I am anxious.
I am frightened by visions of nuclear disaster.
I have not forgotten the 205.8 million gallons of crude oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico last year.
I am concerned about water levels rising and swallowing the islands off our shores.
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I am sad. In my sadness, I begin to wonder: What do we look like?
Not to each other. Not to strangers.
For the purposes of mental discussion, let us imagine a God who knows and loves creation, who is part of creation, whose essence permeates all things.
Then let us consider humanity, hacking away at the very Earth.
We have our reasons, of course. We need more oil. We need more power. We need more and more and more.
We are addicted to our earthly pleasures. But the earth is paying for our addictions.
The National Wildlife Federation estimates we are losing 100 plant and animal species each day to deforestation. Scientists point out that the world is facing the worst extinction rate since the dinosaurs disappeared some 65million years ago.
When I was a teenager, I began asking questions that seemed simplistic to the adults around me. I was anxious then about DDT and environmental degradation.
More than three decades later, my reasons for anxiety and concern have multiplied.
I have a child in this world. I hope someday to have grandchildren.
What world are we leaving for the next generation?
When I was a young girl, I got many complicated realpolitik answers to my worried questions. I was told I was naïve. I didn't understand.
Thirty years later, I am still naïve. I still do not understand.
I don't understand why we can't figure out what seems so obvious. The world belongs to all who live upon it. If we can't take care of the precious globe we live upon, how can we possibly consider ourselves higher than the animals whose habitats we are destroying?
What if the billions of dollars spent over the last three decades on killing machines had been spent on exploring alternative sources of energy, on creating sustainable economies, on caring for the world as if it were a creation that belonged, in fact, to all of its inhabitants and not just the wealthiest ones?
Why is it so much easier for us to destroy than to protect?
Does God know that humanity not only is busily engaged in the destruction of all creation, but will not be stopped? Are we just like the patient dying of emphysema who cannot help reaching for one more cigarette?
I want to hope we can rethink what we are doing to this Earth. I want to hope that we can recognize our obligation to care. I want to believe that there is no Japanese child at risk on the other side of the world; no pregnant woman whose unborn child is affected.
I want us to take a collective breath and think through who we are.
Or at least, what we look like.