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Loss of biodiversity is seriously frightening — and counter to God's will

It is a wake-up call! I recently read an article in The Baltimore Sun by Seth Borenstein from the Associated Press, “One million species face extinction” (May 6). His information comes from the first United Nations comprehensive report on biodiversity. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services released its report in Paris on May 4. Sir Robert Watson, the chairman, commented: “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

Mr. Borenstein goes on to list the five ways people are reducing biodiversity: Changes in land and sea use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species. Here are several key quotes used by Mr. Borenstein in his article:“Humanity unwittingly is attempting to throttle the living planet and humanities own future.” Thomas Lovejoy, a biologist known as the “Godfather of biodiversity” at George Mason University, continues: “The biological diversity of this planet has been really hammered and this is really our last chance to address all of that.”

Mr. Borenstein also quotes Rebecca Shaw, the chief scientist of the World Wildlife Fund: “This is the strongest call we’ve seen for reversing the trends on the loss of nature.”

As a member and representative of the Delaware-Maryland Synod of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) Creation Care committee, we would offer this commentary: We are engaged in the protection and advancement of God’s good creation. We advocate for life and for the protections of the biodiversity God provides to help us sustain all life. We are all called to be stewards of His creation in Genesis 2:15! My perspective on this is that the more we engage in the exploitation of organisms for personal gain, the less of His promised abundance we can receive. As the reality of climate change further impacts biodiversity and this loss of diversity further exacerbates climate disruptions we face, faith groups will be also compelled into God’s call to “Love your neighbor.” This means expanding church missions to care for and minister to increasing populations that experience loss of health, property, food and water resources, and their livelihood.

All people, whether secular or faith focused, can be assured to face many additional challenges as a result of climate disruptions. Even though baby boomers may be less impacted, large numbers of millennials, members of Generation X, Y and Z may face life and death choices in their future. Currently, the ELCA advocacy center is urging all constituents to urge their representatives in the U.S. House and Senate to support the 2019 “Global Fragility Act.” Great economic, political, social and environmental crisis can cause violent conflicts. The goal of the act is to address the root causes of these increasing conflicts rather than simply meeting immediate needs. Our immediate challenge is to help our politicians and their constituents to facilitate a decision and policy implementation process that plans beyond the current election cycle. The question is: Are we really able to envision and enact policy that can benefit humanity into the future?

It seems that decisions are all being made on the short term self-interest of what is beneficial to business instead of long-term health and welfare of people. I have recently been thinking we need to reconsider marshalling many resources to revisit the moon. We and future generations would be better served making a “moonshot effort” to reverse our de-creation of God’s creation gifts to us and use the resources we have received to become the good stewards God wishes us to be. Amen?

Lawrence Ryan, Berlin

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