Thursday, July 19, 2012

Social Justice and Care for Creation

I tend to think of social justice in terms of humans.  But I try to remind myself that social justice should make me concerned about the land and the environment too.

For the past week, my reading has plunged me back into the world of nuclear nightmares.  I spent one week-end reading Kristen Iversen's Full Body Burden, a book which combines memoir with a history of Rocky Flats, a plant which made plutonium triggers and was a huge polluter.  Four days later, I read Kathleen Flenniken's Plume, a book of poems rooted in the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, another huge polluter.

For the past decade or so, I've been more fretful about global warming and sea level rise than nuclear apocalypse. And I read those 2 books in the same week, and I think about the nuclear nightmares that haunted my youth, and I'm forcefully reminded that they still exist. I think about the body's tissues and how easy it is to damage them. Some weeks, life seems so fragile.

I spent my youth with one eye trained to the distance, looking for that telltale mushroom cloud.  I didn't think about plutonium particles leaching into the soil.  I didn't think about nuclear pollution in sediments in lakes and river beds.  I didn't think about water tables being polluted.

Nuclear scientists and historians will tell us that I was right to be thinking in terms of nuclear explosions.  But I also should have been worried about pollution from the plants making those bombs.  In the long run, that pollution will probably prove more dangerous.

And since I'm writing on my theology blog, my thoughts turn to the Creator.  I feel sadness for this soiled creation.  I feel sadness for the ways we've used our creative energy to build such destructive forces.  I wonder if we're in the midst of a great die-off and if so, what will bloom from that soil?

We've had mass extinctions before (for more on that, go to this NPR blog piece).  Obviously, it's a disaster for the living organisms who experience it, but amazingly, life regroups and rebuilds. 

Why should that surprise me?  It's one of the central messages of Christianity, after all:  from death can come life/resurrection, and death will not have the last word.

2 comments: said...

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Kristin said...

Thanks for your kind words!