Singapore Students take Creation Care Seriously

We are often asked if all of our work at Care of Creation is making a difference in the world.  Are people listening? If so, what are they doing about it?  The following report out of Singapore by way of the IFES Prayerline newsletter answers that question.  Yes, people are paying attention.  And they are developing their own movements along the way!

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So you’ve just attended a conference or camp. The fellowship was fantastic! The worship was amazing! You’re excited and enthusiastic about the future!

But then… back to reality. There are essays to write, problems with relationships, families to keep happy, fun times and difficult times. The conference excitement and the lessons learned start to grow dim.

FES Singapore students are determined this will not happen to them. They want a recent equipping conference to be just the beginning of challenge and change in their lives. At the close of the conference they wrote their pledges on origami paper, folded them into aeroplanes, and flew them. Then they all picked up a plane and committed to pray for the person and their pledge.

They have also organised a follow-up journey together. Their aim is to bring ‘organic, self-propagating, bottom-up change’. Local projects focus on topics discussed at the conference, such as migrant workers, social media, social entrepreneurship and conversations in the public square. Two projects that will be promoted nationally focus on rest and creation care.

One of these projects centres around Psalm 24:1-2 – ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.’ If we really believe this verse, FES asks, how will its truth affect our lives? How can we be responsible caretakers of God’s world?

Here are three suggestions:

1. Spend time outdoors.
As a community, explore and enjoy the wonders of God’s creation. If you take time to be ‘in’ the natural world, you will see what a marvellous gift it is. This will help you want to take care of it.

2. Stop pursuing ‘gadgetry’.
Constantly buying new devices may be a form of idolatry. Furthermore, only a small percentage of discarded items are recycled, creating mountains of e-waste – over 3.4 million tons in the US in 2012 alone! Sadly, poor countries are importing e-waste in order to recover the valuable bits, but the salvage process creates hazardous liquids and gases that are impacting the health of people and the environment.

3. Minimise wastage.
If you buy only what you need, you will waste less. This equates to a smaller carbon footprint, but is also being a good steward of resources – all part of loving our neighbour.

Another initiative is called Sleep Singapore Sleep. Students are finding creative ways to encourage themselves and others to get proper rest in order to better deal with stress. As the university year starts they will give out inflatable pillows to incoming students with a verse from Proverbs written on them: ‘When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet’ (3:24). They want to work with the student affairs department in the university to open discussions about meaningful rest in a stressful environment.

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Keep up the good work, Singapore!

Good News, Major Insurance Companies Recognize Climate Change is Happening…But will that make a difference?

flooded-491245_1280
How will insurance companies handle increased risk of disasters, like flooding?

During the Q&A session I asked speakers at a March 19, 2015 Weston Sustainability Round Table about insurance and climate change.  Did insurance companies have the clout, perspective and willingness to advocate strategies that reduce the magnitude of climate change?  Would such businesses support a carbon tax?  For the record, “murky” seemed to characterize the situation as they described it.  Their answer parallels comments made by an Insurance industry expert who spoke on a Citizen’s Climate Lobby monthly conference call in 2014.  According to both presentations, insurance companies, and reinsurance companies in particular, recognize the reality of climate change and its human causes.  Unfortunately they have not, and likely will not, advocate for mitigation strategies (policies and techniques that dramatically reduce carbon pollution) to reduce the size of climate change.  Instead they will continue to modify their business models so they continue to make money.

That seems to mean they will assess and adapt to changing risks with tactics like higher premiums, higher deductibles, more exclusions and more property owner precautions.  More likely than not, they will at best advocate for adaptation strategies (e.g. better sewers and other flood control infrastructure).  Practically speaking, mitigation strategies such as Revenue Neutral Carbon Fee and Dividend, while good for humanity overall in the long run, won’t likely save the companies any insurance claims payouts in the next 10-30 years .   Steps today to  reduce green house gas emissions and carbon pollution won’t eliminate the impacts of climate & weather changes already happening due to current  levels  in the atmosphere.  Lobbying for mitigation, for cures to climate change, instead plunges them into a political firefight without improving next quarter’s, next year’s or even next decade’s profits. Lobbying for adaptation, on the other hand,  avoids politically contentious questions of human cause and responsibility while keeping them profitable for the time being.  It reduces the amount of damage and associated insured costs from the inevitable climate change induced extreme weather events.

Continue reading

I will serve my God’s Creation

By Luke Baine, board member of Care of Creation.  Luke, his wife Katie, and their dog live in Tennessee. 

from left to right: Care of Creation Director Ed Brown, Professor Emeritus Dr. Calvin DeWitt, and Care of Creation board member Luke Baine.
from left to right: Care of Creation Director Ed Brown, Professor Emeritus Dr. Calvin DeWitt, and Care of Creation board member Luke Baine.

