One site reported that 8 Million tons of plastic waste enters the sea every year, the equivalent to a large truckload of plastic dumped into the ocean every minute. Approximately 1 million sea birds die from plastic each year, over 2700 every day. By 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
Every day we are contributing to this growing plastic crisis.
But the effects of plastic pollution are not just to be seen in some far away part of the planet. Just walking down the river that runs through Dromore, there are disturbing levels of plastic wast littered along the banks of the river. In addition, the river, once a source of joy for children to swim in, has become a no-go-area due to high levels of toxicity and pollution.
How much longer will humanity continue on like this with little regard for what kind of earth our children and grand-children are going to inherit? What other damage and what other consequences are our children and grand-children going to inherit. What other natural blessings that we simply take for granted are potentially going to be ruined and spoiled in the next 10-20 years?
Unfortunately for too long the Church has been very silent about ecological matters. It is still only a minority of Christians who even regard environmental issues as worth talking about. How is it that we can speak of God as creator, and yet have almost no care and concern for what God has made?
How very sad, that many of those who care the most about the earth and creation are those who live outside of the Church. It is non-Christians who are generally taking these issues more seriously than Christians, and yet the Bible, our central text is full of references to the goodness of creation and the goodness of the earth.
In that beautiful creation poem of Genesis 1 we hear how each day of creation, God looks back on what God has made and says: "It is Good". But creation, didn't just happen in the past. It continues today and every day. Each and every day creation is renewed. New flowers grow forth from the ground. New animals insects and birds are born into the world. Creation is an ongoing act. The opening poem of genesis suggests that if we listen carefully at the end of each day, if we allow ourselves to stop and pause in awe and wonder each and every day, we will hear again those words of God being silently spoken over creation: “It is good” “It is very good”.
The Bible is filled with verses that celebrate the goodness of the earth:
Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord's and all who are in it.
Psalm 96:11-12 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Psalm 104:24 O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
In the New Testament, we see in Jesus a deep deep appreciation of the beauty of the earth. Jesus seems to have been in touch with the whisper of God blessing creation at the end of every day. Many of his teachings and parables draw on imagery from the natural world.
Matt 5:28-29 “See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”
With Scripture passages like these (and there are many many others), it is time that we as Christians took up the challenge to be at the forefront of caring for creation, in decisions we make at home, in decisions we make when we go out to the shops, in decisions we help to make in our places of work.
A lot of the time, people live their lives in hopelessness about the possibility that things will ever change. But what is called Tipping Point Theory should give us reason for hope. Scientists have found that It only takes the committed opinions and actions of 10 percent of the population to bring about a change in the other 90 percent of the population.
Jesus spoke of a mustard seed being able to grow into a large sprawling bush that spreads, creating shelter for birds and animals. It is the image of something small bringing a great change.
Are we willing, as stewards of God's beautiful creation, to become part of that committed 10 percent to bring about a change in the way humanity relates to the earth?