“Like every indigenous Fijian, I derive my identity and sense of belonging from
the vanua (land). Today, the land to which I belong is in crisis. The source of my identity is threatened by the immense changes being brought about by climate change. The seas rise a little more every year, and more frequent, more deadly, and more extreme weather events are occurring. We are working to safeguard a future that is not ours, but our children’s. If we are of one mind, one heart, and one spirit, we can challenge leaders and decision-makers to work effectively to end the calamity that surely awaits us if we continue blindly down this road.”
Lament As we enter the Lenten season, reflect on the great lament of creation and those who share it. Pray with people around the world: Creator, open my heart to the pain of your creation.
“Every day, I wake up to heaps of dirt around my neighbourhood emptying into the spring nearby and piles of plastic bottles in the gutters and farmlands. Every day, farmers complain of their poor harvest, and hunger is escalating. How long shall we continue to cry when we all can make the Earth a better place? The future depends on our actions today. Together we can reduce climate change.”
Connect The Lenten season is a time to meditate on the sacrifice of Jesus. Pray with people around the world: Creator, let me hear the cries of those who suffer for the way I live.
Azwini Ngum Nkwah
“There is a saying in my Māori culture that goes, ‘Ko te wai te ora ngā mea katoa,’ meaning ‘water is the life giver of all things.’ Climate change threatens to alter all that because it affects the natural patterns of our oceans and the sea life within it. As a seafaring people, we have relied on these natural resources to sustain our families for generations. The book of Genesis tells us that we are the responsible guardians of all living things. Let us not disappoint our Creator God.”
Commit During Lent, we commit to living more righteously. Pray with people around the world: Creator, give me strength to live in harmony with your creation.
And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things. But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my inheritance an abomination. (Jeremiah 2:7)
“Plastic litter is invading the sea. We see it floating. It is difficult to understand how the sea life survives in this. Even the children suffer from the pollution in our sea and on the land.”
Use your own water bottle. Plastic water bottles and other disposable dishware will not decompose for thousands of years. Commit to using your own dishware outside the home.
“Australia is a country where we have an incredibly high quality of life, so we are so protected from the worst impacts of climate change. We are much more likely to be responsible for climate change than to feel its effects. This is incredibly unjust. We will grow in spirit when we take responsibility for the environmental problems we cause.”
Take responsibility. Make a list of the items you throw away today. Identify wasteful items you can eliminate from your daily habits.
“Food waste undermines food security. In America, for example, we waste an unimaginable amount of food. 40 percent of all produce in the United States is thrown away while around the world 805 million people go to bed hungry each night I’ve set myself the goal of buying only the food I need and making sure I consume it all. It feels good to know I’m doing the right thing.”
Reduce food waste. Buy only the food you need. Eat or give away all the food you buy.
“Seeing trash in San Francisco is common. There aren’t sufficient trash cans available in certain areas. I have started the habit of taking my trash with me if a trash can isn’t available. I’m helping my city, and if everyone did the same it would make a big difference.”
Put waste in its place. When you do have waste, dispose of it properly. If you’re in an area without receptacles, put your waste in a bag or pocket until you arrive at a bin.
Sri Vani Yerramilli
“I saw a cow in the street eating a plastic bag. It broke my heart and I decided to organise a clean-up in my town Mbabane.”
Ditch plastic. Tote a small bag in your pocket or purse for impromptu purchases, and always take your cloth bag to the market.
“It hurts me to see the waste that flows down our rivers into the ocean, because we should be blessing God’s creation and making it flourish–not hiding all the wonder and beauty in it under so much litter.”
Recycle. Recycling avoids harmful ocean pollution. Recycling glass, plastic, paper, and aluminum is possible in many areas. If recycling facilities do not exist in your area, contact municipal authorities about providing them.
The Lord God took Adam and Eve and put them in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded them, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden” (Genesis 2:15-16)
“In the past, the land was so fertile that we did not even need fertiliser twice to harvest something. What has changed? The land is still the same but we are not able to harvest enough anymore.”
Nurture nature in your garden. Avoid chemical fertilizers and chemicals, which do grave long-term harm to the soil and waters. Instead, fertilize with mulch, compost, and manure, and use natural methods to remove pests.
“The Earth finds her beauty in trees, plants, and animals. Growing and planting them is clothing her in beauty. Growing plants, planting vegetables, and caring for animals is preserving life, beauty, and the completeness of creation. Let’s be pro-life.”
