There is a verse in the opening chapter of the bible that has been bothering me.
“Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
It is this command to subdue the earth and have dominion over other creatures that troubles me as it seems to legitimize treating other creatures as natural resources to be exploited for our enjoyment.
I was looking at the words on the STEP Bible software :-
Subdue =to subject, subdue, force, keep under, bring into bondage
to rule, have dominion, dominate, tread down
The idea of subjecting, forcing, keeping under, bringing into bondage seem like aggressive even violent words, especially since they are words given before the fall of man.
Similarly the idea of having dominion, dominating, treading down don’t seem to be words that are in tune with the idea of the lion lying down with the lamb. It seems like a rough way of living with little affection.
On Sunday night a kind lady popped around with fish that had just been landed from the North Atlantic.
She kindly gave us a big white box of some type of fish and some prawns.
The box was unmarked but checking a book I reckon it was probably hake. Reading on book then said:-
‘We all have our weaknesses, certain things – like roulette, scrumpy or chocolate – we can’t quite trust ourselves to be around. The Spanish tend to lose their heads over fish, and none more so than hake. Merzula, as they call it, is their fish of choice, bordering on a national obsession – and now bordering on an international ecological disaster… much of it is caught by Spain’s extensive deepwater fleet, the biggest and most heavily subsidised in the European Union. Few species apart from cod and bluefin tuna are under more pressure”
The River Cottage Fish Book, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Nick Fisher
The verse in Genesis with the idea of dominating and treading down doesn’t seem to fit easily with the idea that we should fish gently and carefully.
And that was a command in the Garden of Eden before sin had entered the world. Now that sin has entered how much more aggressive and violent is mankind?See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out.
We staggered out of bed yesterday morning to the sound of a fire alarm going off in the January gloom and half naked hung-over bodies appearing out of bedrooms wondering if it was just a false alarm.
By the time we had reached the foyer the manager was looking panicked as she explained that the underground car park had flooded and all the cars down there had ‘gone’.
Discovering that Nissan Almera has been flooded in an underground car park is not the ideal way to finish of a short break in Sligo.
So it was a relief to find that our car had actually survived. Some car owners in the level below where not as fortunate, but ours was OK. Then I saw the pictures from my new home. Down by Spanish Arch was flooded, the promenade in Salthill was wrecked with stones and lifeguard huts strewn over the road. Spiddal looked the same.
And there seems to be more of that sort of weather on the way.
I was wondering afterwards if this is the sort of thing we should get used to seeing?Remember that late snow last spring when the sheep got stuck? Remember that extremely cold winter when our pipes burst? Remember that extremely wet summer when farmers couldn’t get into fields to harvest potatoes?
I think in Ireland we assume that we live on a benign little island that isn’t effected by weather extremes and that we’ll be alright if the worlds temperature rises.
A common attitude would be that it would be nice to live in a warmer country.
But to pick one example we can’t grow all the food we need to eat as an island, with most of our wheat or corn grown in places around the planet. If they can’t grow cereal due to drought then that effects us with food prices or just scarcity.
There aren’t new areas of farmland we can just move to if we need to grow more food.
Below is a graph of world population growth since 10,000 BC. I am amazed by the population growth over the last few hundred years.Now is not the time in world history for dependable farm lands to become unreliable.
I have never really worked out why lots of people don’t want to believe what the majority of scientists are saying about climate change. Perhaps the simple truth is that just don’t want to change our way of life.
Looking across the platform at Derriaghy train station it feels almost as if my eye has to go to the other side and carry the light back across.
The colour of the leaves, the rust on the rail track, the damp of the concrete and matt grey of the stone seem to absorb light and become dull making it more of an effort to see. The eye becomes tired with the effort of fetching light and colour. Same in the house late at night.
Dull means eye effort means tiredness means gloom.
So much of our modern life is spent staring into sheets of glass. I’m staring into a sheet of glass typing this.
Light from glass seems magnified and bright, it seems to carry itself to the eye without the eye having to fetch or carry it back.
Gloss means bright means less eye effort means less tiredness means happy associations.
Looking into glass screens for light and a good time is easier than looking at concrete or winter trees for a good time.
My favourite seats in coffee shops are near big sheets of glass. I much prefer the light levels on the train to the bus. I love the reflection and light from the sea.
I’m addicted to the internet, to Facebook, to blogging.
But perhaps it is something else altogether.Perhaps I’m really just addicted to the light source, to the gloss and shine and the way it seems to run into my eye instead of the effort needed to love at the matt things about Lambeg. Glass is dangerous, time for a walk in the dark.
This Christmas due to Mrs Canal Ways being sick with tinsil-itus we had a different sort of Christmas than normal. No sitting with family relations getting abuse about hair length, lack of job, lack of driving skill, about putting on weight, not doing a bakery course, not having new clothes etc, (well not at least until Boxing Day). No instead it was a quiet Christmas when I read a biography about cod.
There is something about the sea and trawlers that connects with me so I enjoyed the book. It was also sad at the way we have plundered a seemingly boundless ‘resource’ in the belief that nature is boundless and will always give and the way we humans don’t seem to learn our lessons that although the earth is big and has some wiggle room it is limited as well. Those who deny that the earth’s atmosphere will fix itself no matter how much we pollute the atmosphere are of a similar bent.