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Spirit of Justice: White Rabbits, God’s Creation, and the Endangered Species Act

By Marcia Ostendorff

I am having a White Rabbit Moment. 

“Oh, dear. Oh, dear. I’m late! I’m late!” wails the White Rabbit as he scurries along the riverbank  and past Alice. Remember the opening scene of Alice in Wonderland written by Lewis Carroll?

This article is very late. But, I am hoping it won’t matter too much. Even though our National Endangered Species Day is officially observed on the third Friday every May (May 19th this year), the protections for endangered species should be considered and honored every day of the year. The day is intended to encourage learning about wildlife and the actions we can take to protect the plants, animals and other critters who share our living space. 

A reminder that our actions make a difference…

The Endangered Species Act turns 50 this year. Always a bit of a controversy, the ESA was never perfect.  It was meant to be a starting point and has caused real problems for many farmers and construction crews. Even so, the ESA has protected many ecosystems we did not know we should care about. After losing many plants and animals we do care about, scientists have come to realize ecosystems are connected and the ESA protects more than just endangered species that live in one particular place. 

North Carolina is home to over 200 endangered species. We like to call our Land of the Longleaf Pine “God’s Country”! And, it is. I do believe the incredible beauty all around us is a gift from God. And, we should care for it, protect it, and preserve what we can. It is given for our use and benefit. However, we have found great benefit mentally, physically, and emotionally by using resources carefully and in preserving wildlife whenever we possibly can. Thank you to the powers that be for our Greenway Trails! As we go through our day, we make decisions in how we use those gifts. Small decisions can make a big difference. “I am only one person” you might say. I am constantly picking up bits of plastic and putting those scraps of waste in a trash bin. I get dirty looks and snarky comments. And, yes, I wash my hands. But, I can’t leave this mess behind on the ground. No, I cannot collect it all, but I can start with one chunk at a time. I am only one person. But, we have 8 billion people on the planet. What happens if we all pick up one piece of trash every day? Or, recycle one can? Or, turn off the tap when brushing our teeth. Or, plant one native plant? We do make a difference, intentional, or not.

“Always in life, an idea starts small…” Bryce Courtnay, The Power of One. 

Primatologist, Jane Goodall asks us all, “What kind of difference will you make?”

It is not too late to appreciate what we have and begin to protect God’s gift.