Creation Care is an important part of World Renew’s work in several countries around the world. In Bangladesh, many of these projects deal with how humans interact with the land agriculturally. This year, for example, World Renew is involved in the development of floating gardens that help farmers adapt to devastating flash floods caused by climactic variations.
Other projects deal with organic agriculture and educating farmers on the dangers of pollution. Hasem is a farmer from the village of Amati in Bangladesh who never thought he would be interested in growing organic vegetables. He bought the vegetables that he wanted from the market despite the risks. “I knew the vegetables had chemicals on them that are harmful for my family’s health,” he said, “but I wasn’t too concerned.” This kind of indifferent response is not uncommon, but thankfully it can be remedied.
In September 2016, one of World Renew’s field workers in Bangladesh and India, Kohima Daring, attended the South Asia Regional Creation Care Conference. This conference stemmed from the Lausanne Global Campaign for Creation Care and the Gospel, and over 80 representatives from different Christian organizations, institutions, and churches took part. Participants from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the US attended.
“This conference really helped me to think about Creation Care theologically, In Bangladesh we have to ensure that we don’t divide as denominations for creation care, but work together.” - Kohima Daring
“This conference really helped me to think about Creation Care theologically,” Daring says. “In Bangladesh we have to ensure that we don’t divide as denominations for creation care, but work together.” Participants learned that Creation Care is not only Biblical, but is God’s call to each of us, as individuals, families, organizations, churches, communities, and global citizens.
The Lausanne Movement is a global collaboration of evangelical leaders whose stated vision is “the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world.” The goals of this particular conference included deepening understanding about Creation Care as a theological concept and sharing concrete Creation Care practices.
The conference resulted in all participants, including World Renew staff, affirming the convictions that are outlined in the previously drafted Jamaica Call to Action: a new commitment to a simple lifestyle; new and robust theological work; leadership from the church in the Global South; mobilization of the whole church and engagement of all of society; environmental missions among unreached people groups; radical action to confront climate change; sustainable principles in food production; an economy that works in harmony with God’s creation; local expressions of creation care; and prophetic advocacy and healing reconciliation. To read the full Jamaica Call to Action, click here.
The September conference held the following affirmation:
“We, the participants of the Lausanne/ WEA South Asia Conference on Creation Care and the Gospel, recognize the Biblical call to care for God’s beautiful creation. We also feel the urgency of this task because of the serious environmental challenges we face in all of our countries. Therefore, we affirm the Jamaica Call to Action, and we call on all of our fellow believers throughout South Asia to join us in this important task, for the love of our people, our land, and for the ultimate glory of God our Savior.”
In Bangladesh, Daring sees several actions that reflect this affirmation and its callings, including composting, organic agriculture, socially responsible investing, garbage control, and limits on plastic bags. However, there is always more to be done. Daring says that she hopes that in Bangladesh, “the churches and faith-based NGOs can now work together on a common platform for creation care.”
Hasem, the Bangladeshi farmer, has also learned much about Creation Care and how it improves the lives of his family. Hasem joined one of the farmer’s groups run by SATHI (Sustainable Association for Taking Human Development Initiatives), a partner of World Renew, and received training in composting, kitchen gardening, and the use of organic pesticides. Now, he actively grows a variety of crops on the abandoned land around his home. He prepares the land with compost, applies organic pesticides, and reaps gourds, amaranth, radishes, beans, and papaya. Recently, he learned some seed selection and preservation skills, which he is using to improve his vegetable yields.
“I grow vegetables to meet the nutrition needs of my family and others,” Hasem said. Furthermore, these techniques also contribute to the health of the land on which he and his community live. Hasem was elected as leader of his farmer group, and he continues to share his learning and success with other farmers. Many farmers from his village have been inspired by his love for vegetable gardening.
World Renew is committed to our call to be stewards and caretakers of creation, recognizing that this is essential not only for the health of the natural world but also for the human beings who live in and from it. Pollution, climate change and environmental disasters disproportionately affect those who already live in hardship, perpetuating cycles of poverty. Creation Care is an important step towards creating a healthier and more prosperous Earth for us all.
To learn more about World Renew’s work in Creation Care around the world, visit worldrenew.net/creationcare.