species promises to deplete much of our world’s food supply. We’re not talking about a hundred years, but tens of years.

Because of our addictions to having it all, we’ve put our collective heads in the sand, pretending that all is going to be just fine. We are a technologically advanced race that can take care of any eventuality, we tell ourselves. The fact that we are seeing record breaking storms, floods, droughts, fires, and increasingly erratic weather patters, seems too frightening to even contemplate. Our oceans are rising with the melting of the great ice caps and we are denying the reality of global warming. By telling ourselves we are just in a natural climatic change we dismiss any personal responsibility. We live in denial much like the alcoholic who has just been confronted by his family.

As a race we have turned our backs on God. We’ve adopted “abundance and prosperity” theologies that have led us to believe that God wants us to exploit the planet, and have put our priorities in the wrong place. We leave simple, ecologically sound, living to those losers who can’t afford the good life. Meanwhile we fiddle like the grasshopper of the childhood story, all the while running out of time.

We ignore, in our pride and arrogance, a clear message. God has called us to repentance, for our planet is spewing us up like so much vomit. Our sin of over consumption, and greed, has led us to forget that God anointed us to be good stewards of the earth. We’ve been worshiping the false gods of prosperity, gluttony and consumption, while ignored the invitation of our Creator to place our hearts and minds at His disposal.

“It is the sign of an infantile mind not to care for oneself with the resources that are available, but rather to partake of something clearly and undeniably harmful while trusting in unseen hopes (Saint Basil the Great).”

It is time we put all political and religious differences aside, face up to the catastrophe that is already upon us, and reverse, as much as possible at this eleventh hour, the destruction we have inflicted upon our planet. Although there have always been cycles of climate change, the current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years. We must stop our abusive living, and demand our government enact laws that greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. We must reduce our dependency on beef, and other animal products. We must learn to ration our water supplies, and live, collectively, lives that are not ruled by consumerism. If we don’t act now, we, as a species, are doomed.

The important thing to remember is that we are talking “climate change”. “Global warming” was the title given it by the media, early on, and it stuck. The terrible winters in the Midwest do not mean global warming is not happening, but simply that the whole of the world’s climate is changing rapidly. The vast majority of scientists have been warning us about this for a very long time, but some Christians, and some politicians, have turned this warning into some kind of vast conspiracy, which it is not. The evidence is clear, and the impact climate change is having on the whole of the world promises famine and destruction the world over. We don’t have time to sit around and debate this. We have to act NOW!

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Friday September 25, 2015 / September 12, 2015

17th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Fast. Food with Oil

Apodosis of the Nativity of the Theotokos.
Hieromartyr Autonomus, bishop in Italy (313).
Venerable Athanasius (1401), disciple of Venerable Sergius of Radonezh and abbot of the Vysotsk Monastery in Serpukhov, and his disciple Venerable Athanasius (1395).
New Hieromartyrs Theodore, John, Nicholas priests and Martyr Alexis (1937).
Blessed Alexis of Elnat and Zharki, near Kineshma (1937).
Translation of the relics (1704) of Righteous Simeon of Verkhoturye (1642).
Venerable Bassian of Tiksna (Vologda) (1624).
Martyr Julian of Galatia, and forty martyrs with him (4th c.).
Hieromartyr Theodore, archbishop of Alexandria (606).
St. Coronatus, bishop of Iconium (3rd c.).
Martyr Macedonius in Phrygia, and with him Martyrs Tatian and Theodulus (4th c.).
St. Sacerdos, bishop of Lyons in Gaul (Gaul).
Venerable Daniel of Thassos, monk (843) (Greek).
St. Andronicus of Atroa (9th c.) (Greek).
Hieromartyr Dositheus of Tbilisi, Georgia (1795) (Georgia).
St. Ailbhe (Elvis) of Emly (527) (Celtic & British).

Scripture Readings

Ephesians 4:17-25

The New Man

17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Do Not Grieve the Spirit

25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.

Mark 12:1-12

The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers

12 Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 2 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent them another servant, and at him they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. 5 And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some. 6 Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.

9 “Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not even read this Scripture:

‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
11 This was the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away.

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. The Monastery is under the omophore of The Most Rev. Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Situated in the heart of a beautiful forest, surrounded by the Salish Sea, the monastery is reached by ferry from either Seattle, or Tacoma, Washington.