It has been an honor to be a supporter of and involved with Care of Creation for the past few years. This past weekend they celebrated 10 years of service to God’s Kingdom. Care of Creation is an organization that loves the Lord and seeks to do His will by serving His Creation. This means both fishing for men and cleaning the tank!

crowd in sanctuary
Thank you to all the friends and partners of Care of Creation who were able to celebrate with us.

It was great to see the Staff who work tirelessly day to day and their fearless leader, Ed Brown. It was also encouraging to mingle among the many supporters who braved a perfect spring evening in Madison to celebrate 10 years of environmental missions and listen to the modern day father of Christian environmentalism, Cal DeWitt. As the sun set over Lake Mendota we were treated to videos from the two missionary families serving abroad, Craig & Tracy Sorely and Erik & Rachel Ness. Both families have experienced their share of struggle and success. It was a joy to learn more about their service to the Lord and His Creation. Cal then began to speak about how he came to be involved in environmental stewardship, and how we are called to “con” serve the Creation of our Father. He challenged us to serve the garden as we serve the Lord.

I believe that “Creation Care” is as much a secular issue as a Christian one. However, to call yourself a Christian, a Disciple of Jesus Christ, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit means that you are called to serve God, His Will, and His Creation. This means that environmental issues our planet is facing are every Christian’s responsibility. It is not about being preachy or feeling morally superior but humbly loving and serving God’s Creation.

ed, stacey, susanna
Stacey Gluck receives an award for her and her husband Fredric for their sacrificial service and dedication to the mission of Care of Creation.

My wife and I had a wonderful time in beautiful Madison, WI. Many thanks to Ed & Susanna Brown, Stacey & Fred Gluck, Brittany Ederer, Andrea Ebley, David Fine, and Kermit Hovey for putting on a wonderful evening.

With service, I look forward to the next 10 years of Care of Creation!

How do you pray about an oil spill?

Today is the 45th celebration of Earth Day.  Monday of this week was the fifth anniversary of the worst environmental disaster in US history, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The damage to the Gulf was more severe and longer lasting than even the pessimists predicted:

Cynthia Sarthou, executive director of Gulf Restoration Network, says that after five years, there are more questions than answers about what the lingering impact of the spill means.

“Dolphin deaths continue, oil is still on the bottom of the ocean, tar balls keep coming up,” she says. “And nobody really is able to say what we may find in five years, 10 years. It’s really distressing to me.”

Sarthou says there’s no certainty the spill won’t be a problem for generations to come. (NPR)

So, five years after this disaster, and 45 years after the nation started trying to do something about this kind of thing, we ask again, “How long?”   Below is a repost of one of our original commentaries on the oil spill from May 20, 2010.  The oil well had been gushing for a month already, and we asked:

How do you pray about an oil spill?

It’s a legitimate question:  The news is getting worse by the day for those of us many miles away, and no doubt by the hour for those living in the area of impact.  This morning we learned that some experts believe the amount of oil leaking may be much more than even the revised estimate of 5,000 barrels per day. More worrisome than that, there is now real concern that the oil may join the Gulf stream ocean current, which would send it around the tip of Florida and all the way up the East Coast of the United States, staining beaches and killing wildlife as it goes. Continue reading

What Role Does Faith Play? God Draws Straight with Crooked Lines…

Kermit Hovey pausing during a bike ride through a forested path in 2013.
Kermit Hovey pausing during a bike ride through a forested path in 2013.

“What role does faith play in you discovering and living your purpose?”  Last year I met Sterling Lynk, strategist and coach, at the Madison Non-Profit Day conference. He chose to interview me about that question and the particulars of my story of faith, purpose and work at Care of Creation.

In his article at www.mightypurpose.me, Sterling introduces the topic before sharing both an invitation to Care of Creation’s April 18th Tenth Anniversary Celebration and his interview with me.  A partial excerpt follows:

“Sterling Lynk: Tell us a little about Continue reading

A Better Earth Day?

Originally posted April 23rd, 2010.  We’re coming up on another Earth Day…how will you celebrate it?


courtesy Thomas Schneider
courtesy Thomas Schneider

Pastor Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing MI has posted some comments on how Christians can celebrate Earth Day “better”  over at his blog. This is a response to that post.

While I appreciate Pastor DeYoung’s sincere desire to “build a Christian foundation” (his very good image) under the concept of Earth Day, the ‘bricks’ he is using to build that foundation, most of which were purchased somewhat uncritically from Jay Richard’s Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition, could have been baked a little longer.

Here are his ‘bricks’ and my thoughts in response: Continue reading

A Conversation about God, His Creation and Our Role in Creation