"for no other reason that that he is himself an extension of life around him"

Just moments ago finished a book that I have loved for many years. My mother gave the book to me about 10 years ago (i've read it several dozen times), trying to satisfy my insatiable appetite for reading and love for nature. The book is written by my hero, Jane Goodall, and is called Reason for Hope. In it, she speaks about her beloved chimpanzees, her love for nature, for people, and life. Among the many wise words she has to say about the deep rooted relationship between spirituality and science, her focus, as it always has been, is on our responsibility now. She describes a lecture she gave at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. 

"I took, as my text, Genesis Chapter 1, verse 26: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." I explained that many Hebrew scholars believe the word 'dominion' is a very poor translation of the original Hebrew word 'v'yirdu', which actually meant to rule over, as a wise king rules over his subjects, with care and respect. It implied a sense of responsibility and enlightened stewardship."

Stewardship is an uncomfortable world in western vocabulary. Responsibility for the world, the animals, the creation around us. We were given stewardship over creation. Instead, we move about our days recklessly. We pillage the land for its resources. We rape the earth of its wild places. Our planet is increasingly becoming a sad place to live. Our forests are smaller, our land is over farmed and infertile, our livestock are crammed into disgustingly small spaces, our fruit is grown to abnormally large sizes, injected with hormones. Our air becomes increasingly poisonous, we pour toxins into the atmosphere and destroy the layers that protect our very existence. 

There is really no such thing as an environmentalist, as a "tree-hugger", as a "green" person. There are simply those who understand the responsibility of stewardship and have the desire to live. There is simply no reason, that anyone with the desire to live life, cannot carry the weight of stewardship. Buying local produce. Purchasing meat raised and slaughtered humanely, or not at all. Picking up trash. Exploring better ways to do the necessary day-to-day things we do. Its not remarkable. Not even difficult. But necessary. 

Someday, I want my children to play in trees older than myself. I want them to romp in fields of wild flowers. I want them to swim in the lake that runs through my veins. I want to take them on hikes of the wild island I fell in love with as a child. I want them to see a peregrine falcon in its natural habitat. And I want them to wonder. I want them to wonder that even in the midst of our destruction, mankind turned, saw the world, and began to undo what it had done. I want them to wonder at creation and say, "It is good."

"A man who possesses a veneration of life will not simply say his prayers. He will throw himself into the battle to preserve life, if for no other reason than that he is himself an extension of life around him."
-albert schweitzer

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