Feb 18 2015

Do What You Can

_DSC5707We got our first significant snow of winter a couple of days ago. I know a lot of people don’t like snow and the cold weather that comes with it but I do. I love the look nature takes on after being blanketed with snow. I love the quiet it brings and the way it causes everything to slow down a bit. I also love the way it draws birds to my bird feeder. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the variety of birds that have made their way to my yard. I’ve seen lots of cardinals, chickadees, sparrows, titmice, juncos, finches, sparrows and other species vie for a spot at the feeders. The birds seem to go into survival mode when a deep snow falls and this makes it much easier to photograph them. They are far more concerned with getting something to eat than they are with me taking their picture. As a result I’ve gotten what I think are some wonderful images of the birds.

_DSC5431I will confess that one of the reasons I feed the birds is so I can photograph them. I’ve actually sold a number of images taken at home to magazines.  Still, I would feed them, especially in winter, even if I was not a photographer. I would do so because they are both beautiful and fun to watch, and also because I feel that by doing so I can be a good steward of Creation. Many birds would have trouble surviving in winter if people did not feed and provide water for them. Genesis 2:15 says “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” From the beginning it has been the responsibility of those created in the image of God to care for the earth and the creatures that inhabit it. I realize that feeding the birds is only a small part of Creation Care but it is a part nonetheless.

_DSC5598Many of the environmental problems we are facing today seem huge and almost insurmountable. Climate change, destruction of the earth’s remaining rainforests, the extinction of both plant and animal species, pollution of the air and our streams, rivers and lakes–all these are problems so big it seems like there is very little that we, as individuals, can do about them. Our role here is more secondary, encouraging those in power to make wiser choices, but there are some things we can all do on a local level that makes a difference. Some of them are as simple as feeding the birds, planting native species, and creating brush piles in your yard. Other simple ways we can help make a difference include recycling, reusing items, lowering the thermostat in winter and raising it in summer, keeping our vehicles’ tires properly inflated, and driving less.

There is no shortage of ways we can be good stewards of God’s Creation. The important thing is not to worry about what we cannot do but to focus on what we can. Working alone and with others in our community we can make a difference.   For God’s sake, our own, that of our neighbors (both human and wildlife) and the planet itself, let’s do all we can to fulfill our divine calling to take care of the earth.


(I took the bird images used today over the last couple of days at my home in Henderson, KY.)

Mar 6 2011

Trashing the Planet

BIP 009This past Thursday afternoon I decided to drive over to Breaks Interstate Park.  With all the rain we had received in recent days I knew the water would be up and that this might offer some nice photographic opportunities.  My hunch was right and I did manage to get some images I liked.  I also captured some I didn’t like at all.   The images I didn’t like were not good because I failed to expose correctly or did a poor job with my compositions.  It was the subject matter—trash.

Along the banks of the Russell Fork River were hundreds of plastic bottles.  These were not placed there intentionally.  They had all been discarded at various places upstream and the swollen waters had carried them to this location making one of my favorite places in the park a mess.  Just a short distance from this spot I encountered another eyesore.  Some  group had deposited their beer and food containers off the side of the road.  It was obvious that this act of littering was intentional.  Some folks had partied in this area and didn’t bother to take their trash with them when they left. 

BIP 015Seeing all the trash diminished my experience at Breaks Interstate Park.  I usually leave such beautiful places feeling happier and more peaceful but this time the presence of all the litter saddened me.  I left discouraged but also reminded how important it is that we take better care of God’s Creation.

Unfortunately, my experience at Breaks Interstate Park was not an isolated experience.  There are few places you can go anymore where you do not see litter—discarded plastic containers, glass bottles, loose paper, cardboard boxes, etc.   We are literally trashing the planet.  This litter does far more than mess up beautiful pictures.  It degrades the environment and can even cause health problems for both humans and animals alike.  The presence of trash also makes it harder for us to see God in His Creation. 

BIP 074Psalms 24:1 says the earth belongs to the Lord.  I know we tend to think of it as being our home but it is really His.  From the looks of things we are not taking very good care of it.  I know if someone came into my house and trashed it I would not be happy.  I would consider the violator guilty of great disrespect.  It makes you wonder what God thinks when He looks upon the earth.  It makes you wonder what He thinks of us.  And hopefully, it also makes you wonder what you can do to find a solution.

There are, of course, solutions to this problem.  We can refrain from littering ourselves, practice recycling, purchase items that use less packaging, and participate in litter removal programs.  We can also help educate and encourage others to respect the earth and be better stewards.  Failing to make such efforts will result in further trashing of the planet and reveal our disrespect for the Owner of the house.  Neither result is wise or desirable if we want to honor the Creator.