Sherri Kirkpatrick, member of the Community of Christ Earth Stewardship Team
That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of bread. While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” -Luke 24:33-36
It seemed so environmentally friendly. A village in Kazomba, Malawi, offered to make mud bricks to build a community center where volunteer sinkhani health workers could weigh babies, have classes for mothers, and provide loving and healing activities for orphans. The mud bricks seemed like such a good idea! There was little or no cost: the materials were free and the local folks provided the labor. In addition, the mud bricks were 100% recyclable once their purpose had been served.
It was also the perfect partnership. The African tribal chiefs donated the land, the community made the mud bricks, HealthEd Connect provided construction resources, and the sinkhani organized the life-changing programs.
Then we learned the government had a major objection to this plan. They strongly discouraged the use of mud bricks and instead suggested cement blocks. Our first reaction was one of frustration and dismay at the newly emerging government policy. It was so obvious that the mud bricks were more environmentally friendly.
Our opinion changed, however, when we learned why the government was advocating for cement blocks. Mud bricks require hours of intense firing in a homemade kiln fueled by endless cords of firewood. This huge demand for firewood is creating a nationwide crisis as deforestation has become rampant, causing erosion which, in turn, affects the climate and food production, ultimately contributing to famines. A compromise was eventually reached by purchasing commercially-fired mud bricks which require less firewood.
Choosing the best way to protect our planet and leave the minimum carbon footprint isn’t always obvious. Being a good steward requires research and open-mindedness to determine the best or, at a minimum, least harmful practice. As new, compelling data become available, we must be on the forefront to protect our beloved Mother Earth before we’ve caused even more irreparable damage.
“What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations” (Psalm 104: 24 The Message).
Spend a few minutes outside each day this week. Whether sunny and warm, or rainy and cold, be present in whatever condition the day brings. Invite your senses to awaken to the sounds, smells, and feelings of creation around you. Remember that you, too, are part of creation. Confess the ways you sometimes forget that you belong with all that lives. Give thanks for the ways you are daily sustained by the gifts of the Earth. Awaken to the sacredness and beauty that can be found wherever you are. Commit to one act of Earth healing this day.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.