Spirit Sightings

September 4, 2016: Ocean Sunday

From Paul Turley

Today, the first Sunday in the Season of Creation, we mark Ocean Sunday.

In June of this year, we marked World Ocean’s Day to highlight the importance of the world’s oceans to a healthy eco system and how much needs to be done to clean our oceans.

Currently, according to a World Economic Forum report released in January 2016, the world’s oceans hold more than 150 million tons of plastics. The report also warns that by 2050 the oceans will contain more plastics than fish.

A recent report by Marine Science Today says that 64 of the world’s 66 Large Marine Ecosystems (defined as “relatively large” areas of ocean space in coastal waters [near continents] that are approximately 200,000+ square kilometers and that produce about 80% of the world’s fisheries catch) are experiencing detrimental ocean warming, that 50% of their fish stocks are overexploited, and that 60% of their coral reefs are under threat from human activity.

Thanks to ocean temperature rises, this year the Great Barrier Reef has suffered its worst bleaching event on record, damaging more than 90 percent of the reef's 1,400 miles (2,250 kilometers). Half of the reef has died in the past three decades thanks to warming ocean water, pollution, coastal development, and aggressive invasive species, such as starfish, according to the National Geographic.

The needs of our oceans can seem daunting. However, two Australian surfers have used their love of the ocean and there desire to see them healthy to develop a device that they hope will be used around the world to collect some of the trash that endangers fish and other marine life and the health of the oceans.

Called the Seabin, it is an automatic aquatic rubbish bin, made from recycled material that draws in floating rubbish from plastic bottles to paper, oils, fuel and detergent.

Seabin spokesman Richard Talmage said the concept was simple but effective.

“It essentially works as a similar concept to a skimmer box from your pool filter. But it’s designed on a scale to work and essentially attract all that rubbish within a location within a marine harbour,” he said.

The Seabin is like a candle lit, it’s better than cursing the darkness.

Explore…Job 38:1–18

  • What difference does reading Job 38:4 make to your understanding of our responsibility to care for the earth?
  • How would you describe the thinking behind this week’s text?
  • How might you rewrite this text as an address to a climate sceptic?

Prayer links...

  • God, the earth is our precious and forgiving home. But we know that we have damaged this planet with our neglect and our greed. Forgive us. Give us eyes to see this world as you do, and give us courage to work for a safe, clean, and healthy world. Amen.


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