From 2000-2008 it was my privilege to serve as chaplain in Lafayette Parish Correctional Center (LPCC).
One Cajun inmate from Canada fled to Lafayette for cultural/ethnic reasons. Before the Royal Mounted Canadian Police (Mounties) arrived early one morning to escort “Francois” back home I paid numerous visits to him because of his sadness and isolated feelings 1000 miles from home. The charges were minor and linked to a child custody matter.
Francois is an artist, musician who befriended Canadian conservationist David Suzuki (1937- ).
Quoting Suzuki to me one morning, Francois said: “If we don’t change drastically within fifteen years, we are toast!” The attentive Canadian audience asked Suzuki for some more positive information.
Prophetically, Suzuki replied: “Spend more quality time with your loved ones.”
*Suzuki was probably among nearly 200 Union of Concerned Scientists members who issued a warning “Humankind Is on a Collision Course with Earth” in 1992.
*Suzuki and other scientists appreciated support from a non-environmental body – the US Department of Defense. Two Pentagon reports warned US Commanders-in-Chief: “Climate Change Is a Greater Threat than Terrorism.”
*The 2015 mass migration of tens of thousands looking for a better life in Europe is the largest dislocation of humans since WWII. The present crisis is due to people fleeing wars, poverty, and joblessness. Hungary is constructing a wall on its border with Serbia to stem the flow. Diplomacy may reduce the agony of warfare, but an angry ocean does not negotiate with anyone. Norfolk, VA hosts the largest naval base in the world. “Commander Atlantic” has been invading homes of Norfolk for years. The invincible US Navy is unable to relocate such a bastion of global might.
*NASA scientists admit our ocean level rise will be much worse than predicted. Eight of the ten largest cities in the world are located on a coast. New York City, Shanghai, Mumbai (Bombay) will be threatened by storms and a warming, rising ocean. Who knows better than refugees fleeing New Orleans?
While living in Hong Kong in the 1970’s I witnessed how typhoons (Chinese word for “great wind”) and storm surges threatened four million people facing the South China Sea. They had nowhere to go but north into overcrowded crowded China. Hong Kong’s population is now seven million.
Migration of thousands in 2015 could evolve into millions by the next century. Low lying Bangladesh in 2015 has 156.6 million people precariously located on the Bay of Bengal. India has already begun construction of a wall to protect itself from “terrorists” while leaders in Delhi know a threatening ocean will surely send masses of survivors from its southern neighbor north into their overcrowded nation.
*Lest we forget, there are nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons in our atomic age. Cicero said: “Where there is life there is hope.” Plus time to spend with loved ones while we learn to obey Mother Earth more.