Opinion: Earthly Beasts Beware

Photo courtesy MDC.

Photo courtesy MDC.

The Gospel of Matthew notes that what we do for the least of our living brethren, we do for the Lord. The very least of our earthly companions tend to be four-legged and six-legged – and we are not doing right by them.

Consider the spate of bills introduced in this past session of the state legislature, which were designed to repeal or weaken the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act. And our pet dogs are supposed to be our best friends!

By Don Corrigan
(from South County Times)

Consider the recent report by the Center for Biological Diversity, which explains how Missouri’s unregulated turtle traders are trapping these fine animals for export at an alarming rate. Soft-shelled turtles are now in danger of disappearing from the state.

Consider also the toads of the earth and the frogs of the ponds. Polluted streams are taking a toll. The U.S. Geological Survey notes that climate change also is causing erratic rainfall and destroying the croakers’ habitats.

How about those Texas armadillos  whom we’ve fooled into moving north, thanks to climate change? These critters may be getting a warm reception in Missouri, but they are showing up all over the state as road kill.

Then there’s the fish in the sea. National Geographic reports that the acidification of the warming oceans – caused by climate change – is killing coral worldwide. Fish species that depend on the coral aren’t exactly biting the dust, but they sure are choked up over the dead coral reefs.

If Kali the Polar Bear at the St. Louis Zoo could talk, he would tell you that his brethren bears are declining because of  retreating sea ice. Our zoo is making every effort to educate us about Kali and the climate crisis.

Also spreading the word about the climate crisis are those familiar with the words of Matthew the Apostle. On Sept. 1, Pope Paul called on Catholics to take action against environmental degradation and climate change.

“God gave us a bountiful garden, but we have turned it into a polluted wasteland of debris, desolation and filth,” Francis said in a document released in concert with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

Evangelicals are often accused of caring only about the hereafter and not about the planet’s health. I recently interviewed the Rev. Mitch Hescox for my blog,  Hescox told me it’s a sin in God’s eyes  to trash the Earth and to ignore the ravages of climate change.

Hescox, who leads the Evangelical Environmental Network from its Pennsylvania headquarters, pastored in coal country before he authored “Caring for Creation: The Evangelical’s Guide to Climate Change and a Healthy Environment.”

Closer to home, Missouri Interfaith Power & Light and  Jewish Community Relations Council will meet at 7 p.m., Sept. 20, to explore ways to help our six-legged, winged pollinators. The Ethical Society will host “Greening Your Community – Saving the Planet One Garden at a Time.”

Hey, folks, it’s time to care about the least of our earthly companions.

Hear the podcast interview with Rev. Hescox below.

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