Tuesday 19th October, 7:30pm - TALK

Hosted by Science and Faith in Norfolk

Human activity is having profound effects on the world’s oceans with long-term consequences for climate change

Two thirds of the surface of our blue planet is covered by water. Human activity is having profound effects on the world’s oceans with long-term consequences for climate change.

At an open meeting on 19th October, Professor Meric Srokosz, from the National Oceanography Centre, will give a talk about the oceans, climate change and Christianity.

Oceans are the reservoir that absorbs over 90% of the heat accumulated through global warming. The current state of the oceans reflects the impact of human activity over recent history. It also provides insights into the effects of climate change over the next century when the average global temperature may rise by 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius.

Because of the rising temperatures of ocean waters, weather patterns around the world will be affected. There will be more intense hurricanes and other forms of “extreme” weather. Also, as a result of the changing patterns of ocean currents around the globe, some regions will become several degrees warmer, while other areas might be cooler than at present.

As a result of ice-caps melting in polar regions, and the seawater expanding as it warms, the sea level is rising. This will affect many millions of people in low-lying countries like Bangladesh and in many of the world’s major cities that are situated on the coast. Putting all these climate predictions together, it is obvious that global warming will have profound implications for social stability and food security around the world. It is an emergency! What should be the Christian response?

In addition to his expertise in oceanography, Professor Srokosz also has a degree in theology. From a biblical perspective, Meric will ask the question - what is the relationship between the ocean of our blue planet and its care by humankind? He will consider the historical narrative about a balanced relationship between mankind and the natural world in the light of the current scientific predictions about the major changes that humans are causing to the Earth.

These themes are based on the speaker’s recent book, written with Dr Rebecca Watson, “Blue Planet, Blue God: the Bible and the Sea”. He uses the image of a “blue” God to reflect on both God’s creation of the ocean and God’s sadness at the way that we have damaged the Earth in recent decades. The talk will focus on possible Christian responses to the many issues that will be raised by climate change in the years to come.

Meric Srokosz works at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. His research includes the study of the Agulhas and Madagascar current systems, observing the oceans from space using satellite data. He is also the coordinator of a joint UK-US programme, which examines the potential slowdown in the circulation of the North Atlantic current due to climate change. From 2012-2015 he was Associate Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, Cambridge.