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Islam and Environment (10 Dec 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Islam and Global Warming

By Femi Abbas

December 09, 2016

“We have not left anything untouched in the Book (Qur’an). Then unto their Lord shall all be reassembled”   Q. 6:38.  


The Allah’s last revelation to mankind called the Qur’an is the ultimate cornerstone which the ignorant ones continue to subject to undue controversy in the building of their ultimate homes. This Book is like the beaming Sun the existence of which some blind people continue to query. Whether they see it or not, the Sun remains scorching in its effect and magnanimous in its photosynthesis. Yet, the denial of its existence cannot stop the blindness in the blind. The Qur’an is the mother of all encyclopaedias without which the existence of humanity will be a mere anathema.

Reviewing the esoteric connotation of the above quoted verse of the Qur’an with divine guidance any thoughtful and sincere human being will nod his/head in absolute agreement. Nothing is left untouched by Allah in the Glorious Qur’an.

Meteorological Explanation       

From its very inception, Islam has been very explicit on the issue of environment and meteorology. This further confirms the fact that this divine religion is not for a particular time or people. It is a religion of knowledge for all times and all races. The meteorological explanation rendered by Islam is not meant for this column today. It will be brought in full in the very near future Insha’ Allah. But at a recent international conference on global warming an Islamic scholar gave some Qur’anic insight into the causes and effects of global warming thus:

“One of the issues that give the world a concern currently is global warming. Experts around the world have been warning about this for decades and have been urging governments to act faster in slowing down the rate of global warming. They warn that there is a 75% risk that global temperatures will rise a further two to three degrees in the next 50 years. The consequence of this would be dramatic. In fact a rise of just one degree would melt the Greenland ice sheet and drown the Maldives, but a three degree increase would kill the Amazon rainforest, wipe out nearly half of all species facing extinction and wreak havoc with crop yields due to weather changes”.

Whilst the global climate goes through hot and cold cycles, what is worrying about the current phase is the pace of change that could send humanity first into a final spin. Although man has certainly benefited from technological advancements that have given us plastics, air travel and cheap food – what is important is to maintain a balance so that excessive consumerism does not ride roughshod over nature’s harmony.

The Role of Man

In Islam man is given the role of trusteeship over the earth, which is a huge responsibility. In the past, man had to be careful how he treated his local environment since excessive grazing or agriculture could bring ruin to his livelihood. His knowledge was also limited but in the event of a disaster either through ignorance or abuse, he could at least resort to moving elsewhere and start all over again. Now we should have no excuse for ignorance and we should have learnt from our past to avoid misuse. But what is worrying is that the impacts of our behaviour are not just local anymore, they are global.

 If we fail to act in a responsible manner then we cannot simply relocate because there will be nowhere to go. It is therefore vital that as producers, manufacturers and consumers, we ensure that we give due consideration to the impact of our actions. Such a responsibility is not just that of the east or the west but a responsibility for all across nations and continents.

Qur’anic Teaching

Islam teaches us that God has continued and will continue to provide us with ample resources for all time. But through man’s misuse, this balance may change. It is this personal greed of man that makes them squander these resources and deprive others who may need those resources. The Holy Qur’an warns mankind in Chapter 7, verse 32 “O children of Adam! Eat and drink but exceed not the bounds; surely He (Allah) does not love those who exceed the bounds”

The overall message of Islam is that it promotes harmony by advising moderation. It accepts that we need to use resources for our progress but this should be done wisely and in a sustainable manner, so that a satisfactory medium is found. Allah alluded to this in Chapter 25, verse 68 where He made reference to: “those who, when they spend are neither extravagant nor niggardly but moderate between the two”.

Thus, as individuals, we should act on the Qur’anic injunction that promotes balance and prohibits excess even as nations need to be more willing to share knowledge for the sake of the planet rather than for profit and take collective action in line with their collective responsibility. By doing so we shall be able to win the pleasure of God and honour our trusteeship of the earth for the benefit of the present and the future generations”.

Conference of World Scientists

A few years ago, a top scientist conference in Britain raised the stakes for the dangers of global warming, with concerned scientists outlining a timeframe for the massive horrors awaiting the globe unless swift actions were taken at the right time. The findings in that conference were not in any way different from the position of Islam on the subject over 1430 years ago.

