How does your faith help you in times of struggle, change, and new beginnings?
I always get strength from reading Mathew 28:20, in which Jesus clearly said that "I am with you forever". When I am depressed, confused or failing in my work, I always spend my time in prayer, receiving the energy to start again with renewed spirit and enthusiasm.
How does your faith describe the relationship between all living things, the Earth, and the Divine?
I am a Protestant Christian who believes in the Ecumenical theology of development. It is our faith to work for climate justice and sustain the lives of all people. This involvement flows out of Christ’s Command to love thy neighbors, as it is the fundamental principle of Christianity.
What does your faith tradition teach about material consumption and simplicity?
In the Bible, Daniel Chapter 1 offers the wonderful example of simple food adopted by three persons. Also, Timothy Chapter 1 clearly says that love for money is the root cause of all evils. I believe that to accumulate wealth beyond your basic needs leads a person towards exploitation of natural resources and the green climate.
In what ways does your community provide you with a guide to life?
I always find the guidance of God for myself from the Book of Proverbs in the Bible. By reading Proverbs, my faith becomes stronger and I get more energy to work for my cause and commitments. I believe that we are here on the earth to fulfill and implement the Lord's commandments.
Which sacred texts most inspire you to act for change?
Exodus 23:10-11 (English Standard Version) "For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the field may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard and with your olive orchard."
What have you done to improve the sustainability of your diet, transportation, and/or energy use?
Inspired by our faith, my wife, my two children, and I all started making sustainable behavior choices about our transportation, our energy use, and our diet beginning between four to seven years ago.
First, we are now using bicycles instead of cars, both to reach the office and to take our children to school. Although we had a family car in the past, the bicycles are now part of our daily lives. There are some challenges, of course, including how the bicycle takes more time and requires more physical energy. Some neighbors also taunt us by asking “how can adaptation of sustainable living from one family can bring the change in the society?" But we are happy taking these actions in our own lives and inspiring others.
Second, our family switched to solar energy for lighting our home starting almost four years ago. For cooking purposes, we are capturing and using the biogas that is generated from our food scraps combined with the animal dung from our livestock.
We also have our own home organic garden with different varieties of vegetables and fruits that are sufficient for our own family’s consumption. We have also five cows and four buffaloes, which provide fresh milk, as well as animal dung that is used as fertilizer and for our biogas fuel production.
Last but not least, my family has been following a plant-based diet since 2011, when I first attended an international Asian Seminar on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security organized by the International Federation of Rural Adult Catholic Movements (FIMARC). We have also started to use indigenous and local cold drinks such as "Satu" (a product made by wastage of wheat harvest), "Shikanji" (a mixture of fresh lemon juice, water and salt), and "Lasi" (a combination of water, salt and a bit of fresh milk).
How would you describe the experience of making these lifestyle changes?
To become the first drop of rain, and to set the example for others, we have to change our personal behavior. Mobilizing the people for climate justice is a difficult task. In spite of this, the young and educated people are now working for climate justice voluntarily. To achieve our goal, we have to give sacrifices and be determined to achieve our target.