A Maxed-Out Earth

The Earth is the Lord’s …” Psalm 24

“Not much is going on with the weather, and that has been the case for the past several weeks.” That’s Mark Breen’s “Eye on the Sky” weather report for Tuesday morning. There hasn’t been much rain. The days are warm, although I confess to having on a sweater at 7 AM as I write this.

The weather can change in an instant – in a matter of minutes – or gradually over the course of several days. We are accustomed to the weather moving from one end of the spectrum to the other. If it is cold now, it will be warm later. If we lack rain now we will make up for it later.

I heard another report this morning. It was less about the weather and more about the climate. The BBC reports that “a surge in atmospheric CO2 saw levels of greenhouse gases reach record levels in 2013.” Perhaps the most troubling part of the report has to do with what may actually be “a reduced carbon uptake by the Earth’s biosphere.” In other words, it’s not just a matter of increased emissions; it may be that the natural systems we have depended on to absorb those emissions are functioning to capacity.

On the other hand … The New York Times reports that the energy boom in the US is fueling an economic recovery in our nation’s heartland. Youngstown, Ohio is seeing a surge in hotels, restaurants and other services as new manufacturing plants open – the result of the natural gas that is being drawn from shale far below the earth’s surface. Good news for the economy, indeed; but is it bad news for the planet?

Yale University’s chief investment officer is asking managers of Yale’s endowment funds to look carefully at the financial risks of climate change. The National Audubon Society “foresees danger for more than half of the 650 species of birds in North America” due to climate change.

In a moment I am going to make myself a cup of coffee and sit out on our front porch. I will relish these waning days of summer. This evening I will take note of a full moon and the quicker onset of dusk. And I pray: Lord, help us to quickly find the balance between our comfort and convenience today and our responsibilities to the generations still to come. Remind me today that the earth is yours and I am called upon to treat it as a gift to be treasured and not a possession to be abused.

A blessed Tuesday to you.



Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.