Daily Newsings: 30th April

In today’s edition of The Hindu newspaper, two stories are quite interesting. The first story is about the warming of the Indian Ocean. According to an upcoming publication, the Indian Ocean had become warmer by 1.2 degrees Celsius between 1950 and 2020. Moreover, it is predicted to heat up a further 1.7 degrees Celsius to 3.8 degrees Celsius from 2020 to 2100.

These temperatures constitute what can be called “marine heatwave” conditions. In short, the Indian Ocean is in a near-permanent heatwave state.

The heating of oceans is connected to the rapid formation of cyclones. This means that due to the rising ocean temperatures we can expect to see more frequent cyclones causing destruction and havoc to our coastal areas.

The second story deserving our attention is about the poultry industry. Shreya Padukone from the Nalsar University of Law, writes about the treatment of chickens in poultry farms. In many farms, a number of chickens are cooped up together in extremely tiny wired cages or ‘battery cages.’ This creates a lot of air pollution and creates a bad odour around the area. Moreover, the high amounts of animal waste can lead to crops getting damaged and piles of waste becoming a breeding ground for flies and other such insects.

Poultry farms also use a number of antibiotics to ensure that the birds don’t die. These antibiotics can also be harmful to people who consume the meat.

The people affected due to such pollution are the people who live around poultry farms, people who work in these industries and people who consume the chicken from such farms — which is most of us.

Stewardship of the earth

Both of these stories are a reminder of the Biblical creation mandate. In Genesis 2:15, we see that when God created humans, he charged them to take care of the earth. Taking care of our ocean temperatures and the way we treat animals such as chickens all reflect our attitudes toward our stewardship of the earth.

What these stories show us is that being unconcerned about animal welfare can adversely affect human lives. Being unconcerned about climate change can adversely affect human lives as well.

A justice issue

This is also a matter of justice. When cyclones hit coasts, it is the poor and marginalized who are often the most affected. Poor conditions at poultry farms affect the people who work in such farms and people who live in nearby villages — often the poor.

Let us pray that we take better care of the created world around us — including the animals around us. Let us pray that the consequences of our actions do not adversely affect the poor and marginalized around us. And let us be mindful that sciences that study the environment and lead to better stewardship of the earth is one form of loving our neighbours as ourselves and leading to better flourishing of humanity.

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