DIOCESE OF LESOTHO ENVIRONMENTAL CONFERENCE
The Diocese of Swaziland held its first Environmental Conference hosted by Bishop Adam Taaso on the 30th May and 1st of June 2014. Our guest speakers were Rev Dr Rachel Mash, provincial environmental Coordinator and Canon Dr Andrew Warmback, Natal Diocesan Coordinator. We were blessed to be joined by Rev Sam Sifuleni, Diocesan Coordinator from the Diocese of Harare. The conference was organised by Mr Tumelo Hoohlo and his able team!
WHAT WILL BE THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN LESOTHO? Rev Dr Rachel Mash
“Lesotho is categorized as one of the countries highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, deserving special attention” (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)
The first session considered the environmental challenges faced by Lesotho: Generally there will be an increase in extreme weather events: longer droughts and heavier rain and storms. Reduced rainfall will affects the production of crops. The country will experience frequent droughts that result in poor harvests and large livestock losses to rural farmers, exacerbating poverty and suffering. Higher temperatures will lead to more pests. There may be up to 25% decrease in maize yield. Increase of alien plant species , less irrigation and drinking water available. As well as these, Lesotho will experience increased flooding and drought, damage to infrastructure , loss of crops , community displacement. Heavy snowfalls, strong winds and floods pose devastating social impacts .
USING OUR LAND FOR ORGANIC FARMING : Mr Henry Ramapeile
Our country is the way it is today because of our cruelty. We plough our fields, our soil would be rich, but today because of our cruelty to the soil itself, in the sense that we use chemical fertilizers, those micro organisms are dead. That is why you see poor growth unlike 50 years ago when you saw rich vegetation and rich crops God gave us everything, we are poor because we want to be poor. Kitchen garbage is gold! You can make a liquid fertilizer.
Organic farming is important because it is a cheaper way of improving soil fertility using local resources. It uses minimum tillage with minimum soil disturbance. There is no use of poisons or chemicals in pest control. Organic farming needs less water than conventional methods—an adaptation strategy for climate change
ECO-THEOLOGY—Canon Andrew Warmback, Diocesan Environmental Coordinator, Natal Diocese
What does the Bible say? Canon Andrew shared several of the passages which can be used for sermons.
- Gen 1:1-5: Creation – God created—and the Spirit of God was hovering , what do we say every Sunday? – “ We believe in God creator of Heaven and Earth”
- Gen 9:8-13: After the flood, God makes a covenant. All living creatures are included. We will never be destroyed again.
- Isaiah 24:3-7: Prophet – devastation and curse upon the land. If we turn away from God, the earth becomes like a desert.
- Mark 4:30-32: Mustard seed: spiritual growth is like the growth of a tree
- Mark 4: 35-39: Calming of the storm. – Jesus has a close relationship with nature – he walks by the lake, prays by the mountain (small carbon footprint) kingdom like a mustard seed, he pointed people to nature to help them understand God. Love your neighbor, which can be a human or a lake.
- Rev 22:1-2: The vision of the end is of rivers of water, trees and human life. Some theology says destroy this earth we will have a new heaven and a new earth. But Revelations shows that the new heaven is here on earth—earth renewed
- Mark 16: 15: Preach the good news to ALL creation! Not just to the humans. We need a born again world, redemption for all creation.
Other teaching and theology: The fifth mark of mission of the Anglican Communion says “To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth” . There is a “Green bible’ which has the words of scripture in green. (like the red letter Bible). Liberation theology- exodus story is for all of human communities. “Cry of the poor, cry of the earth”. Feminist theology – have a theology that affirms the feminine.
HOW CAN WE RESPOND? Rev Rachel Mash
Simply put, we need to “Love the Earth as much as God does “ Archbishop Emeritus Tutu
Becoming an Eco-congregation involves three things
Worship, Local Church action and Advocacy
Worship: In our worship, we need to preach , pray and include the care for creation in our liturgies. We can ‘get out of the box’ with outdoor services. We can celebrate environmental days such as World Environment Day, Water week, Season of Creation, Arbor week, St Francis day. Young people can get involved with dramas, dance, poetry or music.
Local church: we need to consider our water use, mending taps, putting in a water barrel. We can look at using our land for organic farming to create jobs and food. We need to consider waste, by recycling and composting. We can have outreaches into our community – clean up days, tree planting.
Advocacy: we need to act nationally or regionally on issues such as climate change, renewable energy, pollution etc.
The day ended with a solemn vow being made,led by Bishop Taaso
|“We the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Lesotho after this environmental conference held at Durham Link on the 31 May 2014, at which we were reminded of our responsibility towards the environment :Do commit ourselves to becoming more environmentally friendly, to preserve and look after it and to do all those things which will turn the environment back to what it looked and appeared like when God put us in charge of it.So help us God.”|