I watched a heart-wrenching National Geographic program on TV the other day. It was mostly about how we are abusing our planet, sometimes not even realizing it. One segment of the program documented the plight of a certain type of albatross, whose young are dying of starvation because their stomachs are full of plastic items. Albatross birds can live for eighty years, but many are dying before they can reach adulthood because their parents are feeding them plastic items that they mistake for food.
I was shocked that an albatross would think plastic items were food, and wondered how so much plastic could end up around the remote location where these birds live. Plastics pretty much never degrade, so any plastic items that make it to the ocean stay there forever, or until some animal eats them.
One of the scientists on the show was talking about how we’re misusing plastic. He pointed out that we’re using a material with super longevity as packaging for items that are consumed in moments. He said we should instead be using plastics for things that need to have very long lifespans, and find other materials to package consumables. I think he’s right.
All of this made me think some more about the general concept, a philosophy really, of temporal versus lasting things. Like the life of a soft drink or a bag of chips, our own lives are brief; yet we neglect eternal concerns, spending all our energies on vanities. Certainly we have to work to provide for our families and properly manage the lives we’ve been given; but most of us spend all of our time building things that will soon pass away.
I want to spend as much of my time as I can planning for eternity, forwarding the kingdom of God, lest I end this life carrying meaningless works in the packaging of my eternal soul.