Taking care of the Earth and all it contains

1. Need of an ecological conversion to take care of creation

Faced with the human-made destruction of the Earth’s ecosystems that threatens the future of humanity we have to fight climate change whose consequences are already being experienced all over the Earth and specially in Africa. Climate change is an opportunity to deepen our way of thinking, living and acting to better care for the Earth and all it contains. We are followers of Jesus of Nazareth who told us “I have come so that all may have life and life to the full” (John 10,10). He calls us to do the same and that’s why we became missionaries: to give fullness of life to all.

To care for the Earth: making live grow for everybody, is part of our Christian and missionary vocation. Our Purpose Statement says “We are in love with God’s desire for the African world today” which is that everybody may have live in abundance. He sends us with many others to realize this desire: that the Earth with all it contains, including every person may have live in abundance and that implies that live is cared for.

2. Called to live an ecological conversion: a new relationship with the Earth

As MSOLA we are already living our commitment to integrity of creation. But faced with the current climate change “urgency”we need to deepen our ecological conversion and the shift in mentality already done to enter fully in the ecological culture. This will affect our relationship with the whole of creation intensifying our awareness on its different dimensions. I mention some of the aspects we need to continue deepening and living.

The theology of creation changes the way we relate to creation, to other religions, to other peo-ple, to ourselves, and to God.If creation is the Body of God everything in creation has a dignity.

All beings (animals, plants, humans) in the universe are inter-related with everything else andare interdependent. Every life has value in itself and both living and non-living beings are valuable.

We are all kin, companions in a community of life with the Earth and all its creatures, so we must respect all of them. The Spirit, the presence of the living God in the world sets up bonds of kinship among all creatures embracing the whole world, drawing everything into the sphere of the divine.

Human beings having a greater conscious than others are responsible for the life of the Earth and all the beings that inhabit it, and so responsible to care for life and making it prosper. From this responsibility flows the solidarity necessary for all beings to live in dignity. There is a communion between all beings: the pain and suffering of the other touches me.

Degrowth– the contraction of economies- is an alternative form of society and economy aiming at the well-being of all. It sustains the natural basis of life by downscaling produc-tion and consumption – to preserve the environment. Care, solidarity and cooperation are its values. To attain well-being for all, those using too many resources need to diminish them, for those unable to fulfil their basic needs, to raise their level of consumption.

The “holistic” vision of the world as an indivisible unity, comes from the knowledge that matter is a net of connections and that we are all connected and interdependent.

As religious faced with the current situation of climate change, environmental degradation, and sharp extremes of wealth and poverty, we are called to live more simply so that, others may simply live, moving away from consumerism to sustainability and “gratitude” that invites us to live solidarity, sharing and service. This will foster the coming of the reign of God on Earth, and the commitment to relieve the suffering of our time.

The ecological spirituality puts life at the centre, defending and promoting it against all
mechanisms of death. It recognizes the inherent value of all living beings and calls us to witness that every part of the Earth is sacred and creation, is a sacrament of God. This way of life maintains harmony and balance between nature and the well-being of human beings and enables the healing and well-being of all beings on Earth and of human society.

We are all invited to continue deepening this process of change and ecological conversion. This will increase our motivation to changing our lives to better care for the Earth and everything in it.

3. How to take care of creation?

To solve this crisis a systemic change is required. To contribute to it we need to continue changing our vision, scaling up behavioural changes, as all individual choices from the food we eat to the cars we drive, the things we buy and the Banks we use, may have a significant impact on curbing greenhouse-gas emissions. But this will not be enough. We need raising awareness, participating in public actions, transforming situations and demanding governments and institutions to take measures to reduce Green House Gases so that their decisions lead to a systemic change to stop Climate Change. And for many of us who cannot do all this they can participate by praying, another efficient way of caring for creation. Our vision will orientate the necessary changes in our live to pass from consumers to care-takers and life-givers.

We have to live these changes personally, in the MSOLA community, and with the enlarged community of neighbours, collaborators, friends, family and organizations, till reaching the whole world.

4.  What to do to diminish green house gases

I present some suggestions to contribute to diminishing green house gases and thus contributing to keep climate change under certain limits.

4.1  PERSONAL CHANGE: Change our life style to prevent climate change

Reducing the impact of our consumption is a spiritual challenge. We invite each MSOLA to take action on climate change now, by changing our lifestyle. The Deuteronomy words « Today I put before you happiness, death and misfortune. If you listen to the commandments […] you will live” (31, 25), remind us to choose LIFE NOW.

4.1.1        The FOOD

Reduce meat and fish intake. Buy and eat seasonal and local produced food. Eat and drink organic.

4.1.2        ENERGY: Diminish your CONSUMPTION

TRANSPORT

Use public transport and when possible do virtual meetings instead of gathering physically. Walk and cycle. It is good for your health and for the Earth. Use the car only when strictly necessary, and in that case do carpooling.

USE RENEWABLE ENERGY

Install in our houses (where possible) solar panels for electricity and hot water.

