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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sacred Ground

Reading Exodus 17-19

In chapter 19 we see God ""Set bounds around the mountain [Sinai] and consecrate it.""(v23) God called this mountain holy, and claimed it for Himself. One might say this was the first ever Wilderness Preserve. No one was allowed to enter the land (v12,13) except Moses- God's friend.

Wilderness Preserves and National Parks play a very important role in conservation. They protect species, preserve biodiversity and allow us to see what ecosystems should be like. However these areas are increasingly under threat. We are quite literally loving some national parks to death as tourism exceeds the regenerative capacity of the parks' habitats. Others are not being given adequate protection; and the managers of many are so under-resourced they cannot contain the spread of invasive weed and animal species effectively.

One of the disturbing problems I have learnt about Marine Protected Areas is just how vulnerable they are to poaching. Zones protected from fishing need only one unscrupulous poacher to come through once to destroy the recovery of the ecosystem ten years in the making. And it happens. Scientists find it difficult to study the effects of Marine Protected Areas because so many of them have been poached- destroying the results. Underreasourcing means that in some areas the parks are patrolled only one day a week- so anyone who wants to fish simply goes any other day of the week.

If you find this sad then spare a thought for the Great Barrier Reef. Talk about a World Heritage Area on the road to destruction. Not only are there plans to allow aquaculture in 2/3 of the area (1/3 with feeding, 1/3 no feeding) but in the latest travesty shark finning is to be allowed. I don't understand how these things can be permitted. Though I can imagine few areas more worthy, apparently even the GBR is not sacred ground.

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Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+