Have words ever been written more beautiful than...”In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. We are the anointed caretakers of this planet, this wonderous life giving creation, this precious gift from God. We were told to take care of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky and everything crawling on the ground, I now give to you all the plants on the earth that yields seeds and all the trees whose fruit produces its seed within it. Yet, we have turned our backs on this responsibility, continuing down on a unsustainable path of waste and destruction. With hardend hearts, and blinded by greed we foolishly pollute our waters and the very air we breathe.
As you read these words, the world's largest trash dump, believe it or not, is floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. With almost 2 trillion pieces of plastic trash and debris, weighing 88,000 tons, that's the equivalent of 500 jumbo jets. It measures more than 90 feet deep and covers 600,000 square miles, more than twice the size of Texas. But hey, don't worry(sarcasm), the Pacific Ocean is a mighty big place, it covers 1/3 of the Earth's surface, that's about 63.8 million square miles, so all that trash is just a drop in the bucket.
The health of the planet is a humanity crisis, and requires world wide participation and awareness in education, and prevention. At a cost of $300 thousand dollars, a non-profit group from the Ocean Voyages Institute, removed 40 tons of plastic waste from what is now being called “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. That 40 tons may sound like a lot, but we continue to dump 20 million tons of plastic into the ocean every year. The state of California, Oregon, and Washington spend about $500 million a year removing waste from the Pacific coastline. Doug Woodring, the founder of “Ocean Recovery Alliance”, said that $13 billion would be a conservative estimate to clean up the worlds' oceans.
That's not chump change, but it still sounds like a bargain to me. Stop and consider that we have a $406 billion F-35 Jet program, a $153 billion Missile Defense System, and the Navy has a budget of $128 billion to build 12 new Columbia-class Nuclear Missile Submarines. Now, thanks to the new tax laws, 60 very profitable Fortune 500 companies paid “zero” taxes in 2018. In fact, according to the “Institute on Taxation & Economic policy these corporations received a tax rebate of $4.3 billion. Amazon, one of the world's most valuable companies is worth about $800 billion and in 2018 they earned $233 billion. For the 2nd year in a row they paid “zero” taxes and received a $129 million tax refund. Removing these mountains of trash from our oceans is not a shortage of money, but a lack of any sense of urgency and leadership.
A very short-sighted Trump administration foolishly withdrew the United States from the “Paris Climate Agreement” and continues to roll back long standing environmental protections. The protections included regulations that help control greenhouse gas emissions, the Endangered Species Act, even the Clean Air and Water Act passed in 1972. A new study from “Science News” have identified 405 dead zones in the oceans of the world, where the waters are too oxygen depleted to support marine life.
Pope Francis said that “Our Earth needs constant concern and attention, each of us has a personal responsibility to care for God's creation. We are stewards, not masters of the Earth”. But let's give God the last word. In Revelations from the Bible, we are told that, “The Nations raged, but your wrath has come and the time for judging the dead and rewarding your servants and all who fear your name both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the Earth”.