They say that all divers become amateur conservationists. Well not all. But most do. In the dive trips I've been on, one of the most fun things to do post dive is to look up the fishes and marine creatures you've spotted. For that one hour or so, you're allowed entry into another world and it's addictive. You want to keep going back. But you also banish - forever - that distance that exists between your heart and the wild spaces of the earth. It's so easy for us to pretend that disasters don't exist or that they're somehow too far away to touch us. But once you've been diving, you learn that there are complex communities that exist beneath the surface of the blue waters and that are vulnerable to our carelessness and greed.
I've been reading the reports on the Deepwater oil spill off the gulf of Mexico with growing horror. Then today, I saw this series of photographs of sea birds, pelicans mired in the oil, flailing about helplessly, trying and failing to fly and I almost cried.
I thought of my boat ride out to sea last week when I stood at the prow of the boat, watching a pair of graceful sea terns fly in unison, dipping into the sea for fish, skimming the breezes - the living epitome of joy. I thought - what if this spill were in my own backyard? Off the coast of the South China Sea? What if I was told that my children would never be able to see the coral reefs of South East Asia vibrant with life and teeming with fish? What if the same pair of sea terns showed up tomorrow, covered in disgusting brown slick and unable to fly?
I sound like a bleeding heart environmentalist and heck, I know I am. But enough is enough. Concern over this world we live is not the sole province of a few left wing environmentalists - after all, last I checked, we all breathe the same air and eat fish from the same oceans.
The truth is also that for a long time, I've felt that Christians have failed to take environmental concerns seriously and I'm glad - SO glad - to see Russell Moore grapple fiercely with this issue and call for evangelicals to take environmental protection seriously. Read his blogpost on it here.
Protecting the environment is as much a moral issue as it is a practical one. Above all, God has called for us to be good stewards of our resources and has told us, over and over again, that the love of money is the root of all evil. Those who fail to see that environmental destruction is a result of human sin and folly, hold too low a view of the depravity of the human heart.
Here's a decent write up by the NYT on the effect of the spill and the Boston Globe has more pictures here.