Tag Archives: nature

A Tale of Two Cities

I flew into Dubai early yesterday morning from a two week stint in Kenya and Tanzania.  Coming from one of the least developed areas of the world – I spent a week without electricity and running water – into one of the most developed cities on earth and home to the world’s tallest building, I was reminded of this article which I wrote for The Other Journal three years ago after a similar trip.  Enjoy…

There are few air hops that will give you a greater contrast than the four-hour trip from Nairobi to Dubai.

Nairobi is the capital of one of the poorer nations in the world, the home of the infamous Kibera slum, and a textbook case of how population growth, rapid unplanned development, and massive environmental degradation result in poverty and human suffering. Flying out of Nairobi, you can see signs of distress in every direction just by looking out of the plane window.

Dubai is one of the wealthiest cities on earth. Flying into Dubai, evidence of prosperity is as obvious as the poverty of Nairobi. High-rise buildings grow out of desert sands, massive highways clog with traffic. The terminal itself is more of a shopping mall with jetways than an airport: a temple to consumerism. Every imaginable gadget, garment, and trinket is on offer at prices that may be as low as anywhere else in the world.

But there’s another way to look at these cities. Let’s rewind and put on a different set of glasses:

Read the rest of the article here.

If the theme interests you, pick up a copy of my latest book, When Heaven and Nature Sing at careofcreation.net or on Amazon.

How abusing God’s creation makes natural events unnatural

DSCN6254This post comes to you from an airport lounge in Nairobi, Kenya, where I am waiting for my flight to Tanzania to visit the new Care of Creation project in Iringa.  Meanwhile, I am thinking of the many people, sights and sounds from the last week.  One of the most important events is actually one that happened on April 28, a week before I arrived, when an unaturally large rainfall event caused a portion of the mountain above the community where our project is located to slide down.  Such an event is a natural part of God’s creation – or is it?

The evidence of God’s grace and mercy in the aftermath of the April 28th landslide in Kijabe, Kenya, is clear.  The slide happened after midnight on a Saturday night, so the path the slide took down the main street of the town (which runs straight down the slope) hit no vehicles, no houses and  no people.  It did wipe out several hundred meters of the boundary fence of Rift Valley Academy, and could have done serious damage to a local high school and the famous Kijabe Christian Hospital but for a strong fence and row of trees at the bottom of the street – and because of the damming effect of a railway line above the town – but we’ll come back to that in a minute. Continue reading

Looking for Hope on Earth Day #44

“Hope springs eternal,” we say, and Earth Day certainly demonstrates that truth.  Earth Day was founded in hope in 1970; as you will read below, we are still hopeful.  The question is, should we be?  In the face of all of our challenges, where should we look for real hope?  These are my Earth Day #44 thoughts (see some earlier year’s thoughts here and here:

Madison Wisconsin, can arguably claim to be the historical center of the modern US environmental movement.  This small city has direct connections to many of  the movement’s pioneers:  John Muir (Yellowstone National Park), Aldo Leopold (“Sand County Almanac” and many other works), Sigurd Olsen (The US/Canadian Boundary Waters), Gaylord Nelson (founder of the first Earth Day), and Cal DeWitt (Au Sable Institute).  Perhaps because of these historical connections, the current voices of the environmental movement can often be heard in this city, and what these voices are saying – and not saying – is worth noting. Continue reading

The Victory that is Easter

Every year I try to write an Easter-themed devotional. (See some previous posts here.)  Here are this year’s thoughts on the occasion of Holy Week.  This will be emailed to our newsletter list in a few days, but as many on this blog and on our Facebook pages don’t get the newsletter, here’s your copy early.  Enjoy – and let me know what you think in the comments.

It is the start of Holy Week.  We Christians of whatever label take time this week to remember and celebrate events that are at the heart of our faith:  A coronation march into an ancient city.  A sham trial.  A barbaric execution.  An unexpected finale with earthquakes, empty tombs, and wild rumors.  And finally, a dead man come to life.  Euphoria, despair, confusion, victory – all in one short week. Continue reading

Creation Care, Sri Lanka style

One of the highlights of my job is the opportunity to correspond with people from all over the world.  If it is true that the environmental crisis pays no attention to national boundaries, it is equally true that the Spirit of God is moving his people to respond to that crisis in every corner of the world.  Many of those involved in this kind of ministry are simply following their own instincts as they respond to what they see happening in their own regions.  Here’s a neat story from a friend and brother I haven’t met – Damitha – about how he and his family became involved with creation care as a means of ministry.  Enjoy – and if you like what you read, ‘like’ his work on Facebook (see the link at the end).

Sri Lanka is a country blessed with rich plant diversity, 4000 plant species and 800 are endemic to the country and long cultural heritage more than 2500 years combined with ancient agriculture and most of these plants were well utilized in building up healthy rural communities.

In Sri Lanka, God has blessed us with a wide variety of indigenous plant species that can be used for food, medicines, buildings, animals and birds. They are connected with ethical, cultural, spiritual and social activities recognized from earliest days of human history useful in solving global acute health problems.

Continue reading

What about me? I want to camp…

There are times when one line makes a movie.

Halfway through The Descendants  with George Clooney, I wasn’t really sure where the film was going.   There are a lot of plot layers in this story and it is not at all clear in the middle that the director is going to be able to pull them together:  We have a comatose wife whose marital dalliances surface only after her accident; a teenage daughter with drug issues at the beginning of the film who becomes a pillar of strength for her Dad and sister; a not-very-bright boyfriend who turns out to be emotionally wise and unexpectedly smart; an extended family of ‘cousins’ descended from one of the last kings of Hawaii with fascinating, mostly unexplored relational dynamics; and a land development scheme that is about to make them all rich – but at price of losing one of the last unspoiled pieces of island land. Continue reading