Tag Archives: population

The Wild Side of Cities: Urban Nature

sunset
Yes, there are ways to experience awe of God’ in creation while living in a city. Read on! Photo by Ed Brown.

Have you ever thought that growing a native plant garden or nurturing a few container plants on the balcony of your apartment would actually be a way to love your neighbors?  Close your eyes and imagine your “happy place”–somewhere you experience peace, calm, and feel most connected to God.  For most of us, that happy place is directly connected to God’s creation, whether it be a secluded beach, a forest, a mountain vista, or underneath a big oak tree.  Plenty of studies help explain what we already intuitively know: green spaces of nature are places where people let go of their stress and slow down from the busyness of today’s hectic lifestyles.  And the more diverse the number and kinds of species (biodiversity), the more beneficial the environment is on the mental health of people utilizing that space¹.  Your landscaping or mini container garden contributes to the health and well-being of your neighbors. Continue reading

Just water.

Photo credit: Erik NessFreshwater can cause entire nations to celebrate or mourn; water can transform a desert overnight into a cacophonous shout of color and life; a steady stream of water can become the anchor of commerce and community for centuries.  Water isn’t just the rain that falls or the lakes, marshes and rivers that define our geographical regions; but the groundwater, the aquifers, the glaciers, and polar ice caps.  Water means life.

Freshwater, though a seemingly abundant resource for those of us in the Midwestern United States, is quite precious and rare.  Do you know how much of the world’s water is freshwater? Less than 4%! Of that tiny bit, over 65% is trapped in glaciers and snow caps.  That leaves only 0.76% of the world’s water available to humans in rivers, lakes and underground aquifers. Think of the world’s total water (fresh and salty) as a gallon jug.  About ⅔  cup of it would be all the freshwater, but people can only drink, irrigate crops, and manufacture with ⅛ cup. 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

On living on a finite planet

Originally posted January 6th, 2011.  

 

Do we live in a world of limitations or one of potentially inexhaustible resources?

Wayne Grudem, writing in Politics According to the Bible, makes this rather astounding statement in an attempt to persuade his reader that there’s really nothing to worry about with regard to the global environmental crisis:

“Long term trends show that human beings will be able to live on the earth enjoying ever-increasing prosperity, and never exhausting its resources.” (p. 332)

I’ll be doing an in-depth review of Grudem’s book in the near future – let’s just say for now that it’s kind of hard to believe that he and I are living on the same planet.  Case in point: two different news items over the last couple of days: Continue reading

Will We Sustain Disruption or Disrupt Sustainability?

“Dude…Disruption? What disruption? My car is right here.” Cars and more were buried  in Buffalo, NY’s November 2014  snow-valanche of 6+ feet.  Image from Huffington Post, click for source.

We live in an age that stumbles and staggers over disruption after disruption. Each year, month, week, day, hour, even minute something new interrupts the normal progress or activity of life and society. Droughts prevent farmers in California from planting and harvesting. New ride services like Uber and Lyft prevent cab companies from getting all the customers they used to in cities large and small. An Ebola epidemic prevents traditional rhythms of embrace and connection in West African communities. A six foot November snowfall prevents travel and commerce in Buffalo, NY.

What does this mean? Will we sustain, that is endure or survive, disruption or will we disrupt sustainability and see disruption keep us from surviving and thriving?  How should we deal with disruptions? Should we, can we, hope to prevent them? Ignore them? Eliminate them? Control them? Reduce Continue reading

Discovering John Stott’s Special Place

hooksesMy wife Susanna and I recently returned from a four week working trip to the UK. (See my last post). One of the highlights of that visit was a week in Wales staying, just the two of us, at the Hookses,  an old farmhouse and outbuildings purchased by John Stott in 1954.  This was his personal retreat – he wrote all but the last of his books here – and is now a small retreat center. Our stay was a profound experience for me… Continue reading