Fire And Water – In Disastrous Proportions
The earth is a big place. So big, in fact, that it is sometimes easy to lose track of what is happening in the more remote corners. Some events in large media markets (like the US) are exceptionally well covered like, say, the very cold winter that the United States had. Some events in remote areas like, say the profoundly warm and dry winter that most of Siberia experienced, are hardly covered at all. And this is a pity, because the two events were two sides of the same coin. The polar vortex did not so much spread polar air is it did shift it into north America. Warm air came in behind this shifting of air, making winter in Alaska and Siberia a profound heat wave. In Siberia, this had the effect of drying out the brush and drying out the peat and carbon-rich permafrost layer. This warm and dry condition has persisted with predictable results – massive wildfires in Siberia in a period when it would normally be covered in snow. There are, according to Russian officials, currently over 100 large and active wildfires that have consumed over 50,000 acres thus far. Total active fires may exceed 1000.
It may not seem important that brush and short trees and peat are burning in a remote and frozen area of Russia. But it is, partly because it is so unusual but mostly because it is a sign of changes to the earth’s systems – changes that are increasingly impacting populated areas and adding profound stress to our global complex society, which is already fragile. What we are seeing is an increasing dysfunctionalism – an increasing hostility if you will – in the systems that God created to support life on earth. What this accelerating decline of systems results in is things like we are seeing now, which include shifts and slowing in the jet stream, highly unusual heat waves and droughts, increased evapotranspiration, changes in rainfall and snowfall patterns, and, well, generally extreme weather. Siberia is not the only part of the world to see a spike in forest fires – California’s fire season is now virtually year-round and other drought areas (Australia, Malaysia, etc.) are seeing dramatic increases in wildfires.
All of these areas need water. But just as some places in the world are getting too much heat or cold, some are getting too much water. What we are seeing is an increase in the amount of water in the atmosphere, a thickening if you will, which, to put it simply, is a result of warming and increased evaporation. Sometimes this increased atmospheric moisture is directed by upper winds and storm systems to a particular place, where it is wrung out in disastrous amounts. Such a rain event happened late last week in Afghanistan. An epic deluge destroyed over 2000 homes, displaced some 10,000 families, and killed over 100 people. The type of massive atmospheric water flows (“rivers” of moisture originating in the tropics) that caused this event are increasing. Bottom line: The amazing natural systems of the earth are in accelerating decline.
As I talk about in my book, earth is becoming more hostile and it is all as a result of the accumulated effects of sin. The dysfunctions and instabilities we are seeing in the earth’s natural system (and their effect on human society) line up perfectly with what Christ said we would see just before He returns (See Matthew 24:6-8). We can expect to see more of both fire and water in the future, in disastrous proportions, and in the wrong places.
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