Autumn began early this year with blackberries ripening mid August and some trees showing Autumn’s red and yellow colours. It is harvest time, thankfully there is some harvest to collect but yields have not been as much as expected in the UK due to scorching dry conditions followed by heavy rainfall which spoiled growing seed.
Next year’s weather pattern hopefully will be better but not necessarily so. David Attenborough’s programme , ‘Extinction’, shown recently in September, warned us that we are destroying our global biosphere to the detriment of ourselves and the animals and plants we share our world with.
Attenborough recalled the diverse creatures and plants he saw as a young natural history filmmaker in the 1960’s and said, ‘Only now do I realize just how lucky I have been –many of these wonders seem set to disappear forever.’
He explained that species have always come and gone due to evolution but that the rate of extinction is happening at 100 times the natural evolutionary rate.
The sombre facts are alarming :
Birds , fish, mammals, reptiles and amphibians have declined by 60 percent since 1970.
The loss of ten percent of pollinating insects threatens the pollination of the crops we depend on.
We are destroying the biodiversity on which we rely by deforestation, destruction of habitats, the illegal wildlife trade, pollution and climate change.
Attenborough tells us that we face a crisis but that there is hope- ‘we have a moment when we can change the world –now is that moment’.
Reflective regret but a hopefulness if we act now was the message.
Psalm 126 also has that message – it recalls past prosperity when things were going so well that nations commented ‘the Lord has done great things for them’. However in verse 4 there is a plea for help : ‘Restore our fortunes , O Lord , like the streams of the Negeb river’.
Images of streams and in other verses of bearing seed, reaping and sheaves refer to the kind of restoration asked for – namely a good year for crops.
The society in the psalmist’s time was mainly made up of agricultural labourers and farmers who depended on the annual cycle of rain, sunshine and good soils for an adequate supply of food –their life and well being depended on a good harvest.
Attenborough’s film reminds us of our dependence on the whole biosphere – this amazing interaction of soil, weather animals, insects and amphibians – which, if we care for it will, with God’s blessing, enhance our own lives and health as well the amazing diversity of creative which we share our world with.
‘The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. The world and all who live in it, Psalm 24verse 1.
How can we join together in practical even small ways to care for our world ?