Planting forests versus fearing the future
Re: “Faithful practices on a dying planet,” and “Planting trees, nurturing a dream,” Sept. 30, pages 4 and 16, respectively.
I was astounded by the contrast between the despondent lament offered by Gerald Ens in his apocalyptic forecast of the future cloaked in a facade of biblical justification, and the joyful stewardship of Wayne and Carry Dueck on their forested land in Saskatchewan.
The latter article spoke to me, as our family also has a 325-hectare woodland here on Vancouver Island. We are capturing the carbon load of 400 homes and vehicles, as well as providing clean water for salmon and trout; and a home habitat for deer, elk with impossibly huge antlers, roly-poly black bears, wolves and the occasional cougar. And, like the Duecks, we have shared this love of creation with hundreds of school children, service clubs, out-of-country visitors, university forestry students and land owners.
I challenge Ens’s prophesy that the Earth is dying, on both spiritual and secular bases. In Genesis 9:11, God promises he will never destroy the Earth by flood again. If such a promise is made, do you think he had his fingers crossed under his robe and said to himself, “but free will has a lot of demons”?
And Ens echoes the fatalistic fear that “my three-year-old son may not live past 30.” But by every indicator, life for the majority of people on Earth is improving. Life expectancy, infant mortality, eradication of disease, food production and poverty have all shown positive metrics.
He also says we must guard against “the heroic despair . . . that even if the human species seems likely to perish, the planet will survive.” I find nothing heroic about such a spurious claim. The planet has undergone cataclysmic changes, such as entire continents wandering about, the reversal of the magnetic fields, impacts from meteors and geological upheavals beyond our imagination. Yet the sun comes up and goes down, the geese migrate, the rain falls on parched land.
—Harold Macy, Courtenay, B.C.
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