Tonight marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. As the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life points out, Rosh Hashanah is, among other things, a day of remembrance. And one of the things that Jews remember during this time is the creation of the world. The holiday is also the beginning of a period of introspection and repentance. So it only seemed appropriate that it was today that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature released their the 2007 Red List of threatened species.
For those of you who don't know, the Red List is one of the most authoritative and widely recognized compilations of animals and plants in danger of extinction. Today's update reports declining populations of great apes, including gorillas and orangutans, around the world. Several species of corals have been added to the Red List for the first time, as have seventy-four species of seaweed, and over seven hundred reptiles.
All of which puts me in mind of Genesis 9:2: "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered."
I hope that next year we learn to take that charge more seriously.