  1. Then explain “the Little Ice Age” in England when the Thames froze over and ice skaters were pictured on the Thames. Or why did the Vikings, who had lived in Greeland, since around 1000 AD abandon their settlements and return to Iceland in the 1400s because weather had turned colder and now their crops were failing?

    1. There are warming and cooling periods, the point being made here is that as a human race we are helping to directly affect the warming and cooling periods. Further, there have been known long winters, short summers, short winters, and long summers. Not to mention there will be the odd winter or summer which have above or below average temperatures. All of this is natural but it is also affected by human interaction with the environment.

      Last point, never be so insulting to the Abbot again, as a man who has dedicated his life to service to God and humankind he deserves more respect that your snarky comments. Knowing Abbot Tryphon though he probably chuckled at your comment and prayed for you, I hope you thank him for blessing your life in that manner.

  2. Please, dear Abbot Tryphon – it’s a great temptation for Christians who are despised as neanderthals by our current culture, to want to buy into this lie, because one can join with others to be one of the ‘good guys’ that care about the planet. Science + politics + politics. This isn’t even science – it’s computer modeling. Innacurate computer modeling that has been used successfully by leftists since the 1980’s to after the fall of communism to destroy the economies of the ‘free world.’
    The initial appearance of this lie, was met by something like 30 thousand signatures of real scientists protesting the conclusions as demonstrably false. Of course this didn’t make the news to your average lo-fo. The dishonesty of politically grant funded ‘research’ is a disgrace – especially when you get to the ‘social sciences.’

    Please – if you are not going to take the time to find out the truth, remember Alexandyr and don’t repeat the lies. Concern for life, fine. Control yourself and love the garden entrusted to our care, fine. Pray for widsom and discernment, fine. Especially prayer.
    Young people look to you for guidance…. this is the phrenology of our age.

  3. Thank you! An important reminder today as I clear away the plastic to-go cups on my desk. I think plastics are also an important part of this issue, and it’s easy for me to fall into a habit of depending on plastic for the convenience. In reality, if I took the time to make something myself instead of buying it single-use and wrapped in plastic, I might be living a little closer to reality and have a moment to pray that I might not otherwise. There can be so much spirituality in environmentalism, if not in a larger, philosophical way, at least in the pause before buying something or the stillness of doing something the slower way.

  4. I have to say I disagree with you, but for a nuanced reason. This debate muddies two questions together, then reaches a conclusion that is harmful.

    What’s happening is that the establishment is saying that “human activity is causing the climate to change. Therefore, we need to implement cap & trade schemes, carbon taxes, etc. to resolve the issue.” Well-meaning people, like yourself, agree with this in general terms, because you inherently understand that profligate living harms the planet. But this support is being harnessed not to solve the root problems (consumption), but to market additional consumption (eco-cars, like Prius, made with deadly rare-earth elements; carbon-based trading derivatives, etc).

    In my mind, the two questions need to be separated. It is not clear that increasing carbon in the atmosphere increases temperatures. Correlation does not equal causation. The system is very complex and we cannot model it totally. This fact is tacitly acknowledged because the terminology shifted from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’.

    At the same time, it is clear that humans are destroying the earth. Overconsumption, pollution – all the things you mentioned.

    By buying into the ‘climate change’ hysteria – we address only the ‘carbon footprint’ aspect of the problem. And in this way, are being led in the wrong direction – into more consumption and taxation.

    I separate these issues totally. On the one hand, I don’t fear that specifically, the earth is heating up. It may, it may not. Might be human caused, might be cyclical. On the other hand, I do support austerity and a simpler lifestyle. I agree that humanity is in a crisis of consumption, and I fear it. We need to address consumption – not carbon.

    1. An excellent comment! That profligate living harms the environment, to say nothing of one’s soul, is intuitive today as it was to our ancestors. Husbandry of one’s environment is nothing new.

      It is also intuitive I think that modern technology has an accelerative impact on everything – our lives and the environment – never before seen. See the writings of Nassim Taleb, a baptized Orthodox Christian, for more on this.

      We don’t need fancy and probably wrong computer modeling to understand this. The rapid increases in heretofor unknown diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure in my home country are enough of an indicator, and a personal one at that.

      I think the solution for us Orthodox Christians is as simple yet difficult as it has always been, and that is to live simple lives. Not the other government and ideological solutions advocated by the ideologues, but simply that which was commanded of us by Christ.

