Monday, August 08, 2011

Repentance and Recovery

When we stayed in the old "salt box" house on Change Islands, Newfoundland, last summer the neighbour across the little bay gave us a feed of codfish. They may be ugly, but they taste wonderful pan-fried straight out of the ocean.

When we lived in Newfoundland thirty years ago cod was still common enough that when people used the word "fish" it was understood that they meant cod, and other species were named. Still, the cod fishery was on the brink of a catastrophic collapse and within a decade the fishery was closed in a desparate attempt to salvage a species which had been incredibly abundant. Nearly twenty years later the stocks are still a shadow of their former selves, but a recent report claims that they are recovering, both off Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. The personal fishery which allows individuals to catch a few cod each year may eventually become a commercial fishery.

There is so much bad environmental news it is important to hear that when we change our foolish ways there is hope for recovery. Not always of course, but it is remarkable how resilient ecosystems are when humans stop bombarding and pillaging them. Our Christian faith is rooted in hope and the promise that "God so loved the world" and still does. It is important to "repent" of our environmental sins and broaden the scope of salvation.

Are you still hopeful for the world we live in, despite so much bad news? Is using the language of repentance and salvation actually a misuse when applied to the environment?

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