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BY SARA HOLLIDAY

May 6, 2019


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Deforestation in Indonesia

"Human society is in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earth’s natural life-support systems, the world’s leading scientists have warned, as they announced the results of the most thorough planetary health check ever undertaken," says the Guardian.

"David Obura, one of the main authors on the report and a global authority on corals, said: 'We tried to document how far in trouble we are to focus people’s minds, but also to say it is not too late if we put a huge amount into transformational behavioural change. This is fundamental to humanity. We are not just talking about nice species out there; this is our life-support system.'"

Also, "While Congress Does Nothing, New York City Passed Its Own Climate Legislation" - via Salon. (Here's a related story in the New York Times.)

Thus says the Lord:

What wrong did your ancestors find in me
    that they went far from me,
and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?
...
I brought you into a plentiful land
    to eat its fruits and its good things.
But when you entered you defiled my land,
    and made my heritage an abomination.
...
Therefore once more I accuse you,
says the Lord,
    and I accuse your children’s children.
...my people have changed their glory
    for something that does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
    be shocked, be utterly desolate,
says the Lord. - Jeremiah 2:4-12 (selected verses)

It's a question of scale and a question of suicide.

For years national and international politics have, at best, paid lip service to planet-saving policies, figuring the scale didn't include them - extinctions and monster storms would accuse only their children's children, to cite this terrifying Jeremiah passage. How much more legislative ink has been spilled on banking regulation than on pesticide regulation? - and banking rules are crazy important, but not compared to famine. "My people have changed their glory for something that does not profit." 

While leaders preoccupied themselves with too small a scale, the planet's troubles have metastasized. Now, whether their deep motivations are greed, shame, or shamelessness, those in charge of the United States talk about pulling out of international agreements rather than broadening them. (Rock on, House Reps who kept us in the Paris accord, but even it is still too little, too late.) This is no longer a question of saving a few charismatic megafauna or keeping the affluent happily caffeinated. If bees can't pollinate plants, we starve. All of us. Our national government's current policies require us to be suicidal.

"Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate."

Thank God that the national and international levels are not the only places where things are moving and shaking. Although local efforts can't achieve the scale needed to address the crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, they are where just a few people of goodwill can make a big difference. I'm proud to live in a city committed to slashing its environmental impact. Any move in the right direction resists the suicidal status quo and shifts the things that do not profit back toward glory.
What's your city or region doing to reduce its carbon footprint, create green spaces, or preserve biodiversity? Learn more from a local news source, and present your encouragement or demands to your local leaders.

If you want something to do right now, follow young planet protectors Greta Thunberg, the Sunrise Movement, and Extinction Rebellion on social media. And you can always plant a tree - they're cheap, effective, beautiful, and created by God.
Glorious God who called all creation good, call us now to the places where we can do the most good for our neighbors, whether human or nonhuman beings. Take into your bosom those people, creatures, and species that are passing into eternity. And remind us daily, with every flower we see or bird we hear, that we are not separate from all you have made, that you yourself brought us into a plentiful land. Amen.
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