Diocese of Namibia responding to drought emergency

“What saddens me the most is that some of the old men are losing the will to live, once they have to slaughter their cattle because of the drought” Ven Nangula Kathindi

The clergy of Namibia met for their clergy conference in the Northern part of Namibia , hard hit by drought. The government has declared an emergency, as the crops have failed.
Canon Rachel Mash spoke on the theme of Water in her Homily at the Eucharist. Hagar and Ishmael were thrown out into the desert, carrying only 5 liters of water. This shows the injustice of water , where an Isaac can be at home with water to drink, bathe and even play in, and another child, Ishmael, is dying of thirst under a tree. And yet God heard his cry and rescued him. As well as praying for rain, it is a time to reflect on the deep meaning of water in our Scriptures, for water is mentioned 722 times

In the workshop we looked at the impact of Climate Change, devastating both Namibia with drought, at the same time as Mozambique with floods. We are truly facing climate chaos and the scientists tell us that we only have 12 years to make a rapid shift globally from fossil fuels to renewables. Yet Namibia and Mozambique have produced very few indeed of those emissions. It is Climate injustice that we are facing.
We also looked at the problem of preserving water during the drought, of plastic pollution and the need to grow trees to prevent desertification. It is import to link the actions with Biblical resources so that people know that it is part of their gospel mandate. We are called to go and preach good news to all Creation
The clergy divided up into action groups to look at the following areas:

1. Plastic pollution “Cleanliness is closer to godliness”
Plastic etc. Let us try to work with our communities and households to avoid using plastic bags. Let us use recyclable bags. By 2020 stop using plastic bags. Have special announcements to save our earth. Especially commit to not using single use plastic at big catering events.
When it rains all those are washed into the rivers. Take plastics to recycling businesses.
Start in our churches and communities. Clean our church yards. Learn to put rubbish in rubbish bins. Get away from mentality that I don’t care and I am creating jobs.
2. Water Rev 22:1 “Water is life”.
Awareness of the importance and use of water. We need to maintain water and care for water. They need to be reminded where to find water and how the community uses water. They need to be taught flushing system for toilets to be limited. Showers to be limited.
A request for those workers be requested to dig dams in the area and your village to help when the rain comes. The water from washing can be used for watering trees. This will prevent deforestation. The community needs to be taught that plants can prevent floods also.
Before Dec 2020 – we need to:
– Try to have big tanks for saving water especially in the centres, homes, hospitals , to use that storage water during drought
– Renew the wells and boreholes
– Wells need to be covered to prevent evaporation
– People need to minimize the waste of water, by using buckets.

3. Trees
Need for training and workshops on tree planting to reduce desertification. Gather more info regarding source of manure needed for agriculture. Plant indigenous trees which require less water.
We need sermons that emphasize how we can take care of creation, especially in September. We need to learn more about why we should love trees and plants. We need the arbor day in schools and church again. We can go out and consult the headmen in the villages in order to get the opportunity to teach the village counsellors. We also need to emphasize the need to protect our environment. We suggest that the Diocese or parishes can ask the scientists to come and do the research on what type of plants to grow in our areas. Establish some parish environmental committees as the priests are busy.
The clergy received a blessing from Bishop Luke Pato as they committed to caring for creation.

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