We have mentioned before the value of mangroves and barrier islands for protecting areas prone to hurricanes. Mangroves are essential for many reasons, including solving today’s freshwater and climate change issues.
Mangroves grow in brackish waters that are a mixture of saltwater and fresh. For that reason, they grow in delta areas where rivers enter the sea or in coastal areas with massive amounts of rain. Mangroves can filter out 90% of the salt in seawater that enters their roots, and the mangrove root systems provide a place where marine organisms lay eggs and raise their young. Recent research has shown that mangrove forests store up to five times more carbon than any other land-based forests, storing 87% of that carbon in the soil beneath their roots.
Mangroves are essential for many reasons. They stop shore erosion, sequester carbon, provide a barrier to storm surges, and make a place for marine organisms to lay eggs and raise their young. They also offer a home in coastal areas for bees to build their hives and birds to build their nests. As a result, the honey industry gets much of its wild honey from mangrove forests. In addition, bird watchers have identified many bird species that depend on mangroves for secure nesting areas.
God gave us all kinds of plants to provide for our needs. From the desert cactus to the evergreens in cold weather areas to the seaweed in the oceans to the land trees we use for wood, plants are essential creations of God. Unfortunately, research shows that humans have eradicated 50% of the mangroves in the last 50 years, and we will pay a heavy price for the loss. We must learn to use these incredible resources wisely.
If you believe everything you read about science and technology in magazines and newspapers, you might want to question how much of it is factual. The way the media presents the stories, you might get the idea that science and technology are making such rapid advancements that in a few decades, we will solve all of the problems of humanity. There is no question that incredible advances have been made in medicine and agriculture. However, what many people don’t realize is that while some critical areas are advancing, others seem to be losing ground.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us: “An American mom today is 50% more likely to die in childbirth than her own mother was.” The primary cause seems to be that health professionals have biases causing them to overlook symptoms. Food shortages are also creating an increase in disease and death due to malnutrition. The primary cause is that there has been a 20% drop in the abundance of food production in countries that depend on their domestic food supply. Humans have reduced the population of pollinators, including wild bees, endangering crop production. Over-fishing is beginning to threaten the primary source of protein for billions of people. The human destruction of mangrove forests and coastal coral reefs has placed 300 million people at increased risk of flooding.
God has given us not only the resources to feed every human on the planet today, but also the way to live with each other to allow the maximum potential for the food and medicine to reach the people who need it. The Genesis account tells us that God gave Adam everything he needed and that by the sweat of his brow, he would be able to eat. Humans have allowed power and control to rule what we do. We have made money and possessions the focus of our activity instead of focusing on God and serving others. In the process, food has become a weapon. Instead of “taking care of the garden, dressing and keeping it” (Genesis 2:15), we have exploited and abused the good things God gave us.