Column/Finding a way to save life

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 20, 2006

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about life. We see it all around us so it’s hard not to think about it.

We see it in the smallest things – like an earthworm crawling in the dirt or a weed finding a way to break through a sidewalk.

We see it in the fish and turtles that swim to the surface of the river.

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It’s evident in the bugs and creatures that fly around us at night. Even in the grass and the trees.

We see life all around us and yet humans seem determined to destroy it.

We asphalt over everything we can, where the earthworms and smallest creatures reside. We pour concrete and bulldoze down brush and trees, not really taking into consideration what life might have found habitat there.

We drive bigger and bigger vehicles that we now know are at least partly responsible for global warming, which is destroying our entire planet.

We mow over the sea oats on the beach in order to make room for a condo that residents might visit once a year. And, of course, in destroying the sea oats, we destroy the sand dunes. And in destroying the sand dunes, we destroy the very Coast we’re going to visit.

At every turn we seem determined to squash the life that tries desperately to survive.

Even human life. We call it different things – capital punishment, abortion, even war, but we find a way to justify it.

In the past couple of weeks things seem to have really escalated worldwide. We have Korea mocking the rest of the world by testing its missile.

We continue to have soldiers giving their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the civilians who are being killed there by insurgents.

And now we have Israel and Hezbollah, firing at one another like it’s a video game and just hoping no civilians get in the way.

Israel has no choice, really, and I understand that. They are a very small country located within a sea of enemies. They can’t afford not to fire back when they are attacked, in this case when Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers.

But, still, it’s another example of how we destroy lives that we say we believe are created by God.

There are groups out there that fight for the rights of different species to survive.

There are those who go up against a whaling ship in a rubber raft.

There are car manufacturers working to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles.

There are groups that fight injustice around the world. And there are many, many groups – American-based organizations – that fight poverty and hunger wherever it exists.

It seems to me that if we continue to find the value in life that we can reinforce that in the next generation. Maybe I’m being a little too idealistic to think we’ll stop wars, but at least we can teach our children and grandchildren that all life is sacred and a gift from God.

Most children know it fundamentally anyway. They’ll go out of their way to save a kitten or even a lizard.

Maybe in saving the smallest creatures we find a way to save ourselves.

Tammy Leytham is editor of The Times-Journal.