5 Sparrows Drown in the Ocean

May 12, 2016

As the presidential campaign started getting wild several months ago, I started (maybe) joking that I'd move to another country if a certain candidate won. A few friends and family members soon volunteered to move as well. My wife leans toward Canada, while I (and some friends) argue that we should instead pick some Caribbean island.

During my recent trip to Cuba, I flew over some of the islands of The Bahamas and of the Turks & Caicos Islands (and spent some time on Providenciales, one of the Caicos islands). I was amazed at how flat the low-lying islands were, lacking the mountains found on Cuba, Jamaica, or some of the other islands in the region. I decided our group should cross these flat islands off the list of places to move since just a little bit of climate change could wipe them out! Canada is starting to look wise.

One of the most powerful things I heard in Paris last December for the COP21 United Nations climate talks was how climate change is already impacting vulnerable nations - like low-lying Pacific and Caribbean islands. Climate change is not merely some future concern. It's real and it's already here. We're even seeing climate refugees in the U.S. now as parts of Louisiana wash away.

This week, news emerged that five small islands in the Solomon Islands disappeared beneath the Pacific Ocean. No one lived on those islands, but other islands in the nation that include villages are also eroding and disappearing. Yet even without people living on those five islands, they stilled mattered. Jesus once assured his followers that even seemingly insignificant birds mattered to the Creator. 

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care."

Christians should mourn the deaths of those five small islands. God separated those plots of land from the water and called them "good." Until recently, those islands sang praises to their Creator. Our greenhouse gas emissions are poisoning the earth and all who live on it. As our actions impact this planet, we violate biblical commands to love God our Creator and to love our neighbors who live in vulnerable lands.