By: Nondumiso Langa
“Wake up everybody, no more sleeping in bed. No more backward thinking, time for thinking ahead. The world has changed so very much from what it used to be … The world won’t get no better if we just let it be. The world wont get no better, we gotta change again, just you and me.” This John Legend song is so appropriate for this month’s theme of THE NEXT STEP.
The next step in this environmental crisis we are facing is for the whole world to wake up and do something. It’s not that we are ill-informed or there is a lack of information about the state of the environment, as there are websites, TV programs, newspaper articles … you name it, it’s just a click away. The truth is that we hear it but we do not listen. People start listening when disasters start striking and people, dying. We read in Genesis 6: 13- 22 and Genesis 7 about how Noah built an ark and warned people about the coming flood, how they ignored him and even laughed at him and thought he was crazy.
“Heal the world, make it a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race. There are people dying, if you care enough for the living …” the iconic Micheal Jackson sang. If you do something, not only are you making it better for the next person but for yourself as well. This past, week 1 – 7 September, was Arbor week. A week were we celebrate trees and their ability to give us life through cleaning the air we breathe and through the process of photosynthesis, where carbon dioxide is taken in by the chloroplasts and given off as oxygen. We also celebrate the fact that they give us shelter, medicine, food and they prevent soil erosion. If we have clean air, we don’t have to keep visiting doctors about chest problems resulting from the polluted air we inhale.
Industrial companies also need to take The Next Step by planting trees around their factories, and lots of them, because they pollute much of the air. Businesses need not just to turn green but live green. The “reduce re-use recycle” song on DSTV should be their anthem! It is said that a country that will survive economically is an environmental conscience country. What I am saying is that turning green will increase your profits. ‘How?’, you may ask? Instead of printing flyer’s that we eventually throw away, use social media to advertise your products and soon enough your target will be aware of your product or service. Free advertising. If you think the computer you’re using is outdated, think again. The only thing that changes is a small chip installed in the computer so you really don’t need the upgrade. Live by the motto “Don’t throw it away, Fix It”. If you know you use a lot of paper or recyclable goods, don’t throw it away, rather make a deal with a recycling company to remove the rubble for recycling. I just earned you a couple of thousands!
If you are into fashion you might just go to The Next Step of Eco-fashion. If you don’t like that top or that dress, don’t throw it away. The things you can do with fabric are amazing so make it new again, tweak it a bit. It’s amazing what we can do if we think creatively and outside of the box. Who knows, David Tlale may just be asking for you to partner with him for New York fashion week.
The Next Step for the Government is to have Environmental education in the curriculum so that children can go grow up being aware and conscious of the environment. Just think of all those initiatives that can be started, possibly leading to a carbon emission free generation.
What’s The Next Step for the Church? It’s no use to ignore the cry of environmentalists in any other sector and the church is a very important voice because it speaks from a Godly percepective. We need to take care of God’s resources as it is a form of worship. It is important for us to be exemplary doers of the word. Let us be apart of environmental justice organizations, become energy efficient and Eco-congregations. Let God smile upon us and proudly say “well done Body of Christ”. As we lift up our eyes to the hills from whence cometh our help: Psalms 121: 1-2. Let our souls rejoice as it sees the beauty of what our God created and then sings our souls, How Great Thou Art.