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Restoring the Earth

January 12, 2020

Sea otters, Authors Dave Bezaire/Susie Havens-Bezaire, Source flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

Mankind is failing at stewardship.  Around the globe, a million species face extinction [1].

But over the past 50 years scientists have discovered something of crucial importance to restoring damaged habitats.  The earth has the capacity to heal itself, if keystone species are allowed to return [2].

Keystone Species

Bob Paine, Prof. Emeritus of Zoology at the University of Washington, first coined the term “keystone species”.  These are animals of central importance to the ecosystems they occupy.

Jim Estes, Prof. of Ecology at the University of California/Santa Cruz, found that sea otters are the keystone species in the Aleutian Islands.  They prevent spiky urchins from devouring the kelp forests which support dozens of underwater species.  Without otters, urchin barrens result.

Role of Predators

Predators, it turns out, regulate the health of an entire community, from the top down.  This rule applies from the Equator to the Poles.  In North America, for example, deer overgrazing is threatening forests, in areas where wolves have been removed.

And keystone species do not need to be predators!  On the Serengeti in Tanzania, Tony Sinclair, Prof. of Zoology at the University of British Columbia, found wildebeest to be the keystone species.

Damage to Creation

God created this beautiful world, with its myriad complex relationships.  God designed His creation with built-in safeguards.  But He gave us the ability to over-ride those.

Tragically, since the Fall of man, we have had the predilection to do that, damaging creation in the process.  Human beings have taken possession of the earth with a vengeance – eliminating any predators viewed as standing in our way.

Christ Our Keystone

What we have forgotten is that Christ is our spiritual keystone.  Our connection to Him is vital.  Without Him, our world is out of kilter.

Christ alone restored the relationship between God and man.  His wounds healed our own.

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (Rev. 21: 1).

[1]  National Geographic, Kingdom of the White Wolf, Season 1, Episode 1, “The Search”,

[2]  Maryland Public Television (MPT), Nature, Season 38, Episode 2, “The Serengeti Rules”, .

With the wildfires currently raging, our hearts go out to all Australians.


From → Christian, Religion

  1. What a wonderful and informative post Anna. Being a dyed in the wool country boy I am well aware of the damage we have done to our environment. I believe our intentions are largely good and that we mean well, but man has failed in his understanding that he is not at the top of the apex. Consequently, we have done such horrific damage to our fragile ecosystems that it will likely take centuries for them to heal themselves, if that is even possible.

    What has happened to the Everglades here in Florida is a perfect example. God provided a natural cleansing system for dirty water to be cleansed in the miles and miles of grass “rivers” before it returns to the ocean. Due to over-development, excessive chemical applications, and poor agricultural practices those same “rivers of grass” are now too small to do what nature intended they do. The results are staggering. Filthy water now lines the beaches, and algae clogs the local canals and rivers. All because man couldn’t leave well enough alone.

    All of this is so unnecessary! If we would follow God’s plan for our lives, living in harmony with His creation would be automatic. I guess this is just one more aspect of the new heaven and new earth that we will get to enjoy for all of eternity: it will never be polluted or destroyed in any way!

    Have a wonderful day my friend!

    • Thank you for sharing, Ron. Both overfishing and overdevelopment are issues here in Maryland. The bounty of the Chesapeake is at risk. Meanwhile farmland is being bulldozed for more suburban housing.

  2. Great post Anna,
    You are so right that without Jesus our world is out of kilter..
    So many look to science or legal battles to restore the earth but as you know, the Bible holds the answers. Because God promised, the land of Israel is thriving. They offered the Palestinians information on agriculture and water sourcing, but they declined the offer.
    God’s blessing on a nation is what it takes to prosper.

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