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Rebirth of the SacredScience, Religion, and the New Environmental Ethos$
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Robert Nadeau

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199942367

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199942367.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Rebirth of the Sacred

Robert L. Nadeau

Oxford University Press

In the house that seems embarrassingly large and mostly empty now that our children are grown and have children of their own, there is a screened-in porch adjacent to the family room on the second floor. When my wife and I sit on this porch during the summer, after the leaves on the old growth trees in our back yard open and many varieties of birds magically appear, it seems, for a moment at least, that all is right with the world. Laurel oaks and Virginia pines tower over a landscape covered in a canopy of intense green leaves, and members of two families of gray squirrels perform acrobatic feats in the maze of limbs and branches. American goldfinch with bright yellow bodies and black wings, northern cardinals with red bodies and orange bills, and pileated woodpeckers with large red crests and moustaches are frequent visitors. After evening comes and the sky begins to grow dark, the magical mystery tour continues as deer and the occasional lone fox or coyote pass through the thick foliage in the woods behind the house. But when we sat on this porch during the summer of 2010, it was not possible to feel even for a moment that all was right with the world. The outside temperature was oppressively hot for most of the day, and there were record-breaking heat waves across the United States, Europe, and Asia. The temperature in South Central Pakistan in May was the highest ever recorded in Asia, 128 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average temperature in Moscow in July was an unprecedented 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In August, scientists at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that research based on enhanced climate models indicated that global warming was responsible for these much higher than average temperatures. The scientists at WMO also concluded that higher temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and atmospheric anomalies caused by a La Nina created conditions that resulted in the severe draught in Russia, the flooding and mudslides in western China, and the floods that inundated about one-fifth of the landmass in Pakistan.

Keywords:   Greenland Ice Sheet, McGill University, Tibetan Plateau, energy tax, global thermohaline conveyor, human identity, international treaties

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