A Reflection on Wetlands: From Genesis to Today.

As we celebrate World Wetlands Day, it’s fitting to turn our gaze to scripture, for the Bible paints a vivid picture of these life-giving landscapes. In the very first book, Genesis, we encounter the Spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters, bringing forth creation. Water becomes a symbol of life, renewal, and God’s creative power. We see this echoed in Psalm 104, where the psalmist praises God for “sending springs into the valleys, to flow between the mountains” (v.10). These “springs” and “valleys” are, in essence, the wetlands – teeming with life, nourishing the land, and reflecting the divine spark within creation.

However, today, a shadow falls over this biblical image. Wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate, victims of pollution, development, and unsustainable practices. This loss is not just environmental; it’s a spiritual one too. As Pope Francis reminds us in Laudato Si’: “The disappearance of a species may well be a cause of sorrow, but is it not also a loss of wonders which the human spirit should be allowed to experience, to contemplate, and to love?” (LS 89).

The Gospel of Mark offers a glimmer of hope. Jesus, seeking solitude and renewal, retreats to the wilderness – a place undoubtedly teeming with wetlands. In Mark 1:10, “the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him like a dove.” This image reminds us that even amidst challenges, God’s presence remains, urging us to act as stewards of creation.

So, how can we translate this awareness into action? Here are a few practical tips:

• Educate yourself and others: Learn about the importance of wetlands in your region and share this knowledge with friends, family, and your community.

• Support wetland conservation organizations: Donate your time or resources to groups working to protect these vital ecosystems.

• Reduce your water consumption: Every drop saved helps maintain healthy water levels in wetlands.

• Make informed choices: Opt for eco-friendly products and support businesses committed to sustainable practices.

• Advocate for wetland protection: Contact your local representatives and urge them to support policies that protect these vital ecosystems.

By following these steps, we can become active participants in God’s ongoing creation, ensuring that the “springs” and “valleys” continue to sing their praises for generations to come. Remember, as Jesus reminds us in Matthew 25:40, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” And surely, protecting wetlands is an act of love for our brothers and sisters, both human and non-human, for the Earth itself, and ultimately, for the God who breathed life into it all.

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