Eli Reed, an African-American journalist and photographer, laments the grim future he saw for America during the 1990s L.A. Riots. “The past has become the present and perhaps the future,” he laments. Speaking to whites, Orientals, and black Americans, “Racism is claiming another generation.”
Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., in his book Hazardous Waste in America, sounds an alarm about the disposal of hazardous wastes. The disposal of wastes has arguably become the most significant environmental problem of our day–as any Somerset County resident will tell you. Rural America–like around our homes–has borne the brunt of the hazardous waste problem. Land is cheap and sparsely populated. So, tainted needles from a Manhattan hospital end up in a Nanty Glo landfill! The ultimate destruction of farmland and ground water will cost billions of dollars . . . and how much are our lives worth?
The destruction of the world’s forests has become a crisis in the earth’s ecology. During the 1800’s and early 1900’s many of the large forest areas of industrialized nations were eliminated through logging efforts and the creation of farmland. In the latter part of the 20th century the problem has extended to the vast tropical rain forests of Latin America and Southeast Asia. Poverty-stricken nations are anxious to realize the short-term profit that comes by selling to wealthier nations luxury goods that can be produced by large-scale deforestation and conversion of forest land to pasture (with thanks to Ms. Vera White for this information!). The long term effects of this massive deforestation include soil erosion, decrease in oxygen supply, depletion of clean ground water sources, destruction of habitats for many animals, and the wiping out of vast numbers of wildlife species.
There is a church in the East End of Pittsburgh that, in 1983, had $176,000 in the bank. They figured that given the average life of their congregation, that the majority would die in the next ten years. They also decided that therefore they had nothing to worry about and settled down to do nothing, in effect, and enjoy their income. They were right in one sense: most of them were dead by 1993. But they were wrong in another way: they did not have enough money to stay alive for ten years!
In Isaiah 39, Hezekiah is in a pretty precarious position. Judah, King Hezekiah’s kingdom, had the dubious honor of being strategically placed between hovering superpowers. For years, Hezekiah and his predecessors had taken care not to offend these powers. The time had come, though, when peace no longer seemed possible . . .