An Activist Captain finds hope for our world
Hans grew up with a love of the sea. At a young age he joined a maritime organisation. He spent more than 40 years sailing the world, including more than 35 years as a ship’s captain. During those years, Hans witnessed the degradation and destruction of many of the world's most beautiful habitats, both at sea and on land. He was both saddened and angered by the chemicals and other wastes poured or spilled into the oceans. He saw wildlife killed or maimed by selfish human acts.
Toward the end of his career, he served as the captain of a vessel used by an environmental organization.
Hans says “I have always believed that mankind ought to respect the environment and treat nature with dignity. So when I was offered the chance to captain the ship of an environmental group, I accepted immediately. Our job was to expose threats to the environment. As soon as we planned a campaign at sea, we got the media involved to attract the attention of the public. We went to sea and took action to try to stop the dumping of radioactive waste and toxic substances. In another campaign, we tried to halt the slaughter of seals and seal pups.”
Hans became heavily and passionately involved in the organisation's activisim, being convinced that no world leaders cared enough to take action themselves. He felt that if he and his fellow activists did not take the extreme actions that they planned, our planet would face irreversible damage, and all life, including that of our children and grandchildren, would be threatened. But the protests they were involved in came at a heavy price.
“This was no job for the timid. I risked my life to protect the environment. In one protest act, I handcuffed myself to a ship’s anchor and ended up being dragged down to the seabed with it. Another time, I was in a rubber speedboat traveling alongside a larger ship. Someone dropped a heavy metal drum onto our rubber boat, causing it to somersault. I was seriously injured.”
Hans eventually realized that although the intentions of the organization were good, he was risking his life with little chance of making a lasting impact on the environment. He decided that he could not continue on this destructive path and he reluctantly, and sadly, left the organization. With a heavy heart, Hans had to face up to the reality that mankind would not change their ways and that our earth was destined for catastrophe.
Shortly after he left the environmental group, he was contacted by some people who were sharing the Bible's message of hope with everyone they met. Hans expressed his concern about the earth and wondered why God would allow such destruction to his creation. They showed him what the Bible had to say about our planet and about the future. What Hans learned changed his life forever and gave him new and real hope.
Hans learned that God is not aloof from his creation, whether human or the natural world but that he cares deeply about all life. But Hans also learned that, because of human selfishness and an insistance on doing things independently of their creator, there were consequences, for humans and for the earth. The Bible reveals that “God permitted the nations to go on in their own way” but only until “The appointed times of the nations” was over.
Hans learned two beautiful, re-assuring promises from the Bible, firstly that “God will bring to ruin those ruining the earth” and that “The earth endures forever.” In fact Hans was shown from the Bible that, those who would listen to God and show respect for our world could be among the “Meek who shall inherit the earth.” In the meantime the Bible urges keeping life simple and not obsessively pursuing material possessions. The Bible advises “Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth.” In fact one of the promises of Jesus is “Keep on seeking first God's kingdom and all these other (necessities) will be given to you.” Hans could see the great wsidom in those words, that if all people kept their lives simple, and stopped pursuing material possessions, our "carbon footprints" would almost vanish.
When Hans was shown the historical prophecies of the Bible that had already been fullfilled in incredible detail, it made him sure that God's promises for the near future were just as certain. Hans finally understood that humans would not solve this global crisis, but only God could and would, in the near future. Hans felt a weight lifted from his shoulders, that it was not his personal responsibilty to save this world. He was experiencing the fullfillment of Jesus' promise “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Today Hans is confident for the future and he spends his time sharing the amazing news from the Bible with as many people as he can. Although he still tries to make a differnce to our planet in the way he lives his life, Hans says “The Bible helped me realize that the only realistic hope of taking good care of the environment is through God’s Kingdom."