Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Lament for Puerto Rico

Image result for hurricane maria photos puerto rico

The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth,
and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. 
And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth,
and it grieved him to his heart. 
 So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created
—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air,
for I am sorry that I have made them.” 
 But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord.

Genesis 6:5-8

Some of you have seen that I have revived my Groundling blog over the past month, now that I am gainfully unemployed and have more time to reflect x 2. The irony is that I have a passion for faith connected to the environment, and a conviction that " to live with respect in Creation" is God's call to all of us and vital to our survival as a species.

There are days when I wonder whether an emerging story is grist for this Lion Lamb blog or Groundling, and of course it can be both. In fact, today I'm publishing the same content for Lion Lamb and Groundling.  

Yesterday the outcome of a study into the effects of last year's Hurricane Maria indicate that it may have been more devastating that Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Washington Post reports the findings this way:

More than eight months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island’s slow recovery has been marked by a persistent lack of water, a faltering power grid and a lack of essential services — all imperiling the lives of many residents, especially the infirm and those in remote areas hardest hit in September.
A new Harvard study published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that at least 4,645 deaths can be linked to the hurricane and its immediate aftermath, making the storm far deadlier than previously thought. Official estimates have placed the number of dead at 64, a count that has drawn sharp criticism from experts and local residents and spurred the government to order an independent review that has yet to be completed.
This is a reminder that the warnings of climate scientists about the increasing severity of weather events must be heeded. It is also a story about perceptions of justice and the gap between haves and have-nots in the United States. Puerto Ricans are American citizens but the response to their plight was woefully inadequate and it would be hard to imagine that people along the Gulf Coast of the continental United States would be treated with the same disregard. The enduring image of President Trump tossing packages of paper towels into a crowd when he visited in the immediate aftermath of Maria is frankly disgusting and racist. Politicians in the US who were of Puerto Rican background knew this and spoke out, but were largely ignored.
Image result for noah climate change cartoons
The biblical story of Noah is a powerful myth, one which may not be factual but is true. We are inclined as humans to entertain and distract ourselves from the essentials of our existence and when we ignore the hardship of others with issues which don't really matter (kneeling during the national anthem at a sports event?) then we offend God. While the story of Noah ends with a rainbow and God's promise not to inflict such a cataclysm on humanity again, there is no assurance we won't do this to ourselves.
Well, this may be a rather ominous start to your day, but surely we need to be paying attention. It's never too late, is it?

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