From: Daniel C. Botz

Winona

In the Book of Exodus, God curses the land of Egypt with 10 deadly plagues. The pharaoh refused to listen to the demands of Moses, leading to greater afflictions being unleashed.

Given the Earth’s current state due to humanity’s discharge of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, I cannot help but draw parallels to this Biblical tale. Here are a few things to consider:

First came turning the Nile into blood. Fish died and the Egyptian’s found drinking difficult. Our water may not be blood, but carbon concentration has made the seas more acidic. The oceans cannot support the ecosystem they once had because of this.

The earlier plagues involved the infestation of frogs, gnats, and other pests. As studies have found, mosquitoes do well in more carbon-prevalent atmospheres. The same goes for poison ivy in our forest and Portuguese Man-O-Wars to our shorelines (and I do not mean the ships). 

In Exodus, the plagues of wild animals precede the pestilence and boils. Today, deforestation has bought animals with little human contact before out in the open, carrying pathogens with them. Several modern viruses originated from wildlife in densely populated area. This might include the current coronavirus.

The seventh plague was “the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt.” There has been no storage of extreme weather to draw comparisons.

Locust was the eighth plague. Whereas the earlier infestations were nuisances, the locust consumed most Egyptian crops. While locust numbers after climate change has yet to be seen, the droughts that have devastated western America and other countries have been even worse for the food supply.

This isn’t a perfect metaphor. God spared the Jews from the worst afflictions, while the blunt of the climate crisis will be felt among the least of its contributors first. Then again, the pharaoh heart’s was hardened against the suffering of his subjects until God struck down what was personal to him. Regardless, these comparisons can be expressed just as clearly in secular terms: Humans, through greed, laziness, and marked apathy towards nature, have damaged our planets soil, oceans, and atmosphere. The increasingly extreme conditions we are dealing with are the consequences of our collective actions.

The voices calling for change must be heard to prevent destruction similar to what biblical Egypt experienced. We already have the tools to change our Earth for the better; no Moses is required to guide us through. All we need to do is not harden our hearts, acknowledge that living at the expense of the planet isn’t the way forward, and follow the light to a new era.