by Sandy Hasenauer
This post is related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals on climate concerns.
I’ve had the good fortune to be able to spend a fair amount of time in my backyard this summer. I’ve been very intentional about wandering out there with my dogs immediately following work as many afternoons as possible. (This is a benefit to working from home–I don’t have to fight any more traffic than the jam created by two dogs trying to go downstairs from my office at the same time as I do.) By doing so, I’ve been able to renew my appreciation in God’s creation.
This appreciation was emphasized for me when I traveled to Boston to be with my DMin classmates for our summer intensive. One of my classmates, a Lutheran pastor, has chosen as her DMin project discovering ways for churches to express their sense of joy and connection with God’s creation. She has a lifetime of engagement in creation care issues, including working for international not-for-profits and a faith-based organization that encourages “green churches.” Her enthusiasm gets me more enthusiastic–her knowledge and experience is invaluable to me.
The science can be confusing, and when politics gets involved it’s hard to know which way is up. But there’s no questioning the fact that God gave us creation, and God has called us to be stewards of that creation, and our health and well-being as God’s servants is inextricably tied with the health and well-being of that creation.
The United Nations may not put a spiritual spin on it, but it has also recognized the critical role that a healthy creation plays in a healthy community. In addition to Goal 13, “Climate Action,” several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are related to that same theme: Goal 6 is “Clean Water and Sanitation,” Goal 7 is “Affordable and Clean Energy,” Goal 11 is “Sustainable Cities and Communities,” Goal 12 is “Responsible Consumption and Production,” Goal 13 is “Life Below Water,” and Goal 15 is “Life on Land.” Out of 17 total SDGs, seven directly reference creation care, although using other terminology. Additionally, other SDGs have tie-ins to climate, such as Goal #2 (ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture).
Did you know that studies have linked climate change to rising violence? An increase in temperature is closely related to increase in rates of acts of violence, including domestic violence and rape. This link again shows how inextricably tied together humanity and creation are.
The National Council of Churches has a website specifically for creation care/creation justice. At www.creationjustice.org you will find news, information, advocacy ideas, and resources for Christian education and worship. They also produce annual resources for Earth Day Sunday, environmental health resources, and other great materials. Check out their “Healthy Spa Workshop” for a great event idea!
My dogs are sitting at my office doorway reminding me that it’s time to finish work and head out to the backyard where tennis balls await. We’ll all be enjoying God’s creation together for awhile this afternoon again, it seems. I hope you’ll join me–touch some leaves, smell some flowers, throw a few tennis balls to your own furry companions. God has given us this beautiful world–we honor God by enjoying it and caring for it well.
For more information about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, visit www.sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs. For more ideas about how you can address these goals in your ministry, click here.