Try organic. Buy organically grown produce, which is produced without the most harmful pesticides and fertilizers.
“Factory farming causes billions of God’s creatures extreme pain and suffering every year. Factory farming is also a major driver of climate change and environmental degradation. God assigned us dominion over our fellow species to help care for and protect them and to look after our common home.”
Choose compassion. All of God’s creation deserves respect. Choose meat, eggs, and dairy that were farmed ethically and sustainably.
“What strikes me most is that most farmers in my state are moving away from farming to pursue daily wage jobs as they do not have sufficient customers to grow crops for the local community.”
Eat local and native. Foods that are grown close to home will be produced in-season, keeping with the rhythms of creation. Native foods will preserve the web of life in a local area. These foods will also support smaller-scale farmers.
Rhadhika Sri Paravastu
“I began to think about how the animals we eat are treated in the slaughterhouses. I became vegan ten years ago as a result. I have increasingly become aware that eating less meat makes an important contribution towards saving the planet, even though I attained my environmental credentials inadvertently.”
Eat less meat. Our tradition includes a weekly day without meat. Renew that tradition to protect the Earth from the massive greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation that commercial livestock cause.
“I love gardening; it is one of my favourite ways to relax, yet be creative. I compost so as to reduce dustbin waste, enrich the soil, have healthier plants, and get higher yields. It makes me feel content to obey God’s command to take care of the earth.”
Compost food waste. Food waste constitutes a large portion of the material in landfills, where it rots and creates methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Compost at home and in your parish to strengthen the soil and sequester greenhouse gas.
So God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. (Gen 1:27-28)
“When Mozambique was decimated with floods in 2000 it was called a natural disaster. Some of us in London thought differently. Our prayers were filled with a determination to make a change in our choices about energy use, reducing our contribution to climate change for the sake of God’s creation.”
Install LEDs. Increasing energy efficiency is the first step in stewarding the resources we’ve been given. Replace extinguished bulbs with efficient, long-lasting LEDs.
“Fuel poverty is the bane of our lives here in The Gambia. Daily power outages affect every aspect of our lives. We cannot conserve food or run our businesses. Our children cannot study properly; security is a problem; our hospitals cannot function properly and the list goes on. Resolving the power situation must be our number one priority and the focus must be on renewables.”
Conserve. Neither the blessing of abundant power nor the dirty fuels that often make it possible should be taken for granted. Set large appliances like refrigerators and water heaters on the lowest possible setting. Turn off anything that has a switch when you’re not using it.
Amb Crispin Grey-Johnson
“Coal mining in Australia presents both an environmental and social issue for local and national communities. Not only are towns uprooted when a mine first arrives, but the false economy of a mining boom often leaves towns diminished in culture, economy, and community when it is finished. I have seen these impacts while traveling around Australia and it has caused me great anxiety and worry.”
Go renewable. Commit to getting one piece of solar equipment in 2018. This could be a solar light, a solar charger for your phone, or solar panels for your home or parish.
Jamee Lee Callard
“Malawi depends largely on hydroelectric power for energy in both its industry and domestic uses. Persistent droughts and erratic rains caused by climate change have reduced water levels in Lake Malawi; as a result, Malawi is experiencing extreme blackouts that last a minimum of 24 hours. This affects all production in micro-enterprises and causes unwanted deaths in hospitals.”
Look beyond the power bill. The way electricity is generated in your area will have consequences for generations. Find out how electricity is produced in your region.
“Climate change is increasing the periods of drought and heat waves. The increase in average air temperature and the heat waves are increasing the rate of diseases carried by mosquitoes, which has led tos dengue fever in the Island of Madeira. When the rains do come they are very intense and violent, increasing the risk of flooding. Many of the people I know are suffering.”
Adjust your thermostat. Air conditioning and heating are both very energy-intensive. Adjust by as much as possible in solidarity with your brothers and sisters around the world.
“Many major Indian cities, including Mumbai, Pune, and Kolkata, feel the impacts of air pollution. Our kids’ lungs are aging faster than they are. Children often feel the physical effects of toxic air acutely. We want our children to live. We must all urgently act to stop air pollution.”
Choose smart transport. As well as contributing to climate change, burning petrol and diesel fuels creates air pollution. Carpool, use public transportation, walk, or cycle wherever possible. If a car is your only option, drive to increase fuel efficiency.
