Earth Day is coming up soon (Saturday, April 22), so here are some examples of how people worldwide are caring for creation!
For Food for the Hungry, our efforts to care for creation are more than just ways to battle climate change. In the communities where we work, climate change is much more than an inconvenience; it’s a reality that brings hunger, poor health and instability. FH helps parents see that they have the creativity and ability to manage climate shocks. We start teaching children early the importance of realizing how important it is to care for the environment. Through our teaching and training, we help communities see how God wants to reconcile all humanity to creation, and that they can be part of that reconciliation.
Children in FH’s Cambodia programs learn how to care for the environment by organizing community trash clean-up days. The children also learn how to keep their own yards free of trash and debris and how to create compost pits for their families.
Ethiopia has many struggles related to land. The mountainous regions where FH works have steep slopes that have been deforested over the years. Helping farmers construct terraces using cheap, locally-available materials controls soil erosion in flooding. FH also helps farmers in various countries learn methods like no-till farming that also protect the soil.
In Ethiopia, FH also helped raise millions of tree seedlings that have been planted on hillsides to prevent erosion. The seedlings have included coffee, fruit trees and shrubs that produce fodder for animals. Helping farmers feed livestock with fodder shrubs means the animals don’t overgraze pasture land, which also creates problems with soil erosion and the land’s ability to absorb water.
FH has helped communities that were hard-hit by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, not just to recover but to improve their situation. Our program “Better than Before” is helping myriad families improve water quality through filtration and sanitation efforts. One neighborhood has built a communal latrine, shared by several families, feeding into a septic tank. This tank can then be used to generate biogas.
Burundi (and others)
Burundi is just one of several countries where FH has introduced vitamin-rich kitchen gardens. These raised beds allow families (generally moms) to grow nutritious food in places that are too dry for traditional flat garden beds. It doesn’t take much water for these gardens to flourish! Because of the small space needed, keyhole gardens can be built close to the house, which saves mothers from having to walk to a faraway field. Keyhole gardens also feature a center receptacle for organic kitchen waste, so the families turn their trash into compost.
And speaking of fertilizer: FH Burundi also distributes goats that produce great organic fertilizer! Few animals can match the cost-effectiveness of goats as manure producers. This means they produce a lot of manure relative to their size and what it costs to feed and keep the goats healthy. FH has provided goats in Haiti, Philippines, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda as well. Often, we require the families to give the first offspring of their female goats to another family who doesn’t have a goat in their community.
FH teams in both Ethiopia and Kenya have helped communities collect and manage a very precious resource—rainwater. By setting up special gutter systems on large buildings like schools and health clinics, communities can collect water in huge cisterns for later use. The tanks can also store water that’s trucked into communities in severe droughts. Having a consistent water source means that schools and health clinics can operate even in the midst of drought as well.
How can I help?
You can read more about FH’s philosophy of creation care in our free ebook, The Startling Link Between Creation and Hunger. You’ll read about real people who’ve benefited from FH’s work. And you’ll see some key facts about how caring for creation also helps end world hunger.