Monarch Butterflies and Malaria Fever

In the language of medicine, symptoms of a problem or disease are often what help professionals diagnose the root cause.  If a person has malaria,  he or she will exhibit symptoms like a fever, the chills, and feeling achey.  Of course, many of us have experienced those signs and we just have the flu.  Context is also crucial: malaria is only found in certain areas of the world, and only carried by certain mosquito species.  Symptoms can point a doctor in the right direction, but a closer examination like an MRI, X-ray, or blood test usually provides the definitive proof of the problem.

So what in the world do monarchs have to do with malaria fever?

Migration map of monarch butterflies. Chris Brackley/Canadian Geographic

In the United States, Continue reading

Get ready: the river is rising

We have several goals for and overlapping audiences among the readers of Our Father’s World. Sometimes we want to inform you with up to date and accurate reporting of the status of God’s creation. Our occasional pieces on the fate of the monarch butterfly are an example of that. Sometimes we seek to persuade you, if you need persuasion, that there are serious problems and complacency is not an option. And sometimes we are just trying to share with you our own experiences and viewpoints as we, like you, struggle to figure out how to live lightly in a world that has been damaged by our lifestyle.

This post is different. Many of our readers are working, full-time or part-time or as volunteers, in the field of creation care. I’ve been doing this work for 15 years, and there are many who have been at it much longer than that. This “ministry”, for that is really what it is, can be lonely and discouraging. So much evidence of trouble, so many years of teaching, so little response.   So consider this a bit like a pastoral letter to those of us who have given our lives to this work, and occasionally need to be reminded of why we’re doing what we’re doing. Continue reading

Care About the poor? Care about creation!

Bob Lupton, founder of FCS Ministries, Atlanta, GA.
Bob Lupton, founder of FCS Ministries, Atlanta, GA.

Why should we care about creation? Why should we care about the poor? I suspect you can think of many reasons on your own.   I want to stimulate your thinking with some reasons by Bob Lupton of FCS Ministries.  Over many years I have admired him from afar for his writings inspired by deep work with the poor in urban Atlanta.  He agreed to let me share his blog post, “The Poor Are Always With You” below.  Bob makes a wonderfully faithful case that God calls us to  care for the poor not in the spiritual or the abstract but in the physical and the concrete, not as disembodied souls but as bodies in creation.

As you read, I invite you to reflect further on the intertwining nature of these concerns.  I hope you come to appreciate that each encourages the other.   If we care about and for the poor as God invites, we will want to care about and for creation.  If we care about and for creation, we will want to care about and for the poor.  And just as there will always be a place for compassion, generosity and thoughtfulness towards the poor, there will also be such a place for those attitudes towards creation.    Continue reading

The Value of Nature

This is a cross-posting from our good friends and fellow creation care laborers at the A Rocha USA blog.  
Part II of a discussion of the EARTH series on PBS.
Author: Tom Rowley, A Rocha USA Executive Director.
Female hummingbird. What’s her value? Who determines that?

The big idea behind PBS’ wonderful new series EARTH: A New Wild is that nature is lovely AND valuable. And that the key to protecting nature lies in its value. In the words of series host Dr. M. Sanjayan, the conservation movement must embrace “the notion that unless human communities account for the value of nature, saving nature will rest precariously on the frivolity of loving nature.” And furthermore that humankind must understand that “neglecting nature has consequences not just for wildlife, but for us as well.”

Agreed and amen.

But when Dr. Sanjayan goes on to say Continue reading

“Be Fruitful and Multiply–Everybody

This is a cross-posting from our good friends and fellow creation care laborers at the A Rocha USA blog.  

By Tom Rowley, A Rocha USA Executive Director

American bison. CC License.

Last Wednesday, PBS launched a terrific new television series: EARTH A New Wild. Done in collaboration with Conservation International and Nature Conservancy (both of whom have partnered with A Rocha in the USA and abroad), the show focuses on the inextricable link between humans and nature. We are part of nature. We are mutually dependent. And neglect of one hurts the other.

All of which is a bit Continue reading

Is loneliness an environmental concern?

Originally posted February 1, 2009.

“Half of the apartments in New York City are occupied by single individuals.”

Modern Loneliness - from Flickr (Le Pere, Creative Commons License)
“Modern Loneliness” – from Flickr (Le Pere, Creative Commons License)

Listening to To the Best of our Knowledge on NPR this morning, that phrase jumped out at me.  The topic for the morning was loneliness and solitude, and for the most part, the comments were interesting if predictable.  Yes, our culture has made us lonelier than we’ve been in the past.  No, there is no difference between men and women – both genders are equally lonely, though (again, predictably) men tend to be less likely Continue reading

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