Dr. Mathew Koshy Punnackadu
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise. (Isaiah 43:19-21)
“An ecological disaster such as running out of water affects us all–from the wealthiest to the poorest. For the first time, those who have always had easy access to water will experience what it feels like to have little. A crisis such as this is an equaliser.”
Take shorter showers. Time how long it takes you to shower. Set a goal of reducing that time, and use an alarm to make sure you’re on track.
“The effects of climate change are real in Mozambique, with historic flooding in the north a drought in the south. It is amazing how much a change in water affects our day-to-day lives. This impacts on human’s wellbeing as well as all of God’s creatures.”
Re-use shower water to flush the toilet . Use a bucket to catch the water in your shower, and reuse it later for flushing.
“Rain is getting scarce, lakes and rivers are dry. Thus, our basic right to water is not respected. Our children are suffering from malnutrition and thirst.”
Get perspective. 4 of 10 people worldwide lack sufficient water, which starts at 50 liters per person per day. Look at your water bill and evaluate how your water use compares to that of people around the world.
Tsiry Nantenaina Randrianavelo
“The Chokwe district has huge agricultural potential since it is crossed by the Limpopo river. In the past, this area supplied major markets of the country. But because of increasing floods and droughts, we cannot irrigate in the same way. Due to our water problems, the agricultural area has shrunk by almost 75%.”
Wash dishes wisely. Reuse the water in a dishpan or stoppered sink to scrub loose food.
“In the Amazon, it is estimated that almost 70 percent of the region is affected by the changing climate. When there is a drought, rivers disappear and communities become isolated , making communication and travel impossible. It is predicted that these dry periods will become more frequent. We are committed by faith to agro-ecology that helps to protect the environment.”
Practice agro-ecology in water use. Water your garden in the evening or early morning, when the water evaporates less. Use a drip hose instead of a large nozzle. Install landscaping that suits the natural rainfall in your area.
“Cape Town is facing an extreme water shortage. It is predicted that our water will run out by May, and we will have to drink recycled wastewater. We are all under rationing. With 3 kids and 10 people total living in my household, I must come up with creative ways to stick to the limit of 87 litres a day. I need to do washing once a week, and with that water I fill buckets to flush the toilet, water the garden, and clean floors and windows. Water is used for everything: cooking, cleaning, drinking. It is not easy.”
Lower the flow. Most sink taps and shower nozzles allow much more water to pass through the pipe than is needed for the task at hand. Install low-flow fittings to limit your water use without sacrificing function.
Sheila- Ann Bennett
But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all humankind. (Job 12: 7-10)
“Long-term compassion for all within our ecosystem must replace the short-term lust to acquire more. ”
Celebrate the new way. For the Easter holidays, plan an outing in nature to rejoice in creation rather than consumption.
“Creation is a gentle friend, ever present to listen and share in my joy and sorrows. It’s not judgemental but instead gives freely its freshness and prosperity. It refreshes my inner being to share the joy that only nature can provide.”
Meditate on the gift of creation. Take a walk outdoors, contemplate the plants in your home, or simply close your eyes and focus on the feeling of sun and wind on your skin.
“In Western Canada where I live and work, we experience all four seasons. I love to take pictures as I explore and enjoy nature, which calms, excites, and inspires me. Nature speaks to me, and in photography, I respond.”
Capture your joy in creation. Start a daily or weekly journal or photography project to reflect on how creation strengthens your spirit, how you see it changing, and how you will protect it.
“More than 10 years ago, I took our youth on a hike from Rhodes to Kirstenbosch. Seeing the awesome beauty of Table Mountain up close and seeing that the young people were enjoying it, I knew that I could not keep this and all other hiking experiences to myself. I want to show off the beauty of God’s awesome creation with as many young people as possible, so that they can not only enjoy nature, but get to know the God that created all of this.”
Help others connect. Contact your pastor to lead a nature walk or meditation in your parish.
“Singing makes me feel close and connected with everything. There is great joy and gladness in song, and part of me believes that’s because song brings us closer as a human family. I hope that the Creator is pleased by songs of praise.”
Sing. Songs that praise the goodness of creation can help you connect with the joy of the creator. Sing a song about creation from your parish hymnal or family tradition.
“Pledging to protect creation has helped me better care for our common home. A pledge is a promise, a commitment that I have made to my creator and my community, and something that I deeply want to uphold. My pledge means a great deal to me.”
Pledge to care for creation. Pledge to pray, act, and advocate for creation. Learn more at LiveLaudatoSi.org
Maria Paula Vega