Griffen Hope of the Taranaki Environment Centre told participants at the Stratford seminar on Sunday 27 August, that he likes to think Christ was one of the first radical environmentalists.
‘He chose to live a life of simplicity.’
Griffen works with schools, young people and many others from his Inglewood base, aiming to provide a ‘solutions-based response’ to environmental issues. ‘Bad news leads to an ostrich solution.’
He said building a culture of sustainability needs the involvement of the whole community. ‘Sustainability begins in small acts of responsibility as individuals and communities.’
Inglewood farmers Victor and Christiane McIntyre also spoke of practical steps they have taken on their dairy farm to improve both the environment and their own work. The couple have received an award for sustainable land use.
Victor spoke of his support for riparian corridors, which provide for planting alongside rivers. He said the plant growth filters water, so nutrients from the soil and from animal waste remain on farmland, rather than ending up in waterways.
‘We are all trying hard, and with the best advice will make progress in more sustainable use in the future.’
Christiane said farming and her veterinary work helped them to understand that we are all part of creation, and cohabiters of the earth with other living beings.
‘We are all made from the same matter … the minerals in the soil are the minerals in our bodies.’
Time spent in India as a child taught her to value water. ‘Water will be one of the most valued and scarce items in the world one day. I know what it means not to have water.’
She agreed with other panelists that the environmental problems the world is currently facing give opportunities as well as challenges.