Change your electricity distributor to a GREEN one. Move to renewable energy.

BUY “GREEN and SUSTAINABLE”

Buy eco-friendly products, objects and appliances made with less energy consumption (local if possible), consuming less energy and water, even if they are more expensive.

4.1.3        PRACTICE THE 5’s R: REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, RECOVER

REFUSE: PLASTIC of all kinds: bags, containers and wrappings.

Petroleum-Based synthetics as they use fossil fuels.

Containers and objects that are “only one use”.

REDUCE your consumption at all levels: food, water, energy, paper, packaging, any goods

Waste: food, garbage…

Energy use: Use LED bulbs; use electricity only when necessary. If you use heating and/or air conditioner use thermostats and insulate windows, doors, walls and roofs.

REUSE all possible materials: plastic, packaging, water, etc… and buy second hand…

RECYCLE: paper, organic waste, aluminium cans, plastic, metals, any materialthat can be recycled
and electrical APPLIANCES. Buy recycled paper.

RECOVER using wastes as input material to create new products. Use plastic bags or waste cans to make bags, baskets, etc. Use waste textile material to make new clothes, bags, etc.

4.2  WORK TOWARDS TRANSFORMING SOCIETY

4.2.1        GET TO KNOW the situations, the world and its structures

We need to dedicate time to inform and form ourselves, to analyse the situations and to make links before taking action. As religious we have to know about the systemic nature of poverty and of climate change and prepare ourselves for dealing with the unjust questions of our time.

4.2.2        COLLABORATE with and JOIN other organizations and participate in global actions

Join environmental and climate change organizations and groups in your country. Commit yourself as person or as community and participate in global actions. You can get formation from them. It can be interesting joining ecological platforms or/and networks of different religions. Be active, propose, collaborate with and join other groups to organise common actions. Encourage collaboration with other groups. Join a network. Participate in events, marches, civic non-violent disobedience events, etc. to create aware on people and force the government to take urgent action against climate change.

4.2.3        RAISE AWARENESS on CLIMATE CHANGE.

Visit schools, parishes, groups of all kind to talk about climate change. Invite them to think differently.  Organize plays, write articles, create a blog and organize actions with others. Form a local group or join one existing and connect them with regional, national or international groups. From the website of different organizations you can get kits, documents, videos and ideas to present the theme you want to present. (I propose some in another document).

4.2.4        ORGANIZE PROJECTS

Get informed on the possibility of organizing some projects. Be initiators. Organize projects with young people, men, women, groups and communities, encourage and accompany them to be enterprising and to undertake actions to take care of creation, and to get some income.

Some possible projects for Africa:

Transforming plastic waste into:

Pavers for roads and sidewalks from recycled plastics.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOkngP_Gg4c ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9x8aE1GnH_w

Construction material and fencing  https://goexplorer.org/recycled-plastics-for-construction-and-fencing/

Making pipes for drip irrigation (Mathieu Aly Faye) https://wearegreen.jimdo.com/2017/11/06/mathieu-aly-faye-une-perle-rare-pour-le-d%C3%A9veloppement-de-l-agro-%C3%A9cologie-en-afrique/    https://sekou.org/magazine/2017/06/01/karou-diaw-de-l-ouvrier-au-chef-d-entreprise/

School bags. https://observers.france24.com/fr/20180927-tunisie-21-tonnes-dechets-troquee-contre-fournitures-scolaires-environnement

Women bags https://thefertilechickonline.com/nigerian-women-yola-makes-millions-waste-wealth-programme/Women crochet bags : https://www.straitstimes.com/world/africa/nigerian-women-crochet-bags-from-plastic-waste

Raincoats and school bags from plastic waste. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRZk2k8iYCI

Different objects (Babacar Ndione) https://sekou.org/
magazine/2017/04/20/ready2start-babacar-ndione-valorisation-dechets-plastiques-senegal/

Fashion objects https://goexplorer.org/turning-trash-into-fashion/

3D-Printed Sunglasses from Waste Plastic https://goexplorer.org/3d-printed-sunglasses-from-waste-plastic/

With old used tyres

Floor tiles. https://sekou.org/magazine/2017/06/28/yaye-souadou-fall-dirige-sa-startup-de-recyclage-de-pneus/

Making furniture with worn tires from Abidjan streets https://observers.france24.com/fr/
20180201-cote-ivoire-pneus-usages-abidjan-meubles-recyclage
fashionable footwear https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-BiHXot4TU

sneakers (Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu) https://www.
sloweare.com/des-chaussures-fabriquees-grace-a-des-pneus-de-camion-en-ethiopie/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=188v7H-QEqY

rubber sandals in Toliara (Madagascar)  https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xrs0ob

footwear https://positivr.fr/sandales-chaussures-pneu-kenya-video/

Recycling waste materials

Building blocks from rubble and ash Female engineer in Gaza invents concrete http://www.global
constructionreview.com/innovation/female-engineer-gaza-invents-concrete-block-made-r/

