Environmental concern is urgent. It is also timeless.
Have you ever caught yourself thinking, wow, this sustainability trend sure is taking off, isn’t it?
You’d have good reason for thinking that. Fidelity, the investment giant declared last year as the year “sustainability went mainstream” declaring that “professional and private investors alike are realizing that sustainability is a key part of the investment process.” Adage, a thought-leading platform in the realm of marketing and advertising pointed out that sustainable fashion went from being a fringe interest to a mainstream focus. Mega-companies like Microsoft and JetBlue made sustainability pledges.
Concern over the planet’s future viability is an emerging global priority across different sectors.
It may be easy to look at all this recent environmental emphasis and mistake these things as a trend of the moment. After all, our world sees things come in-and-out of the spotlight all the time. Is it simply the planet’s turn?
Well, there are good reasons for the current emphasis and enthusiasm towards sustainability. A variety of studies and findings have revealed that our time to act on our environmental concerns is of the essence. For the people who are already facing the effects of climate or degradation, the urgency is plain and clear.
However, the whole concept of trendiness conflicts with the principle of sustainability. Something is trendy because of whatever is the most important or attractive at a given moment. Sustainability revolves around stewarding something so that it lasts.
Sustainability is about thinking far beyond the present moment.
“Leave it better than you found it,” is a mantra used often in conversations about sustainability. The concept is perhaps most frequently directed at visitors to national parks, public lands, and other protected areas, but it certainly has much broader uses than that.
Our chance to leave things better than we found them extends to our planet at large. Not to mention a variety of other endeavors, from our time at a certain job or endeavor, our relationship with other people, or our presence in a community. God gives us so many opportunities to leave the things in our lives better than we found them.
Sustainability encourages us to think of what we’ll pass on to future generations and those who come after us.
It’s a core value at Plant With Purpose, and something we see widely reflected among our international partners.
Our friend in Thailand, Ah Jee, thinks of his children and their children when he thinks of sustainability. “The first group that arrived protected the forest for us. Then we protected it for the volunteer generation. Now they will protect it for my grandchildren’s generation. Passing on the knowledge from generation to generation,” he tells us. Kategere plants trees and exclaims, “I just planted more than 820 trees. I know these trees cannot benefit me now, but they will be useful for later generations.”
Sustainability means stewarding creation with love- for creation itself, for its Creator, and for our brothers, sisters, and children who could also reap the benefit of having a healthy planet to call home.
It’s a good thing when this value becomes more widely shared across different actors and different sectors in our world. But we should be careful not to think of this as a trend. It’s not something that calls for us to participate because it is the hot item of the moment. Our commitment is to build something that will outlast us.
For the communities addressing the health of the environment, stewardship is a value that goes back generations.
There are many communities for whom sustainability is not at all a trend. Instead, it is ancient wisdom that has been passed on from generation to generation.
This is perhaps best represented among indigenous communities. The UN Environment Program describes them as “ideal custodians of the landscapes and ecosystems that are also central to efforts to limit climate change and adapt to its effects,” because their traditions and cultures are often oriented towards caring for the land. “But it also makes them targets,” warns the UNEP. “Communities who stand up against powerful economic and political interests remain under intense pressure in many parts of the world.”
In many parts of the world where Plant With Purpose works, sustainable land use techniques have historical roots.
Many of the techniques promoted by are partners have deeper historical roots in the community. Unfortunately, poverty, exploitative farming, and disruption due to violence are common reasons why these practices fall out of use.
However, we see the benefit of when those communities restore these ractices. Soil heals. These communities are better able to earn an income and become climate resilient. Because indigenous land accounts for about 80% of the world’s biodiversity, it also helps protect countless species.
If the current increase of attention towards environmental concern has brought you towards this journey, great. That is a good thing. But our invitation goes beyond the current spotlight. It’s to commit to love all of creation through our decisions and actions.
After all, the very first commandment given to humanity was to protect and care for the rest of Creation. It goes back to our very beginning. This can hardly be considered a trend.
As this value is passed on from generation to generation, we see more and more people able to live lives of opportunity and abundance. To help communities in rural areas commit to sustainability through regenerative agriculture and tree planting, make a donation here.