How Long, O Lord?
Recently my prayers have included way too many laments. “How long, O Lord?” Or as we phrase it for our visiting Blue Theology pilgrims, “This sucks!” (Other prayers – Thanks, Help, I’m Sorry and Wow!)
Latest lament – the government’s plan to drill fatal holes in the Endangered Species Act. That’s the metaphor Rabbi Daniel Swartz of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life uses:
“The Endangered Species Act acts like a modern-day Noah’s Ark, protecting the last remaining animals and plants and the places that they live from total annihilation. The Trump administration announced its intention on Monday to drill holes into the ark, threatening to sink the only thing keeping the planet’s most vulnerable wildlife from disappearing forever.”
The stated purpose of the Endangered Species Act is to protect species and also "the ecosystems upon which they depend." California historian Kevin Starr was more emphatic when he said: "The Endangered Species Act is the Magna Carta of the environmental movement.”
The administration announced this week many serious changes to the original Act, which was passed in 1973 (Nixon administration) 355-4. One that really makes me lament:
“The changes also inject economic consideration into what should be purely scientific decisions about protecting wildlife. If an oil company claims it will lose millions of dollars if it can’t drill in an imperiled species’ habitat, that consideration will now be given greater weight than the ultimate existence of that species.” (Rabbi Swartz)
Some good resources for religious responses to this latest attack on God’s creation:
http://www.creationjustice.org/endangered.html (includes a good bulletin insert for Endangered Species Day May 17. Every day should be Endangered Species Day.)
http://www.eco-justice.org/E-190816.asp My friend and UCC colleague Pete Sawtell’s fabulous Eco-justice Ministry, with free weekly thoughtful theological reflections, this one on The Endangered Species Act. His three theological reasons for protecting and saving endangered species:
“Briefly, there's the religious principle of "the integrity of creation," there's the ecological reality of God's inherently relational creation, and there's the old traditions of Judeo-Christian ethics which state our obligation to care for "the least of these" -- which includes livestock and wildlife.”
Pope Francis wrote (Laudato Si, 33), “Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.”
Here at the Blue Theology Mission Station we lift up especially sea critters. Ecologist Carl Safina writes, “Marine animals teetering above extinction on the critically endangered list are coelacanths, southern bluefin tuna, hawksbills and leatherback sea turtles. Marine endangered animals include: loggerheads, green and olive ridley sea turtles, various species of sawfishes and blue whales. Dugongs, humphead wrasses, whale sharks, humpback whales, grey nurse sharks, and great white sharks are examples of marine animals that will likely go extinct if little changes.”.
Wondering what to do? There’s no public comment period (more lament, how long until we return to following the rules?) But you can write your congressperson in opposition and ask for them under the Congressional Review Act to disapprove a final rule issued by a federal agency. But it must be done in 60 days! https://environmental-action.webaction.org/ has a direct link.
After the flood God made a covenant with all of creation, not just humanity. How long, O Lord, until we honor that covenant?
Bluetheology.com for info on our youth service trips and adult pilgrimages on ocean stewardship and spirituality along Monterey Bay. We’ve seen turtles, whales, sharks – not yet a coelacanth! I post these Blue Theology Tide-ings most Wednesdays here and at on Facebook. Come and sea!