About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Climate Change Refugees

My first American book which I read from cover to cover was "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck, set on the background of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. It was an economic and environmental catastrophe which caused mass migration and enormous suffering to about half a million small farmers from Oklahoma and bordering regions. 
    If we want to understand future dangers of the Climate Change (on agenda in Paris this week) it must be immediately stated that the Oklahoma drought, as bad as it was, was just a small regional catastrophe. We need to look deeper into history to grasp dimensions of mass migration, agricultural collapse and societal disintegration caused by climatic changes.
    We can, for instance, go to the prehistory of our faith and its oldest stories about ancestors of our Judeo-Christian faith. These stories are legendary by nature, yet they preserve traces of historical reality - the collapse of the Late Bronze Age around the year 1,200 B.C.E. When we hear in the Bible about ancestors forced to migrate by long lasting drought and crop-failures, it might be the last faint memory of these real catastrophic, subcontinent-wide events. In a preserved cuneiform letter written just before the collapse, a small  shipload of Egyptian grain was referred to as “a matter of life and death” for an entire city (tablet RS 20.212).
    Medium size climatic oscillation (Late Bronze Anatolian Drought) led to almost complete social and cultural implosion from Balkans to Mesopotamia all the way down to the borders of Egypt. We know about ancestors of faith migrating, but they were certainly not alone, almost entire populations were uprooted by these events. And those secure in their homes were soon overwhelmed by relentless waves of migrants. Kingdoms and even empires collapsed, bustling cities disappeared from maps. Social and cultural dark ages settled in for decades and even centuries.*)
    It is sometimes unsettling to know a little bit of ancient history. It is even more so, because as I have mentioned, the Late Bronze Collapse was caused only by a medium size climatic change. Dust Bowl was regional, Late Bronze Collapse was subcontinental, Global Climate change is going to be, well, Global, and therefore many times larger and more powerful.
    But our faith and the treasure of the biblical stories paint not only these dark pictures, they also offer positive models of behavior and stories of hope. If you dig deep into the biblical  stories, you can come across springs of hope. And that is what we will do this Sunday; we will dig with Isaac some wells for refreshing hope. We will learn how to be or how to care for climate change refugees.

*) This is of course a gross simplification of complex cultural and historical developments. But the general gist of it is correct. I received my PhD for the study of literature which was written immediately preceding this Late Bronze Age collapse.

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