The three-day conference held in the south western British city of Exeter focused on scientists’ latest assessment of the global warming problem, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The conference was bluntly told that global warming would boost outbreaks of infectious diseases, worsen shortages of water and food in vulnerable countries and create an army of climate refugees fleeing uninhabitable regions.

Scientists even gave a detailed timetable of the destruction and distress that global warming was likely to cause to the world, according to the British daily ‘The Independent’.

Impacts of Environmental Degradation

The scale of these impacts varies according to the speed and degree with which fossil fuel pollution is tackled as well the growth rate of the world’s population and how well countries can adapt to climate shift.

Whole species of animals from frogs to leopards, living in vulnerable areas and with nowhere else to go, face extinction due to global warming, they said, according to the daily.

“The study pulls together for the first time the projected impacts on ecosystems and wildlife, food production, water resources and economies across the earth, for given rises in global temperature expected during the next hundred years.

“The resultant picture gives the most wide-ranging impression yet of the bewildering array of destructive effects that climate change is expected to exert on different regions, from the mountains of Europe and the rainforests of the Amazon to the coral reefs of the tropics.”

Watchout for Year 2050

According to a study quoted by Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the UN’s top scientific authority on climate change, by 2050 as many as 150 million “environmental refugees” may have fled coastlines vulnerable to rising sea levels, storms or floods, or agricultural land that may become too arid to cultivate, AFP said.

In India alone, there could be 30 million people displaced by persistent flooding, while a sixth of Bangladesh could be permanently lost to sea level rise and land subsidence, according to the study.

The Independent newspaper revealed that the conference was called personally by the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair as part of Britain’s attempts to move the climate change issue up the agenda during the UK presidency of the G8 group of rich nations, and the European Union.

Disturbing Warnings

There were already disturbing warnings from the latest climate research, including the revelation from the British Antarctic Survey that the massive West Antarctic ice sheet might be disintegrating – an event which would raise sea levels around the world by 16ft (4.9 metres) per daily if it really happened.

“Hare’s timetable shows the impacts of climate change multiplying rapidly as average global temperature goes up, towards 1C above levels before the industrial revolution, then to 2C, and then 3C.

“It is when the temperature moves up to 2C above the pre-industrial level, expected in the middle of this century – within the lifetime of many people alive today – that serious effects start to come thick and fast, studies suggest.”

In The Second Half of the Century

According to the paper, when the temperature moves up to the 3C level, expected in the early part of the second half of the century, these effects will become critical. There is likely to be irreversible damage to the Amazon rainforest, leading to its collapse, and the complete destruction of coral reefs is likely to be widespread.

The conference, however, ended up on a positive note, with the forum showing how far the argument for carbon sequestration has come, with a series of experts insisting it could be transformed from fiction to fact. Whole species of animals from frogs to leopards, living in vulnerable areas and with nowhere else to go, face extinction due to global warming, they said, according to the daily.

“The study pulled together for the first time the projected impacts on ecosystems and wildlife, food production, water resources and economies across the earth, for possible rises in global temperature expected during the next hundred years.

Historical Evidence of Global Warming

“The resultant picture gave the most wide-ranging impression yet of the bewildering array of destructive effects that climate change was expected to exert on different regions, from the mountains of Europe and the rainforests of the Amazon to the coral reefs of the tropics.”

The Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era – and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.

The Current Trend

Through advanced researches, scientists have come to realize that the current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1300 years.1

Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. This body of data, collected over many years, reveals the signals of a changing climate.

The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century.2 Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many instruments flown by NASA. There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.

Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and Tropical Mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels. They also show that in the past, large changes in climate have happened very quickly, geologically-speaking: in tens of years, not in millions or even thousands.

The Rise in Global Sea Level

Global sea level, according to scientific research rose by about 17 centimetres (6.7 inches) in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century.

All three major global surface temperature reconstructions show that Earth has warmed since 1880. Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 15 of the 16 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. The year 2015 was the first time the global average temperatures were 1 degree Celsius or more above the 1880-1899 average. Even though the 2000s witnessed a solar output decline resulting in an unusually deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, surface temperatures continue to increase.

The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969.

Shrinking Ice Sheets

The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment have shown that the Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometres (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometres (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005.

Both the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades. Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world – including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa. If by year 2050 nothing significant is done to save this situation what will become of human existence? That is a food for thought.

Source: thenationonlineng.net/islam-global-warming/

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-environment/femi-abbas/islam-and-global-warming/d/109338


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