  5. Wow, what a powerful daily offering today, Fr. Tryphon….
    and sadly, even after the Papal address to Congress yesterday, wouldn’t surprise me at all if it goes in one ear and out the other with our elected officials….

  6. With all due respect, dear Fr. Abbot, it seems that you’ve drunk too much climate change Kool Aid and not enough good, dark beer. Kay’s comments pretty much say it all in a very succinct and concise manner.

    That the climate changes over time is pretty likely. That it’s our “fault” as humans, is much, much less so.

    As Kay mentioned, it’s computer modeling, not science, and bad modeling at that. Remember that old saying, “a map is not the territory”? To the same extent, a model is not reality, much less a bad model based on a particular political agenda.

    By all means preach and teach good stewardship of our resources, but *please* don’t do it on the basis of politics and bad pseudo-science that really is anything but proven.

  7. Dear Father Tryphon,

    Father bless!

    I would echo the concerns of Kay above. “Climate change” has become a leading political ideology of our time. Many of its predecessors such as Communism and National Socialism claimed a “scientific” mandate as well. We certainly should not take for granted the blessings of Creation given us by the All-Benevolent God, but we must also not ‘be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine’ (Eph. 4:14). I would humbly recommend to you as a pastor to stick to the unchanging and salvific truths of the Orthodox Church. We need them! We must avoid ‘profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called’ (1 Tim. 6:20), which threaten to sow division amongst us.

    Here is a very good documentary (“The Great Global Warming Swindle”) that touches on some of the problems associated with Climate Change: . There are in fact many reputable scientific sources that reject Climate Change but they are systematically excluded from the debate.

  8. The negative comments are couched in aerodite language, but are in reality troglodyte. 99% of the world’s climate scientists and all the national science institutes worldwide are in agreement about the facts. This is not a “leftist” agenda or conspiracy. Stop sleep walking folks! As a physician, and public health scientist, I utilize scientific facts, reason, and faith–and listen to the experts worldwide, not political ideology.

  9. Thank you for this very important note. It’s saddening that people can be blinded and dulled by ideology to the obvious truth that we, as humans, can do bad enough things to our environment that there will actually be bad consequences to us. We aren’t even burying the ten talents, we’re burning them.

  10. Father, bless!

    I struggle to figure out how to live as a Christian in our modern world. The threat of climate change, and the strong possibility that our lifestyles are directly responsible, only adds to this tension.

    In regards to the comments, Dr. Bakken is correct: the science is clear and more or less decided that there is massive scale climate change occurring. These are based in observational facts. Some of the other commenters, too, have mentioned that the human-caused component is based on modeling, and this is true, too, though there is a strong correlation evidenced in the observations.

    Ultimately, I find it hard to care whether the science is correct or not; the climate is changing in ways which will damage the stability of human civilizations across the glove, I live an incredibly wealthy and luxurious lifestyle, this is surely not the Christian message.

  11. Father Tryphon,

    I’m afraid you are wrong. Climate is changing, I will certainly grant, but the cause is hardly settled. The “consensus” is based entirely on computer models, none of which are ever accurate, but always changed. One thing that is interesting is that scientists predict that within the next 10 years, the sun will enter a cooling period and that scientists predict that we will experience much cooler temperatures for around 30 years or so. Now, if the sun has this much effect on the climate in terms of cooling, how is it that the sun, according to them, has no affect on temperatures when they rise? It is a non sequitur. Also, if you fail to see how the global warming/climate change defenders are all funded by organizations and activists who support essentially a world government with mass restrictions on liberty and choice, then I have to conclude that you are complicit with them and I certainly hope that is not the case.

    With all the advancement of technologies in the past 20 years which have cleaned up the air with a lot less energy cost and also when you consider that the practice of free markets has also brought more people OUT OF poverty (going from 37% in 1980 to 13% now), climate change activism is nothing more than a red herring to make the world poorer while enriching the very few. And how are you going to reconcile that, Father?

    1. The basis on how climate change is not based upon computer models alone. While it’s true we don’t have a daily temperature record that goes back to a million years, we can infer the climate’s composition by looking at its effects on other things in the environment. I’d say the biggest contributor are ice cores, which preserve nice snapshots of the composition of the atmosphere and the ocean’s temperature in time (which is called the oxygen isotope ratio cycle). Other pieces of evidence include glaciers, changes to vegetation, and many other things. The role of computer modeling is more or less to determine how bad things will get, not if things will go bad.

