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By: Nondumiso Langa

Last year was one of the most prestigious years for South Africa. The annual United Nations Conferenceon Climate change was held in Durban, COP17( conference of the parties) as it was popularly known. I will not dwell much on the events of COP17 but two events that stood out for me was a multifaith rally organised by the We Have Faith campaign and the civil society march. Their main objective was to remind governments that the earth does not only belong to them but the people as well and more importantly, the creator. Their mandate was clear- they wanted an extension on the 1997 Kyoto protocol and make it a legally binding agreement. They wanted  to pressurise the South African Government as well as other nations attending COP17, to set targets to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions so that the rise in temperature would remain below 1.5 degrees centigrade.

When God created man, He gave him authority to take care of the earth. Taking care of the earth is a form of worship to God and it is thanking Him for the wonderful world He made. After all, we do find God everywhere, even in nature.

Ngibabaza okwenzileyo Nkosi lomhlabaosenzele wona, ezulwini
ngibon’izikanyezi nay’imvula ivela phezulu umoya wami uyakudumisa umukhulu simakade’. “Ekuqaleni komhlaba wayekhono ulizwi
wayenguNkulunkulu eno Nkulunkulu konke kwavela ngaye okudaliweyo wadala
izulu nomhlaba”.

The earth that God made is beautiful but why do we destroy it? What is the value of money that Gods’ world should be destroyed? Why should we destroy forests, mountains, rivers, etc, all in the name of making profits, when God has given us free resources eg. sun, wind, grass for biogas. Why do countries spend billions on military forces but fail to contribute 100 million for the green fund in order to achieve sustainable development?. A beautiful environment starts with God at the centre of everything. The church needs to play a vital part in achieving environmental justice. ‘How?’ you ask, even though reusing, recycling,reducing and recovering forms a part in decreasing carbon emissions. People all over the world are running because of climate change but there is nowhere to hide because everyone is affected. When the world is destroyed, God’s signs are also destroyed but there is still mercy. If the church was able to be at the forefront of the fight against apartheid, slavery and segregation then it will also be able to help achieve climate justice. The church needs a voice, it needs to speak out, play a part in government and preach about taking care of the environment.

Become an eco-congragation.

We should all go back to the basics of agriculture. Have a garden at a church with a worm farm for compost. We all know that some things at church need money and at times we want to give but there isn’t anything to give. But by having recycling stations we have income, we get cash for scrap. Make churches energy-efficient, these are just some of the things that will help us attain the environment we want. It is the little things that we do that count and they lead to bigger things and we all need to start somewhere. If everyone does, it imagine how it will impact the world.

During the course of the year I will further discuss the benefits of becoming an eco-congragation and turning green. If you reside in Johannesburg, please make time to visit the Greenhouse project in Joubert Park near park station and Wandares. While you are reading this article, make a note to visit www.safcei.org.za and other websites to calculate your carbon emissions and find ways to reduce them.

The bible has a lot of verses that tackle taking care of our environment.
Leviticus 25:23.

1 Kings 21.

Isaiah 5:8.

Micah 2:2.

Leviticus 19:9-10,23-25.

Leviticus 23:22.

Dueteronomy 24:19-22.

Acts 2:44-45.

Acts:32-37.

Psalms 104 & 148.

Genesis 9 :8-17.

2 Corinthians 6:15.

Luke 12:13-21.

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