To many minds the environmental crisis is the foremost issue of our times. They see it as having displaced the race problem, and even the question of war and peace and the threat of nuclear annihilation. For the latter is “merely” a threat, whereas extermination of human life because of environmental deterioration seems certain unless there is a dramatic turnabout in our way of life.

Feeling that the environment should be a prime concern of Christians, CHRISTIANITY TODAYpresents this interview with Dr. Carl Reidel, assistant director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Williams College. Dr. Reidel holds a master’s degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Minnesota. He is a member of the First Baptist Church of Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Question. Dr. Reidel, is the environmental crisis as serious as so many make it out to be?

Answer. Put it this way: Things are much, much worse than most people think.

Q. But how reliable are all the dire predictions? Haven’t so-called experts been wrong before?

A. I can only say that there is an almost unanimous consensus on the gravity of the problem among the scientific community. Most issues are just that, with informed people lined up on both sides. But in ecology there is no significant difference of opinion on the truth that we are headed toward the obliteration of life.

Q. And you are among those who are very concerned, right?

A. Let me give you just two examples. A recent study showed that raw energy consumed in the world now exceeds by 10 per cent the input to the world’s biosphere through photosynthesis—the conversion of sunlight to energy by green plants. We are living on stored energy, namely that in fossil fuels like coal and gas. Or take these ...

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