      Free markets don’t address the issue of negative externalities. A company won’t stop pollution if you ask them nicely. The acid rain problems that were caused by the excess of SO2 pollution were solved by the passage of the clean air act, which used a cap-and-trade system. Unless the company is directly impacted financially for the environmental damage, there’s 0 incentive for them to change unless the government steps in. That doesn’t mean capitalism goes away, but it has to be regulated to varying degrees.

  12. It is interesting that the numerous academic and neuro-science studies show that skewed or wrong beliefs won’t change in a person even when confronted with facts and reality. In fact, people double down on what they believe. This conversation is impossible without an inquiring and open mind, trained to read and understand scientific methodology. Political codewords and ideology and opinion (and frankly, just plain stupidity) have no place within this most important existential threat we face. Read the United Nations consensus report on the climate!
    Conspiracy among and in the scientific community worldwide!?That is farcical to even contemplate.

  13. Dear Abbott

    Christ has risen!

    Father, I love you and deeply respect you but I need to affirm that I am one that rejects the Global Warming scam. There is no science to support this. In fact we have experienced no significant temperature rise for 19 years. Fact! The ice sheets and glaciers are in fact growing. Please check the facts.

    I was so saddened to hear this podcast that obviously comes out in support of the Bishop of Rome who seems more like the
    False Prophet or in the least, a political leader more so than the leader of millions of Catholics.

    Father, beware of worship of Ghia as she will be swept away in the last days regardless.

    In Christ


    1. I do not know where some are getting their “facts” about there being no scientific support regarding humanity’s impact on climate change. Scientists world wide are almost 100% in their findings concerning climate change, and that anyone could suggest there is no significant temperature rise, is stunning. The evidence is everywhere, including the rapid melting of the ice caps.

      Some of my readers have suggested that I am siding with the “Bishop of Rome”, and even going so far as to suggest he is like a false prophet, I would remind them that our own “First Among Equals”, Patriarch Bartholomew, has been known as the “Green Patriarch” during the reign of the past three popes. His All Holiness has championed the need for a worldwide response to climate change for a very long time, and has even written a book on the subject. It is beyond my comprehension that conservatives would think protecting the life of the unborn (I’ve written against abortion for many years), would at the same time fail to see the importance of protecting ALL life. In just this past year, almost one half of the life forms in our oceans have gone extinct, all in response to the changing acid levels of our oceans, so the fact that our world is in a crisis of staggering proportions is clearly evident. My speaking out on the issue has been uncomfortable for me, for I have never been accused of being some “liberal nut case” until now. My values are all based on the moral, ethical and spiritual teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church. I can no more stand down concerning the issue of climate change, which is, in great part, caused by mankind’s sin against the environment, then I can remain silent about the slaughter of the innocent unborn children. We humans have made a mess of all that the Lord has given us, and it is time we repent and turn away from all evilness. God made us stewards of creation, and we, in our greed, have destroyed the forests and water sources in a way that our ancestors would have found unconscionable. As a monk, I am called to a prophetic witness. That my stand has resulted in so many responding in anger, dare not deter me anymore then the cause of the Unborn has made me enemies. I can only pray that my words help more conservatives, like myself, see the lateness of the hour, and start working to protect all life, including the life of our planet.

      Making climate change an issue that divides Conservatives from Liberals, is a division that will lead to the ultimate end of life on this planet as we know it. It would be good for everyone who dismisses climate change, and the impact humankind’s sinful lack of stewardship has had, look at the overwhelming scientific facts that are available to all, and not just read the findings of a tiny minority of scientists who tow the line of a right wing take on these issues.

      With love and blessings,
      Abbot Tryphon

  14. Wow. I need to back the Father up on this.

    As I have looked into this issue, I have found a great deal of material online in support of the “climate skeptic” position. I have also found that every single objection has an answer from the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) camp. The difference between the two is that, invariably, the scientific credentials of the AGW folks are stronger, and their references to peer-reviewed literature are more robust. There are no national or international scientific societies that support the anti-AGW position, and many that support AGW. The number of peer-reviewed scientific papers that support AGW is far higher than the number that oppose it.

    It takes a lot of training to understand the methods employed in any field of science. So this idea that someone would start by saying “I’m not a climate scientist” and then follow it up by rejecting the consensus position among scientists is absurd.

    This site is a reasonably good place to start.

    Thank you Father Tryphon for doing the hard thing, which is also the right thing.

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