I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains, and lo, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. I looked, and lo, there was no one at all, and all the birds of the air had fled. I looked, and lo, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were laid in ruins before the Lord, before his fierce anger. For thus says the Lord: The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end. Because of this the earth shall mourn, and the heavens above grow black; for I have spoken, I have purposed; I have not relented nor will I turn back (Jeremiah 4:23-28).
When I was in graduate school and living in Connecticut, I had to make many trips across the Skyway to get to my parent’s house. I used to dread driving that brief stretch in the last part of Chicago and through Gary. This section of Skyway was the perfect picture of a land laid waste and void. As you enter the Skyway all of the grass, trees, and flowers along the side of the road disappear. The light changes. It doesn’t seem to matter what time of day you pass through, the sky is darker. The air is thicker. The light is dimmed. There is an odor that seeps into your car. All you see is one factory on top of another. Each one releasing glowing smoke. Billows and billows of smoke are pouring into the air. Your heart seems to sink a little. You ask yourself: how could we possibly do this to the earth?
This spring we were challenged by the Illinois conference to speak about Climate Change. That drive on the Skyway always reminds me of the harm that humanity can do in the name of progress. So how many of you have experienced Global Weirding? Remember the winters you used to have when you were a kid where the snow was so high that you could build tunnels and forts in the yard. Remember how cold it used to get. Below zero seemed normal for January. Remember when the snow would stay until April. That was not the winter I experienced this year. Global Weirding. There are tornadoes in January, typhoons, hurricanes, floods, drought, glaciers disappearing and islands drowning. Global Weirding.
Now I know in this country we believe there is a debate about Climate Change. There is no debate about whether Climate Change is real. 99% of scientist believe in Climate Change. Global Weirding is a fact. The question is what are we going to do about it or not do about it. We can disagree over the actions to take and whether we should take actions but when you see Iceland losing its ice and huge chunks of the South Pole falling off, when people talk about how the weather used to be, we know that Global Weirding is real. The question for us as followers of Jesus is how will we respond; what changes will we make? Yes all of my life I have heard how one person cannot make a difference. That hasn’t stopped me from reducing my carbon foot print by not eating meat for 30 years, for unplugging phone chargers and electronics, driving a small car with good gas mileage. I know I can’t change Global Weirding by myself. But I always remind myself of the advise I got from Dr. Seuss.
“But now," says the Once-ler, "now that you're here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”
― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
I long for us to be able to see God's anger at the meaningless destruction, to feel the way God mourns when another species is lost. I long for us this Earth Day to hear the cries of God for creation. May you care for creation as God cares for creation. Check out you carbon foot print at www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator. Plant a tree every year. Call on your members of Congress to support the Paris Accords and to work toward saving this planet for your great grandchildren.
“Catch! calls the Once-ler. He lets something fall. It's a Truffula Seed. It's the last one of all! You're in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds. And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs. Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care. Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air. Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back.” ― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax