Recently I travelled 1200 miles to the beach in Rhode Island where I spent my summers growing up in the 50s and 60s. It was a nostalgic and refreshing visit to the sand-and-salt-water world of my youth. My distant connection with that place felt vividly real again.
The simple cottage my father built for our family still occupies its hundred-foot frontage on the Atlantic Ocean. The dunes are deep and strong, protecting the house from storms. Lush and colorful rugosa roses and beach grass, lovingly planted and maintained by hand, hold the dunes in place with their roots.
I learned the lessons of beach ecology as a child and they remain with me today. Along the way, I was involved in the environmental movement of the 70s, and that evolved into becoming a natural resources planner. My job was to modify building projects so that the effects of man on the land, water, and animals would be minimized.
I did that for many years. I also worked for a while with scholars to publish materials for local land management and planning boards. Not surprisingly, I have always lived near water or beaches. I continue to support personal and corporate efforts to reduce man’s footprint on the earth. The strong connection with things of nature that I learned as a child remains in my blood.
Today, I am deeply saddened over the anti-science faction of society that is taking hold of millions of innocent and unsuspecting people. The perpetrators are not just those corporations like oil companies whose operations put our earth’s health at risk. They also include those in the business of selling religion for profit.
Sadly, a segment of the media and certain churches benefit from quoting selected excerpts from the bible to undermine the realities of global warming, evolution, and other proven scientific facts connecting humans with the planet earth. Greedy individuals are using God (and country, too – the subject of another whole article –) to victimize those who do not know better. Certain private and religious corporations have reinvented science to create artificial barriers among humans whose interests are actually the same. It breaks my heart to see this happen.
The fact is there is nothing in the bible that precludes modern scientific knowledge. Absolutely nothing. It is entirely possible, for example, to revel in the beauty and wonder of a tiny humming bird and know at the same time that it is a product of evolution.
Why do we allow ourselves to be victims of falsehoods, even in the name of “religion?” Let’s use the brains God gave us and ask ourselves, What do the anti-science groups have to gain from our following them? If the answer is monetary profit, then we must resist their attraction. Instead, let’s focus on our common gift. Let’s be intelligent and loving stewards of this great earth our creator has given us.
Shows like Speaking of Faith give me hope that the well-funded anti-science groups will, in time, be revealed for what they really are. Krista Tippett interviews individuals like Shane Claiborne, who represents groups of young people who have chosen a way of life that is responsible to God, his children, and the planet earth. They are inspirational. Day after day these “new monastics” make tiny changes in their immediate world: they grow their own food; they help out teenagers from the South Philly neighborhood in which they live.
These young dedicated people remind me of the forces of nature acting on the barrier beach where I grew up in Rhode Island. During my recent visit I couldn’t help but notice the many signs that Misquamicut Beach is slowly shifting into the tidal pond behind it. This is as it’s meant to be.
[The photo illustration is Misquamicut Beach, Westerly, RI]
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