Earth Day began in the United States in 1970 and then expanded globally around 1990, bringing environmental concerns like recycling, global warming, and a push for clean energy into the spotlight. This year, the theme is “Trees for the Earth,” because the planet is currently losing 15 billion trees every year, trees that protect biodiversity and mitigate pollution. Because of this, the Earth Day Network has set an ambitious goal of planting 7.8 billion trees by Earth Day 2020.
Caring for the earth isn't just a matter of sustainability, but an issue of stewardship and of justice for many who are vulnerable to climate change.
However, caring for the earth is not simply a matter of sustainability. It is an issue of stewardship of creation and of justice for many living in regions vulnerable to climate change. According to the World Bank, “Climate change is likely to have a negative effect on agricultural productivity, particularly in tropical regions, and to directly impact poor people’s livelihood assets—including their health, access to water and natural resources, homes and infrastructure.”
For example, in Kenya, families dependent on agriculture suffer the greatest losses from inconsistent climate patterns. When rain is inconsistent, farmers can lose some or all of their harvest for the year. Additionally, water scarcity is becoming a problem in the region because of deforestation—without trees, the water runs off quickly instead of being absorbed into the ground.
World Renew is working with farmers in regions prone to drought, like Niger, and helping them make the most of the rain that does fall. Through training sessions, farmers learn to use techniques like half-moon trenches to increase crop yield. World Renew and its partners also work to dig deep wells and install water pumps in communities to provide a consistent source of drinking water.
In Mozambique, World Renew is collaborating with a partner organization to provide trainings in conservation farming. This is also called minimal-tillage farming, and it conserves moisture in the soil. Farmers are also encouraged to grow a variety of crops so that all their assets are not tied up in the success or failure of a single crop.
To learn more about how climate change is affecting impoverished communities, check out Micah Challenge's “For the Love Of” a short film about faith, creation care, and how we are called to respond as followers of Jesus.
This Earth Day, join with World Renew in celebrating the importance of global sustainability, stewardship, and justice. Discover more about World Renew’s Creation Care programs here.