Monday, June 9, 2014

Can We Save Planet Earth?

I posted a poem called, "An Ambulance Down in the Valley" for you to read and reflect upon.  It is a poem about a place where people kept falling off a cliff and the local townspeople had to decide how to deal with the even increasing number of people who fell off the cliff and were injured or killed.  They decided to fund an ambulance that would come to the bottom of the cliff to retrieve those who had fallen off rather than building a fence at the top of the cliff to prevent people from falling in the first place.  It is a poem about misplaced priorities.  I quoted it because it reflects how I am feeling about our current crisis that is happening to our planet.  It is not easy to see on a daily basis what is happening because the first signs are happening in places that are not in our view unless we live near the coastlines where the ocean is beginning to rise (such as in Miami--see the Houston Chronicle from Sunday, June 8 for a story about this) or in New Hampshire where the once abundant moose are disappearing because of an infestation of ticks caused by warmer than usual winters or in Montana where the cutthroat trout are vanishing.

Even if you do not eat trout or care about moose or live near the ocean, you should care about what is happening to our planet because day by day the very air we breathe is being reduced bit by bit because of an excess of carbon dioxide in the air.  That carbon happens because of the burning of fossil fuels by all of us who drive cars, fly on airplanes, and heat or cool our homes and businesses with electricity or coal.  Scientists have been warning us about this crisis for years but some choose not to believe them (call them scientific atheists, if you will) and say that this is just a cycle that the earth goes through now and then and it will all reverse itself someday.  I don't know about how you feel about all this but when various species of animals begin to disappear and summers are unbearably hot and winters are extremely cold and hurricanes are more frequent, I think the earth is trying to tell us something.  And the something that I think it is saying is "Pay Attention!"

I love our modern way of life.  I drive a car wherever I want to go.  I fly across the country or in other places in the world every chance I get.  I cool my house with air conditioning and enjoy being cool.  I do not blame anyone for wanting to enjoy the modern conveniences of life.  I think, though, that I am going to have to restrict my driving more and use less gasoline.  I think I am going to have to fly less often.  I think that I am going to have to push up the thermostat a little and use the fans more.  I think that I am going to have to think more about conservation and recycling and saving energy wherever and whenever I can.

Because If I dont care to save the earth for my sake, can I truly call myself a Christian if I dont want to save it for the sake of others such as all those in Third World countries who do not live as I do but who will suffer just as I do with the continuing effects of climate change and global warming on the planet.  I should also be concerned for the unborn generations who will suffer or die because the planet will not be hospitable enough to sustain life.  Those with grandchildren at this moment should think about the kind of life they would want their grandchildren and great-grandchildren to have.  Will it be equal in quality to what we have now or will it be lacking in the basic necessities that sustain life?

I love birds and fish and all animals that call earth their home.  Each time one of them dies a part of me mourns for them.  I love the Rocky Mountains and oceans that surround our country.  Each time a glacier melts or an ocean's temperature rises, a part of me mourns for it.  I love eating shrimp and oysters and lobster and crab.  When I think that those creatures may disappear because of the damage being done to the oceans, I mourn the loss of that part of the joy of life.

It is not too late to reverse the damage being done to our planet by humans.  We just have to care.  We have to act on behalf of all who live with us on this earth.  Who is my neighbor that I am to love?  It is everyone both present and in the future.  It is all creatures that live here with humans.  Can we truly fulfill the Great Commandment to love God and neighbor as we love ourselves if we do not care what happens to the place that we call home?  Love the earth and treat it with respect.  Live carefully and introspectively as we consider how to make our home the best place it can be for us and for generations to come.

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