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Green Disciples: Sustainability Starts With Each Of Us

Green Disciples: Sustainability Starts With Each Of Us

By Oluwabunmi Amosu

Genesis 2:15, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (ESV)

Genesis 2:15 introduces us to our responsibility to God's creation. In Genesis, God assigned man to work and preserve the garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden story shows that caring for the Earth is a sacred trust, not a duty.  Despite our sins and brokenness, God is still calling on us as Christians to steward the earth. 1 Corinthians 4:2 reminds us that as stewards we must be faithful and obey God’s commandments always. Hence, God’s command and love for the earth is clear, as it is the gift of his creation to us—a gift that we, as stewards of the earth, must preserve.

What does this gift of creation have to do with sustainability? Everything. Sustainability is the goal for us to live long together on earth. It is at the center of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are a set of 17 global goals adopted by all United Nations in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They are a call to action to protect the planet. They ensure that each of us enjoys peace and prosperity. This is what God desires for us in 3 John 1:2-8.

Goal 15 of the SDG’s, "Life on Land," reinforces the biblical mandate for all of us to be good stewards by highlighting the importance of preserving terrestrial ecosystems and protecting the environment. It sees the Earth's biodiversity and resources as important. As Christians, God has entrusted each of us with caring for the earth.

Yet, despite this call to earth stewardship, we often fall short. We overconsume and don’t always steward our resources well. These actions have led to higher temperatures and sea levels, devastating weather events and loss of biodiversity. These events show we must address climate change and protect the environment for the next generations.

Research says 1.6 billion people rely on forests for survival. Land supports over 80% of terrestrial species, such as animals, plants, and insects. Agriculture is a key global economic resource. It highlights the intricate link between human activity and the environment. Additional research shows 2.6 billion people rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. But how can we ensure that future generations inherit a planet that sustains life as we know it?

Understanding our role in God's creation story

Reinforcing the importance of integrating sustainable habits into education sets the foundation for future generations. Leuel is the principal of Arsi Negele School in Ethiopia.  He shares his thoughts on how he pushes his students to think about how they can live out God’s call for them to care for the earth using their heads, hands, and hearts. Leuel participated in an EduDeo workshop where he learned about techniques to show his students the role they can play as earth keepers:

“[Through the workshop], I was motivated to create the student clubs to implement the EEUC (Ethiopia Emmanuel United Church) vision in our school. Each club has their own activities in the school compound and even we have been looking at the progress. For example, the Earth Keepers planted some trees in the school compound and are watering them regularly. This activity is motivating students even to keep the earth in their home areas too.”

Initiatives like the Earth Keepers Club at Leuel’s school can have a profound impact on students. Doing hands-on projects like tree planting builds a sense of environmental responsibility. It also teaches key skills like teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership. Students learn to appreciate the link between their faith, the environment, society, and the economy, and it can equip them to become active agents of good in their communities.

By planting trees in the school and caring for them, students are a part of SDG 15 by promoting biodiversity and improving ecosystem health! Involving students in this helps them to understand the God’s role in all of creation – and how they are called to be a part of it!  

Earth stewardship is a calling from God, and many EduDeo’s international partners are finding creative and innovative ways to reveal this calling to their students in the classroom. EduDeo’s commitment to training teachers and school leaders with the practices to reveal God’s calling promote its mission to inspire transformative change in classrooms worldwide.

As we celebrate Earth Day on April 22, 2024, it is a timely reminder of God’s trust in us to care for the earth. This yearly celebration allows us to reflect on our relationship with God and the planet as well as to renew our commitment to environmental protection. For each of us, understanding and engaging with the SDGs is crucial. By aligning our actions with these goals, we fulfill our biblical trust to care for the Earth and lay the foundation for a healthier, more resilient planet for future generations.

 

Author:

Oluwabunmi Amosu

Bunmi is the Donor Relationship Manager at EduDeo Ministries. Bunmi is passionate about EduDeo’s dedication to working with local partner organizations to create long-term initatives that are tailored to the needs and strengths of each community.