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According to religious sources that believe the Earth to be only 5,776 years old, today marks the date in 2105 BCE when Noah’s Ark lodged on the still-flooded summit of Mount Ararat in Armenia. Current projects to save species from global climate change and other sources of habitat destruction include The Frozen Ark, a consortium of zoos that save DNA samples from endangered species; Saving Species, which mobilizes science to drive conservation decisions; the International Fund for Animal Welfare; Sea Shepherd, which is oriented towards the oceans; and numerous other groups oriented towards individual species and/or regions of the planet. Harvard’s esteemed biologist and insect expert E.O. Wilson urges in his new book HALF-EARTH that approximately half the planet be set aside as a wildlife refuge to allow the planet’s diversity to recover and flourish. “When Noah, on leaving the ark, saw the destruction wrought on the world, he began to weep, saying: ‘Lord of the world, You are merciful; why have You not pitied Your children?’ God answered him: ‘Foolish shepherd! Now you implore My clemency? Had you done so when I announced to you the Flood, it would not have come to pass.” —Midrash Tankhuma
Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.