Cap-Haïtien, Haiti – More than 100 people representing diverse faiths and backgrounds gathered on Saturday, October 13th at Eben-Ezer Church for a daylong workshop on sustainable living. In addition to presentations covering water conservation, electricity usage, and waste management, the event featured a street cleaning activity that allowed participants to collect trash while learning about the distinction between composting and recycling materials.
Improper waste management is one of the most destructive environmental actions in Haiti, so an important first step towards caring for God’s creation is to reduce garbage and improve our methods for recycling, composting, and disposal.
A vegan meal was also shared between the event participants, faith leaders, and local authorities before each person was invited to pledge to change his/her behaviors through sustainable practices. After the events, I was honored to hold a meeting with the faith leaders’ representatives to explore opportunities for more effective and deeper engagement in the movement for faith-based sustainable living.
Together with eco-theologians and environmental educators, I shared the story of the Garden of Eden as an example to Christians of how to live the change by practicing a new lifestyle.
In the book of Genesis, the Bible gives an account about the creation of a paradise known as the Garden of Eden. This paradise became home to Adam and Eve, and the couple were charged by the Creator to maintain it. Having been reared in a small rural village in Haiti, I have often regarded the story of Adam and Eve in the garden as a plea for humanity to care for their environment. For far too long, the environment in Haiti has been a tremendous area of oversight with regards to the management of ecological factors, including deforestation, land erosion, and improper waste management. The loss of tropical forest due to human intervention makes all of these factors even worse, which is particularly hurtful as these trees and ecosystems should be otherwise helping to mitigate the climate change.
I am committed to actively participate in the struggles of individuals and groups for a healthier, more just, more humane, and more ecologically wholesome world. This commitment speaks to my zealous desire to engage my community in taking better care of the land in which we live, thereby preserving it for future generations to come.
All Christians need to take responsibility to change their lifestyle for environmental stewardship. Practice sustainable living. God gives us dominion upon the earth not to destroy, but to maintain and sustain it, and to make it a better place for tomorrow. Living the change must first start within the faith community to serve as example for others. I invite the global ecumenical movement to act collectively for environmental stewardship and equity.
As a believer, I consider it vital that faith communities play an essential role in the promotion of environmental stewardship. Actions de la Société CIVILe (ASOCIVIL), the national faith-based association for civic engagement that I direct, is committed to follow Jesus by serving the interests of all communities. We do this, in part, by evangelizing persons in the highest levels of society to seek eco-justice and facilitate effective creation-care measures through faith-based structures and educational initiatives. Our members are also engaged in strategic partnerships aligned with nonviolent advocacy aims and indigenous traditions/practices.
If the collective spiritual and physical well-being of the planet is to survive and eventually thrive, then important environmental measure must be taken. My hope is for faith communities to help people live responsibly by serving as the catalyst for this change in our society.
Min. Adulin Prophete is native of Haiti, an advocate for Environmental Justice and Public Policy, and Director of ASOCIVIL, a national faith-based association for civic engagement. He serves as president of Citizens for Green Community, a regional, interfaith environmental organization. He is also the founder of ESEP (Environmental Stewardship Education Program), which . collaborates with ASOCIVIL to provide environmental education to churches and local schools for sustainable living.