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 Wind farms: immoral use of technology

 The world is inundated with disasters ranging from pandemics, earthquakes, floods, heat waves, energy shortages, and so on. Climate change may be inevitable so that we may fear the worst for the preservation of life on planet Earth. The comparison with the Flood is obvious, so it may be interesting what Jewish Bible exegetes have to say about this.

The Flood appears in many myths in several independent civilizations. According to the exegetes, the ethical dimension is specific to the story of the Flood in the Bible: the Flood has a moral cause. The people themselves caused it by their behavior. The analogy with our time is obvious. We don't need to bring God into it. Humans have largely caused climate change themselves. However, there is also a positive side to the story of the Flood: man is his own Saviour. Noah built the ark and with it saved his family and all kinds of animals. According to the Jewish scholars, Noah used the technique (ie building the Ark) to prevent the total destruction of life on earth.

The technique can also be applied immorally. We see the latter in the story of the Tower of Babel. The medieval Talmudic scholar Rashi (1040-1105), very influential in Judaism, wrote that if a man fell from the tower, no one flinched. When a stone fell down there was general mourning. The analogy with our time: there are factories that affect the health of people in a wide area. Here technology takes precedence over people. The same applies to the entire industry that continuously discharges toxic gases into the atmosphere and waste into the oceans. Hardly anyone gives a damn about the disastrous consequences of this for human and animal life. But the shareholders would scream bloody murder if the factories shut down. When I see the smoke, that is mainly discharged at night, from my apartment in the distance above the harbor area, the thought occurs to me who the hell dares to pump all that poison into the atmosphere we all breathe. We have all gone insane because we do not realize what man is doing in nature.  

In connection with the latter, the biblical exegetes offer an insightful interpretation when comparing Babel and the Ark: man is the ruler of nature, but not the possessor. A good ruler takes care of nature. A possessor uses and abuses nature. In the Bible, God has asked man to be master of nature, but not to possess it. In other words, we do not own, for example, the oil resources, the ores, the farmland, the fish-rich seas, but we have to manage it well. In Babel they did to nature what seemed right to man, where man thought he had absolute mastery, even over other people who were being exploited. This is not a criticism of the technique as such. It is about the correct and responsible use of technology.

Greta Turnberg is wiser than many think

I don't just arbitrarily base myself on biblical stories. This is wisdom thousands of years old that provides a better foundation for our moral behavior than modern nihilism. In our time, too much is put into a relativistic perspective so that morality has no solid ground and people decide for themselves what is good, usually out of self-interest. This is the cause of the apocalypse that we ourselves are causing. The anger of 18-year-old Greta Thunberg, who is mocked by many, is evidence of a wisdom that has been lost.

As an example of a use of technology that has gotten out of hand, which I do not hesitate to call immoral, I will mention the increasingly larger wind farms at sea and in our landscapes. They symbolize the destruction that people cause. However, the solution to the energy shortage is simple. A wise person would immediately think of stopping energy consumption for excess production. Ending gas consumption in greenhouses to grow flowers and vegetables would already yield a lot of savings. I estimate that 90 percent of what the industry produces is not necessary. Countless other examples are easy to find with a little wisdom. I limit myself to one more. The pollution caused by car traffic and freight transport is enormous. Again, perhaps 90 percent of our travel is not necessary and we can limit ourselves as much as possible to purchasing locally produced products. There are products in the supermarkets that are brought in from far and wide, for example cookies from Italy, while those cookies can just as well be made at the bakery around the corner. If the population were wise enough to observe these measures, all windmills could be demolished immediately and there would never be a shortage of gas and oil.  

With these proposals I hope to have shown that the Bible has much to teach us. The problem is that few will be convinced.

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   © Juliaan Van Acker 2021