Seeing Rachel Carson: World Oceans Day
In the not so distant past we as people looked out at the vastness of the land, the heaven reaching open sky and the Earth’s seemingly endless oceans and did not think that we could possibly do much harm to them. We have found that we are mistaken. As World Oceans Day approaches us on June 8, we see that humans have without a doubt been negatively impacting even the enormity of our planet’s oceans via pollution, ocean acidification, overfishing, and sea level rise. For instance, as one goes into the oceans we are greeted now by enormous areas — millions of square miles — of accumulated plastics centered within the Earth’s five major ocean gyres. We used our rivers as open sewers and we gravely polluted them. In similar fashion we are using our oceans and skies as open sewers and garbage dumps for our polluting wastes. We are endangering not only us humans, but harming all the God given species that share our priceless treasure of a planet we call Earth.
Not so long ago, the gifted writer Rachel Carson, sent out the alarm to warn us about the deadly effects of pesticides in her much acclaimed, “Silent Spring.” Her poetic literary writings reminds us of passages from the Bible where people had forgotten their stewardship roles handed down from God and harmed their surroundings. Not so many people are aware that Rachel Carson was a college trained marine biologist out of Johns Hopkins, and had excellently written a very succesfully published book called “The Sea Around Us” more than ten years before “Silent Spring.” Her concern about pesticide use originated from her concern for the oceans and the runoff from land into these vast bodies of water. Back in the 1950’s and early sixties few people could imagine harming the ocean and the skies. So, as we live at the edge of the beautiful Rocky Mountains that millions of years ago had been at the edge of a great inland sea, let us give thanks for our current still beautiful setting and reflect as Rachel Carson did on what we might harm if we live in short sighted outlooks thinking only of our generation and not that of our grandkids and their grandkids’ futures and all those precious God given creatures that share our planet, Earth. World Oceans Day is June 8.
Let us all think of Rachel Carson on this day and feel a little of what she was concerned about. We could read about her on Wikipedia; we could go to the World Oceans Day homepage; and/or we could watch movies on Netflix like a favorite of Fred Walls called “Chasing Coral” and even “Chasing Ice” a super award winning movie by a gifted local photographer James Balog who’s wife works at CU’s Natural History Museum. Let’s all do our part. And remember that just as we did not think we could possibly harm the vastness of the land, ocean and sky, even our small actions are likely to add up and help reverse the damage already done. Let us not give up to the growing darkness surrounding us. God continues calling us to be good stewards.
On Sunday, June 10, 2018 (from 5 – 7 p.m) at Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder a screening of James Balog’s
new movie, The Human Element. Balog follows the four classical elements — air, earth, fire and water — taking us on an inspirational journey to reveal how environmental change is affecting our lives. With compassion, heart and the help of his camera, James Balog explores wildfires, hurricanes, sea level rise, coal mining, and the changes in the air we breathe — urgently seeking a more balanced relationship between humanity and nature.