Monday, November 1, 2010

The Theology of Big-Eared Bats

Each day, USAToday highlights a top news event from each of the 50 states in our union. A couple of weeks ago, this was the “top” news event in the State of Arkansas:

Fayetteville – Invenergy told Washington County residents that it must halt development of wind farms because of the presence of the endangered Ozark big-eared bat. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said changes in air compression from the turning of the wind turbine blades can cause the bats’ organs and lungs to implode. There are about 1,700 living Ozark big-eared bats.

When I first read this several things went through my mind:

  • I laughed. The thought of bats’ internal organs imploding was something that I found humorous and I wondered what sort of tests had been run on the bats to determine that this would, in fact, happen.

  • I got mad. What is the purpose of having a wind farm in the first place? Isn’t it to “save the planet”? Isn’t this a part of the clean energy initiative to keep the planet pure? But here we have an instance where attempts to save the planet are “killing” another part of creation, the Ozark big-eared bat. So what are we to do now? It seems like all things being equal, Man is the one stuck with the short end of the environmental stick. We can’t create “dirty” fuel because it hurts the planet, and we can’t create clean fuel because it hurts the bats.

  • I got sad. There is a theology that drives this way of thinking. It is a theology that says that Man is the great evil of the environment. It is a theology that says that animal life and the environment take priority over the life of Man. And this is wrong. Man is God’s highest, most valued form of His Creation. And the Earth, in fact all of Creation, is God’s gift to Man. God even went as far as to declare that Man is to have “dominion” over all of Creation, this includes the animals (Genesis 1:26).
The Bible does not advocate abuse of Creation and if that is what you are hearing me say, then you are wrong. But it also says that given a choice between Man’s well-being and Creation, Man wins. When Creation has dominion Man, our theology suffers and so does human life.


One Salient Oversight said...

There have been plenty of cases around the world of people getting upset with the impact of wind turbines on birds and other animals that fly.

The reality is that the death rate is quite small. Moreover, the use of fossil fuels results in a far greater threat (in the area of magnitudes) to the environment than do wind turbines.

God called us to be stewards of this world. Our current use of fossil fuels and its negative impact of the world is an example of our sin distorting our stewardship.

Ditching fossil fuels and using alternatives (wind, solar, geothermal, even nuclear) is not going to save mankind or create a utopia, but it will make things better.

Anonymous said...

Do your homework. It's HAS been shown that the steep pressure gradient associated with wind turbines is killing bats worldwide.