We took an Earth Day trip to Okefenokee Swamp about an hour north of where we live. Our four Florida grandkids went with us. We took the guided boat ride into the swamp and saw gators, all kinds of turtles, and many birds like egrets, and great white wood storks perched high up in the trees. We came upon a pygmy rattlesnake on the trail. Once business interests tried to drain the swamp and make money on it's peat and timber. Fortunately, that business interest failed and the swamp was later preserved as a national wildlife refuge. It's a wonderful place full of birdsong, and abundant water lilies and it's a thrill to see a gator's head swimming alongside the boat and wonder how big he is.
Psalm 24 says the earth is the Lord's. It is not ours to do with as we please. Genesis says we are stewards of God's good creation and truth is humankind has not done well with this task. Books like Planted by Leah Kostamo remind us our creation care responsibilities and books like Bill McKibben's Eaarth warn us about what happens when we fail. Global warming, deep earth drilling on land and in the ocean, fracking (such a new environmental disaster my word processor keeps changing it to tracking!), cause the earth to groan under the burdens we humans keep piling heaping upon it. Animal species are nearing extinction at an alarming rate. It may be too late to reverse the trend, at least, it seems so given the disregard shown to this place we live.
I thought about this as I spent the day at Okefenokee. I had just finished Kostamo's book whose ministry of creation care is hopeful. I was grateful for the wisdom of our national leaders to protect precious places like this swamp and I pray for the wisdom to face the current ecological crises. And my commitment to care for the small plot of creation in which I live was renewed.