Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saving the Coral Reef--A Social Justice Issue?

Yesterday, I went to Key Largo to Scuba dive in the morning and snorkel in the afternoon. On the dive boat, I heard one of the guys say that the ocean temperature at Molasses Reef registered 91 degrees--the hottest ocean temperature ever recorded at that location.

As I swam through the reef waters the rest of the day, I kept thinking about ocean temperatures and the beautiful sea creatures who swam around me. I thought about the news story I read last week that says that ocean temperatures around the world are at the highest levels ever recorded this summer. That fact does not bode well for our reefs.

One of the guys on the dive boat said that the observers of the reefs around Key Largo could see the coral bleaching on a daily basis, which is quite scary. When coral reefs bleach, they die, and that process has usually taken much longer than a day. The Science Faculty member with whom I was diving said that 90% of the coral reef around Florida has already died.

As I was swimming and feeling sad about all of these things, I decided to pray. It's wonderful to pray while swimming in a marine sanctuary; I've never done that before. I don't have faith in my fellow humans to reverse global warming. I think it's too late for the coral reef and probably for humans, although I think our species will die out after the coral reef is gone.

But what kind of statement is that about my faith in God? Do I believe that the God that made all of these environments that I love cannot save them?

I also thought about our approach to social justice. Most of the social movements in which I've been most active have been trying to save other humans: those living in South Africa, those living in Central America, the homeless, the hungry, children. Maybe it's time to think about marine animals, most of whom are equally helpless, most of whom are in immediate peril.

1 comment:

Dale said...

Yes, most people still have no idea of the scale of the disaster we've already brought upon ourselves. It will become obvious eventually: but by then much, much will have been lost.