YARMOUTH — Learn from our children. They see and tell that a narcissistic American population and leadership have lost sight of the Earth and its natural magnificence. They see and tell that the consequence of this blindness is the suffocation of all life on Earth. They see that we are like frogs relaxing in a pot of warming water, the “good life,” calling for more, unaware of the encroaching boiling point that will kill us.

Our children feel the heat, can imagine the consequences that are their future. On Earth Day last year a young women’s music group from the Portland Friends School came to our church in Yarmouth, like Isaiah singing his prophetic poetry to the Israelites. Their superb voices, the sincerity and pain in their faces, their inquiring lyrics were wonderful and chilling. Their poetry lamented fossil fuel pollution, global warming, species extinction, plastic pollution in warming oceans. Each lament ended with a haunting refrain, “We wouldn’t do this to our children.” I wanted to shout through my tears, “But I’ve tried.” “But there is more to do,” I answered myself.

Focusing on species extinction, young people probably know the numbers. The dust of extinct species is blowing in the wind. The water in our “good life” pot began heating at a snail’s pace during the early days of the Industrial Revolution. That snail is extinct now. According to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, 1 million species are at risk of extinction today, many within decades. It will be sooner if we follow the path taken by the Trump administration.

This administration has announced regulations that gravely weaken the Endangered Species Act. It was enacted in 1973 to prevent extinction, restore imperiled plants and animals and protect the ecosystem on which they depend. Yet, 99 percent of the species protected under the act are still with us today. This administration’s new regulations, advanced by millionaires, advocate commerce over conservation, a mindset that not only swims with the soon-to-be-boiled frogs but also turns up the heat that we embrace at our peril.

Not all of us have been happy in the warming water at these rollbacks of protection – and more of us need not to be. Legislation being considered in the U.S. House and Senate, the Protect America’s Wildlife and Fish in Need of Conservation (PAW and FIN Act), would repeal the recently enacted administrative regulations and restore vital protection for our nation’s most imperiled species.

This is an issue spoken to by spiritual wisdom of the ages. In my Judeo-Christian tradition the ecological implications of the creation story in the first book of Genesis cannot be overlooked. God, the Compassionate Creator of all the heavens as well as the Earth, all creatures as well as humankind, all plants and organisms, creates each successive life form with two words “Be” and “Good.” At “Be” creation happens. At “Good” each and all created is recognize to be of equivalent value.

In our shared creation story God calls humanity specifically to be in charge of the creation, to “have dominion.” This often-misunderstood translation of the Hebrew word does not put us in charge to use and abuse the Earth for purposes of our “good life.” It calls us to Earth’s stewardship, to be the gardeners of Eden. Not only for the life of the garden but for our lives as well. We are graced with life and all life is good and interdependent.

We are all in this together. Learning and heeding that lesson will slow down the heat, turn us and all peoples away from the boiling pot and back toward Eden. Not all at once of course. One step at a time. Large or small, all steps matter. One important step today is to urge Congress to pass the PAW and FIN Act. And keep at it.

Listen to the children. They ask us to join our voices with theirs. Let’s use our voice, our vote, for them and all life on the Earth now.

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