Archives for category: environment

July 12, 2010 marked the six-month anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti that killed over 200,000 people, leveled countless buildings, and caused billions of dollars worth of damage.

In March, I wrote a review about Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God’s People by Scott Sabin, executive director of Plant With Purpose. PWP is a nonprofit working to alleviate poverty by addressing deforestation. From their website:

By reversing deforestation, Plant With Purpose helps the poor restore productivity to their land to create economic opportunity out of environmental restoration. Since 1984 we have helped more than 100,000 people in some 230 villages lift themselves out of poverty through our holistic approach to sustainable development.

PWP has worked in Haiti for thirteen years, and continues to help in the rebuilding process after the devastating earthquake.  From The New York Times:

(PWP) has so far hired some 2,200 workers to plant more than 170,000 trees to protect communities. The extra available labor has allowed him to scale up Plant With Purpose’s operations, constructing more than 260 miles of soil erosion barriers to protect farmland from hurricanes and tropical storms.

There is still much work to be done.  Visit the Plant With Purpose Haiti Relief page to contribute towards rebuilding hope for Haiti.

I discovered the work of Plant With Purpose (formerly known as Floresta) through The Ecclesia Collective here in San Diego. I was hooked by the question on the flier advertising a seminar they were leading: What is the connection between deforestation and poverty? For me, the question went a step further: What does any of this have to do with loving & serving people, and participating in the mission of God in the world?

Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God’s People by Scott Sabin, executive director of Plant With Purpose, addresses these questions in a way environmental-laypeople like myself can understand and relate to.  Eden is filled with engaging stories from Plant With Purpose’s work around the world, and from Scott’s own experience. I was happy to receive a review copy of Eden as part of the Plant With Purpose blog tour, which includes many thoughtful perspectives from across the blogosphere.

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I love the idea of going green.

I believe that followers of Jesus are called to be good stewards of this world that God loves so much.  While to some people asking the question, What would Jesus drive? might sound a little goofy, I think questions like this are well worth considering.  Our everyday decisions have consequences.  To paraphrase an idea from the Bible, if our actions have the net effect of hurting those around us, can we really say we love God?

However, connecting ideals to the actual living of life is always the tough part, right?  That’s why I appreciate ideas like this portable solar panel tree. From Gizmodo:

The Solar Tree was invented by Gurdeep Sandhu, and avoids the complicated process of having to install the a solar power system on your roof. You can move it too, so if you change house, you can take it with you. It doesn’t entirely solve the aesthetic problem of having such a thingamajig on your garden, but at least is better than having a roof full of panels and it can be folded at night

At least one commenter noted that, given its portability, security might be an issue (although I’m pretty sure you’d hear the semi-trailer rolling up to your house that would-be criminals would need to haul off your solar tree).

For most of us, installing solar panels at home would probably be too expensive, even with state rebates.  While I’m guessing this portable solar tree is still out of reach for most of us (I couldn’t seem to find any pricing information), I appreciate the fact that it is a step in the right direction.   It would be great to have massive change all at once in important areas of our lives, but the fact is, we often need to take incremental steps that point us in the right direction.

Ever since the drought in Georgia and the wildfires here in San Diego last October, our almost-five year old daughter has been very conscious about conserving water. In fact, since then our family has taken steps such as keeping a bucket in the shower, turning off the water while shampooing and generally taking shorter showers. We want to teach and model stewardship to our daughter, so that she will see that following Jesus is something we do with our whole lives.

Our daughter’s favorite water conservation technique is to collect water from the main tub faucet after switching off the shower head. She always makes sure to tell me, “It’s for the plants.”

Today, after her shower, I asked her why we should try to save water. She looked at me with a huge smile and said, “Because I want to take care of God’s Kingdom, Daddy!”

That’s my girl :)

Last year, Smart USA opened a dealership here in SD. Although our family is certainly interested in driving a car that leaves less of an impact on the environment, SD (like most of Southern California) is basically a jungle of oversized Gravedigger wannabes. In the midst of these ridiculous behemoths, a Smart Car just seems like a really bad accident waiting to happen.

We’ve always liked small, boxy cars. Take the Scion xB, for example — the delightful bread truck variety, not the we’ve come from the future bearing aesthetically displeasing vehicles variety. Not sure how I feel about the new Mini Clubman — kind of feels like it defeats the purpose of being mini by making an extended version; sort of a “jumbo shrimp” conundrum.

None of these wee cars, however, can out-small the Peel P50 I saw recently on Top Gear. Top Gear usually features bigger, louder, faster in the automotive world — for example, a Veyron racing a jet. While the P50 might have the loud department covered, it isn’t much bigger than this familiar playground icon. In fact, if you have time to watch the clip below, you’ll see one of the hosts drive his P50 onto the sidewalk, and then grab the handle in the back and bring it to the office with him (it fits into an elevator, with enough room for another person to stand alongside it as well). I think my favorite is the “sports car” iteration of the P50 (reminds me of Homer Simpson’s vision of the perfect car).

Here’s a clip from that episode of Top Gear: