By Helen Gaw

‘The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.’ (Psalm 24:1)

There is a rich diversity of life on this earth. In editing my first issue of Footsteps I have learnt about plants and animals that I had never seen before. The conditions for life are finely balanced. We rely on natural resources constantly. Those of us who live in towns and cities are often less aware of this than those in rural areas and forget that we may be damaging natural resources, for example by contributing to pollution.

The opening article shows that we do not need to choose between helping people and looking after the world we live in. By caring for the environment, we can care for people too. When we are affected by changes to the natural resources we use every day, there is hope: we can find solutions that improve our relationship with the environment. This is a theme throughout many of the articles in this issue.

On the centre pages, there is a step-bystep process for community facilitators, which demonstrates how everyone can be involved in managing shared natural resources. We share new ideas for rainwater harvesting (page 4), a training method for increasing bio diversity on farms (page 10) and a frame work for under standing and responding to the linked threats of climate change, environmental degradation and natural hazards (page 12).

One day the earth will be fully restored. As we continue in hope, we continue in our responsibility to care for the earth.

The next issue will be an update on the Millennium Development Goals.  

Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 82 in html.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 82, please click here (419KB).

  • Adaptation – protecting natural resources

    Compiled by Bob Hansford. Natural resources are essential for all of us. Every time we prepare a meal, we use natural resources. For many of us, trees, bamboo and grasses provide the raw materials for housing. Natural vegetation feeds our cattle, natural fibres clothe our bodies, wood and coal provide much of the energy for lighting and heating, and wild plants are the source of herbal medicines. Perhaps the most precious resource of all is water – for drinking, bathing, cooking and ...

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  • Bible study: Our stewardship of natural resources

    Our stewardship of natural resources As a couple, we are experienced in environmental science and church leadership. We are enthusiastic about the many references to nature in the Bible and God’s call to us to work with creation in a way that protects and cares for what God has made.

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  • Breeding small animals

    by Julio de la Cruz Torreblanca. The Lindero Ecological Farm (La Granja Ecológica Lindero) is a beautiful place, with a lot of vege­tation and a desirable climate. The farm has productive activities such as breeding cattle and guinea pigs, poultry farming, a restaurant and accommodation facilities.

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  • Develop a community action plan for shared natural resources

    STEP 1 Thinking about the local area For most of the activities/questions below, arrange the participants into small groups of five or six. You may decide to split the participants into groups of men, women and children as their answers will reveal a lot about their differences in perspective. After each activity ask the groups to present their ideas and allow plenty of time for general discussion.

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  • Fuel efficient stoves

    Deforestation is a major problem in Malawi because wood and charcoal are the main sources of fuel for cooking. Fuel efficient stoves provide a practical alternative to traditional cooking methods.

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  • Letters

    Growing vegetables on limestone and corals Thank you very much for continuing to send issues of Footsteps. I would like to assure you that I enjoy very much reading the publication, and have been greatly enriched by it. Just as an example, in 2003 I was working at my church head office in the Western Province of Solomon Islands. In one particular issue [Footsteps 54] I read about a farming technique for soil that is not suitable for planting. My wife and I always plant vegetables outside our ...

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  • Natural resource management

    by Judith Collins. In the past, the way in which people living in the Mosquitia region of Honduras used their natural resources had little lasting impact on the area’s vast expanses of forests and wetlands. However, rapid population growth, the influx of new colonists and a gradual move from subsistence to a market economy are all putting pressure on the area’s fragile ecosystems. Current problems include deforestation, over-fishing, over-hunting, erosion, and soil and water ...

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  • Natural resources and livelihoods

    by RT Rajan. ‘We have not inherited the world from our forefathers but we have borrowed it from our children’. This Kashmiri proverb emphasises our responsibility to look after nature in all its diversity. Human intervention in nature has caused pollution, contributed to climate change and led to the unsustainable use and destruction of natural resources.

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  • New ideas for rainwater harvesting at home

    by Murray Burt. In rural areas, the main water sources are normally groundwater borewells or surface water, rivers and lakes. However, an often overlooked, easily accessible and sustainable source of safe drinking water during the wet season is rain. In tropical and sub-tropical climates the quantity of water collected from rainfall can be substantial.

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  • Resources

    Environmental Sustainability Book 13 in the ROOTS series is about Environmental Sustainability. It contains Bible studies, case studies and practical tools. Section 5 includes a basic environmental assessment tool to help development organizations understand how a project may harm the environment.

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  • Solar power

    by Anna Wells. Bob Kokonya and his family in north-west Kenya used to rely completely on tin lamps for lighting their home between 6–10pm each day. The lamps used half a litre of kerosene a day, which cost Bob 60 Kenyan shillings (around US $23 each month). Also, the family’s nostrils would be blackened by the morning because of the sooty smoke produced when kerosene burns in the open air. ‘The house was very smoky and we were coughing all the time’, Bob said.

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  • Training farmers in biodiversity

    by Sam Rich. Sitting under a mango tree with a small group of Ugandan farmers eight years ago, I thought I had found the perfect placement as a volunteer. We would discuss the relative benefits of chilli pepper and onions as insect repellents one week and various designs of fuel-saving stoves the next. Working for a small NGO (non-governmental organisation), talking to farmers every day, using participatory methods to help them find solutions to their problems, and seeing small improvements ...

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