Visitors to London Zoo last autumn stood enthralled, watching the family dynamics of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger playing out before them. The two newborn cubs, instinctively mischievous, repeatedly pounced and climbed up their 280-pound father, claws unsheathed. Crowds admired this tiger, built for predatory power, turning his obvious annoyance into gentle reprimands. The scene is reminiscent of Aslan the lion, whom C. S. Lewis used to capture some of the attributes of God—tender but also powerful and “not a tame lion.”
Today, these majestic cats are the focus of World Wildlife Day, along with the other big cats that are under threat on our watch—no, because of our watch. Habitat loss, conflict with people, and poaching are just some of the reasons for their drastic declines. There has been a 95 percent drop in tiger numbers over the last hundred years and a 40 percent drop in African lions over just 20 years.
There is something oddly satisfying about rock pools. These are natural playgrounds for children, and I love seeing the delight in their faces as they turn over rocks, not knowing quite what they are going to find. Children seem to thrive on the everyday wonders that surround them, like seeing “… A universe in a grain of sand…” (William Blake – Auguries of Innocence). Continue reading →
One of the main issues for conservation is communication. How can scientists share their knowledge with the people whose behaviour is affecting the land? This is one of the questions that drew zoologist Stephanie Bryant into Continue reading →
The oceans are the least explored place in the world. They are a source of great beauty and value to ourselves as a source of food, water and so many other ‘ecosystem services’, as well as having their own intrinsic value. Marine conservationist Bob Sluka has featured on this blog a number of times, and in this month’s podcast he shares his appreciation of the beauty of the oceans, and how that relates to his faith. Continue reading →
Bob Sluka is a marine conservationist whose work feeds directly into his faith. In this short video series Bob explains how he came to be working in marine biology, and how his science and belief fit together. To find out more about Bob’s work, and the experience of awe in science, see God in the Lab: How Science Enhances Faith (Monarch, 2015).
There is a place in Portugal where people of faith use their knowledge of ornithology, botany, ecology and other environmental sciences to serve God by studying and conserving whole ecosystems. Visitors help with bird ringing, observing and recording the different plants and animals in the surrounding area, and join in with every aspect of community life.
It can sometimes feel as if science needs to be justified by a useful outcome or reason other than simply exploring the world in itself. This was certainly the case for Bob Sluka, who struggled to see science as an integral part of his life as a Christian. Over time, he has learned that science is important in itself, and can be part of a Christian’s worship of God. In this podcast Bob shares his thoughts on this, and his experiences of awe in the ocean.