September 24, 2015

Coming Together in Faith on Climate – Washington National Cathedral

As Prepared for Delivery at the National Cathedral

I rise today to bring attention to two of God’s humblest but most useful creatures.  When was the last time any of us thought of the humble bumblebee?  We have important things to do.  Who can be thinking about bumblebees?  And the humble pteropod?  How many of us even know what it is?   It’s a winged snail, sometimes called the sea butterfly, because over millennia, God’s evolution of these creatures has turned their snail foot into an oceanic wing. 

Here’s what is happening to them:  Bumblebee populations are retreating north from the hottest part of their ranges.  But the northern range for the bumblebees is not expanding, which means the changing climate is crushing bumblebee populations in a climate vice.   Acidified water off the West Coast is hitting the pteropod especially hard.  Researchers found “severe shell damage” on more than half of the pteropods they collected from Central California to the Canadian Border.  The pteropods are being eaten away by acidic water. 

Jesus taught that truth is among things that are humble.  So we’ve got to start listening, to the bumblebee and the pteropod, to the coral polyp and the oyster spat, to the New Hampshire moose and the Idaho pine, to the Utah snowfall and the California drought, to the carbon concentration of our only atmosphere and the pH level of our only oceans.  These gifts are all God’s creations, and their signals are all God’s voice. 

We’d better smarten up to the message they convey to us.  If their message now of warning is not God’s voice, then whose voice is it?