This past weekend I listened to an episode of the EcoCiv podcast, which is produced by the Institute for Ecological Civilization. This episode featured Dr. Eileen Crist, who talked about her new book Abundant Earth. She made the statement early on that stopping species loss is one of the most important elements to solving or mitigating the climate crisis. We need to curb (eliminate) fossil fuels, but animal biodiversity and extinction prevention must also be given high priority. Many of the things that need to happen quickly to deal with the climate emergency (fossil fuels, letting go of meat consumption, ending capitalism, moving to renewables) are long-term projects. But extinction, she reminds us in this podcast, is forever. We can’t go back and try to fix it once a species of an animal or a plant is gone. Gone is gone.
We are living in a time where the highest rates of extinction are occurring since the time of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. We are losing wild animals and plants at rates we can barely process in our minds and heart. Simultaneously, we currently use at least 40% of non-ice covered land in the world for livestock food production. All non-ice covered land on planet Earth is a literal killing field of one type or another of plants and animals.
What are we doing to the good Creation that God gifted us with? What sort of “worship” is this? The losses of animals and plants, whose intricate ways we are just beginning to understand, is a grief that is simply unbearable when I imagine it.
Heartbreakingly, the Trump administration is only interested in furthering the death spiral of the capitalisic enterprise this country was founded on. This administration seems to want everything to die or be permanently harmed in the pursuit of profit and wealth, whether it is the Earth, beautiful and diverse creatures, immigrants and their children, people of color, sacred indigenous sites, or those who are poor.
Capitalism, white supremacy, kills. And as people of faith we must rebuke all that goes against life abundant. Everything belongs to God and was created by God. Everything therefore is sacred and deserving of love, attention, devotion and protection. I don’t want to be part of a church that is silent or worse yet, milquetoast, in the face of these compounding evils. I want a church that is clear in its voice and resolute in its protective and loving defense of Creation.