Friday, December 4, 2015

Seeking Hope After a Dark Day

Wednesday evening was filled with horrific news.

I spent the day working in a local oilfield town (depressing enough) and was very unaware of the world around me. After 8pm I retired to my hotel room and called my wife. She told me of the shootings in California. News of the killings in San Bernadino, a terrible thing made even worse by knowing how easily we will move on, cast a darker pall over a world already darkening. When mass killings become commonplace and your people are numb to it, you know your society is in trouble.

After the phone call, I sat down to write, but no words came. I sat in silence for a bit, then turned on the TV. And I am glad I did.

Wednesday was also the American premier of Racing Extinction, a documentary aimed at educating a populace that too easily moves on. The gist of the film is very simple - our actions are killing off species at an astounding rate and we need to change our ways if we don't want to wipe out all life on Earth. The film's scope was broad - from blue whales to phytoplankton, from overfishing to forest clearing, from fossil fuels to methane released by cows and melting glaciers.

The Last Rabb's Fringed Limb Tree Frog (Joel Sartore/Photo Ark) 

For me, seeing the very last living frog of its species and hearing the song of the last living male of a songbird species endlessly calling to a female that would never answer, these were some of the more poignant moments in a powerful film. If you want to know more about rescuing endangered species, Racing Extinction is a great place to start.

While the message is deeply disturbing, the film also offers many points of hope and possibility. A portion of the film deals with the conversion of Lamakera (an Indonesian village) that was once the epicenter of destruction for manta rays. Now the village is at the epicenter of manta ray conservation.
 
(For you Shark Week junkies, there are lots of sharks and rays.)
 
[You already know what he looks like.]
(For you Musk junkies - there is a small cameo role.)

Please do what you can to see the film. If you do see it and find yourself called to action, you can visit startwith1thing.com, a website that is tied to the film and offers several ways to get started.

May we find ways to slow all of this senseless death of man, animals, and planet.

A few bonus links for today:

Photo Ark (Joel Sartore and NatGeo)

One gun owner's response to mass shootings