It’s the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day. On such a day, I have been reflecting on the opening line of Psalm 24: “The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”
One good thing that has come out of the Covid 19 pandemic is that the air is clearer in the major cities around the world. Whether or not this can make a lasting difference to ward off climate change will depend on how we go back to living when all this is over. In many ways, burning less fossil fuels is a good thing.
Moses might have been able to throw a piece of wood in the polluted water to make it fit to drink, but we’re not going to be able to do such a simple act to bring about a miracle when it comes to climate change. Every small thing we can do can make a little difference and can raise awareness of what needs to be done to make this a better world for all.
In honor of this fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, the United Church of Christ is carrying out a tree planting campaign. Many of us have come to love particular trees in our journey through life and the places we have lived. I can recall certain trees that seemed special to me. Some them were old and majestic.
Some of them I planted as seedlings. Right now in my backyard there is a special large oak and a little persimmon tree I’ve planted in front of it. I’ve had to put some effort into the young tree to nourish the roots, prune it for strength, and protect it from rabbits and deer.
Whether it is the people in our communities or the natural world around us, the truth is, none of us will survive today without acknowledging the wider community of which we are a part. Jesus calls us to abide in in him and his love. We won’t work to save what we haven’t learned to love.
When it comes to God’s creation, another special love of mine is bird watching. On these days of confinement, I find myself looking out the back windows of my house to see what birds I can observe. Along these lines, The Ten Commandments of Subirdia is something to consider on such a day and in such times.
In his book Welcome To Subirdia, John Marzluff offers a guide to living in proximity to birds and other wildlife. John Marzluff is Professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington, in Seattle. And here are his Ten Commandments for happy coexistence with nature, and birds in particular:
The first is, Do not covet your neighbor’s lawn. The lawn is really an ecological disaster of the highest magnitude.
The second one is to Keep your cat indoors.
Thirdly, Make your windows visible to birds.
Fourthly, Don’t light up the night sky.
Fifth, Provide food, water, and nestboxes – other provisions that birds need.
Six, Do not kill native predators.
Seven, Foster a diversity of habitats within the cities where we live.
Eighth, Make the roads safer for animals and crossings of hazardous places in general safer.
And Nine, Work with planning authorities to try to ensure that we have functional connections – those that are useful to animals between aquatic and terrestrial places in our cities.
And finally Number Ten is to Enjoy and bond with nature wherever you live. And that’s very important because engaging with nature allows people to appreciate nature, build respect for it, care, wonder and even love for nature.
A song of praise on this day:
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein;
for he has founded it upon the seas,
and established it upon the rivers.
Blessings on your day,