Gas and electricity (Lamine Ndiaye) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5DaRqyzzKs

Electronic appliances in Ghana https://www.pureearth.org/project/agbobloshie-e-waste/

Laboratory recycles electronic waste (Woelab) https://www.bbc.com/afrique/region-39772719

Transforms the Hyacinths into natural fertilizer and electricity https://www.bbc.com/afrique/region-39772719

Nigeria’s Wecyclers in Lagos pick up the garbage abandoned on the streets and are rewarded per kilogram of recyclable waste https://qz.com/africa/469862/lagos-recycling-start-up-wecyclers-wins-55000-from-steve-case-foundation/ ; Interview with Bilikiss Adebiyi the woman student who started the project https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/oct/21/money-lying-streets-meet
-woman-transforming-recycling-lagos-wecyclers

Clean up a space of its waste https://observers.france24.com/fr/20190314-trashtagchallenge-nouveau-defi-encourage-ramasser-dechets

Cooking Fuel (Agricultural Waste) https://goexplorer.org/cooking-fuel-made-from-agricultural-waste/

Briquettes an ecological coal (Kivu)https://observers.france24.com/fr/20180607-rdc-congo-bukavu-briquette-kivu-etudiant-charbon-ecologique-environnement

Producing electricity

Simple solar lamps Mali https://observers.france24.com/fr/20170203-mali-france-lampes-solaires-eclairer-enfants-afrikasolar-electricite

Electrifies his  village alone (Guinea)r https://observers.france24.com/fr/20170915-guinee-
professeur-maths-electrifie-tout-seul-son-village-natal

Build and install small hydropower plants https://energypedia.info/wiki/How_to_Plan_a_Mini_Hydro_Power_Project https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI_i8KOzfdc

Gets internet by a new method in an isolated village

Connects an isolated village to Internet through the light! https://observers.france24.com/fr/
20170803-ivoirien-internet-television-lumiere-village-drongouine-cote-ivoire

Using local materials

Furniture and building projects using local materials and workforce  https://goexplorer.org/architecture-projects-using-local-materials-workforce/

Rural projects

Ecological Farms in Burkina Faso: Examples of Sustainable Agriculture http://www.iedafrique.org/
Fermes-ecologiques-au-Burkina-Faso-exemples-d-une-agriculture-durable-et.html

Organic Farms (Claude Arsène Savadogo) https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=kkwwP2_ptIE

 The Songhai Center in Benin: development of entrepreneurship in agriculture   http://www.songhai.org/index.php/en/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bquoSTUSzU

Forest Conservation in Malawi  https://www.rippleafrica.org/environment-projects-in-malawi-africa/forest-conservation-deforestation-malawi-africa

Tree Planting   https://www.rippleafrica.org/environment-projects-in-malawi-africa/tree-planting

Enterprise of organic fertilizers for biological farmers (Claude Arsène Savadogo) http://www.projet-ricochets.com/?p=1254

Other projects

Stoves low wood consumption made in Malawi. https://www.rippleafrica.org/environment-projects-in-malawi-africa/carbon-offsets-made-in-malawi-africa-copy

Creation of a solar panel company (Marcellin Drabo et André Béré) http://www.projet-ricochets.com/?p=1222

Aide pour commencer des projets

Makesense-Aide-commencer-des-projets https://community.makesense.org/programme-decouverte/?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=makesense_events&utm_content=makesense_program_hero

4.2.5        DO ADVOCACY AND LOBBY

Join organizations, platforms, networks and groups to do advocacy and lobbying together to be stronger and help one another. Encourage your groups to organize actions to create awareness on the public and to influence politics and institutions.

Influence leaders and enterprises on the urgency to take strong measures to stop climate changing.

The lobby must be done on local issues that have a global dimension.

Some aspects that are urgent to lobby on NOW. There are many others depending on the context.

4.2.5.1       Fight to keep the FOSSIL FUELS on the ground

End support for fossil fuels, including subsidies on oil and gas and stop fracking.
End subsidies for cars and other vehicles

Ask investors to disinvest in fossil fuels.

End support for industrial agriculture.

4.2.5.2        Promote Renewable Energy vehicles and carbon neutral homes

Work for subsidies for renewable energies and for isolating houses (in the western countries).

4.2.5.3       Promote the development of agro-ecology and fight against GMOs.

4.4 What these changes may bring

Living these changes in community and having some common objectives may strengthen our unity.

Our commitment and efforts to change our behaviour and transforming society, joining millions of people, organizations and institutions that are working on the same direction are already giving their first fruits: the joy of working together from different places to take care of the Earth; the awareness of our common humanity; the growing awareness of our responsibility to take care of all life on Earth for a better world for all. This is experienced in actions lived at global and local level and in the daily commitment, e.g. the world marches and the Climate Forums and gatherings.

We hope that our actions will be joined by decisions at political, financial and economic level to slow the pace of climate change and reduce further global warming.

Thanks for listening.

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