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#NotEverythingHasTo BeAProtest

I have yet to join a Friday Climate Strike. Not because I don’t think climate is important. I understand the clear science behind climate change and have seen firsthand the devastating impacts both in Kenya and in British Columbia, Canada to human and non-human communities. I know that humans are adding more toxins, more carbon dioxide, more destruction than the earth is capable of dealing with right now. No, I agree with the words being spoken on the placards and through the megaphones. 

Another Friday I was helping build a mini wetland, pond, river, waterfall ecosystem.

So why haven’t I taken to the streets on a Friday to hold placards and chant my discontent? Well, the first Friday I sat at a booth at an Agricultural Awareness Days engaging with land owners about erosion on their land that is adding to habitat loss for salmon, learning their stories and encouraging them to put practices into place that provide water for their cattle as well as habitat for salmon. The next Friday I was speaking with a group of teenagers on what they could do in their classroom and school to help connect students with nature and reduce waste. Another Friday I was helping build a mini wetland, pond, river, waterfall ecosystem on the piece of property God has given to us to steward. 

I promised myself I would never join a protest again that I didn’t understand.

It’s not that I don’t think protests are valuable. When I was 17 I hit the streets to protest too. They provide an outlet for frustration, a sense of standing together in solidarity, a voicing of concerns to those in power. But honestly, I don’t remember what I was protesting against. I’m sure it had something to do with the environmental issues of the day. I do remember going home afterwards though and thinking “I don’t actually know what the issue really was and whether what I was shouting needed to be done was the best course of action”. I promised myself I would never join a protest again that I didn’t understand. As I matured and learned more about the multitude of issues facing this earth I have come to appreciate that there is not always one right way to move forward and there are so many factors that to say one way is the only way to fix something can be just as destructive as the destruction we are trying to avoid. 

Protesting is a great way to begin. If you’ve participated in a climate strike over the past 6 months great work! You’ve taken the first step. Now I have a challenge for you. One that may be harder but will affect change much deeper than any Friday Climate strike. Make every day a care for the earth day by the way you live. Can you imagine the impact of all those millions of people who hit the streets on Fridays if they spent the Saturday afterwards planting a tree, creating habitat, and reducing their ecological footprint? Now that would be real change! 

Join forces with organizations who have worked decades to bring restoration

I pray that you have already begun that journey but if you went out to protest, like I did, when you didn’t really understand the issues…take the next Saturday to make yourself aware of ALL sides of the story. Meet with people who have been quietly pushing for change for the past 30, 40, 60 years and ask them where they feel creation is suffering in your neighbourhood. Then join forces with organizations who have worked decades to bring restoration and healing to creation. 

Read books like Serve God Save the Planet by Matthew Sleeth, Planetwise: Dare to care for God’s world. by Dave Bookless or L is for Lifestyle by Ruth Valerio. Join Facebook groups like Green Church, A Rocha Canada or A Rocha USA, and Plastic-Less Living. Volunteer with organizations like A Rocha, your local natural history club or river clean-up society. Plant a garden, ride a bike, turn off your device. Take a test to determine your ecological footprint ( and then pick one thing each week this year to change in your lifestyle that will help you reduce that footprint.

It’s much harder to sit down with them and hear their story,

It’s easy to yell in someone’s face and hold placards challenging them to make a change. It’s much harder to sit down with them (yes even “those” people you are shouting against) and hear their story, gently meeting people where they are at and challenging them to take the next step. Whether you acknowledge climate change or not, whether you shout “yes!” when you hear a speech or groan at the insanity of it all…we are all called to be stewards of God’s good creation. Caring for it may start with a shout, but it will only move forward with the day to day, keep on keeping on, quiet life lived with humility and perseverance life we are called to. Not everything has to be a protest. 

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life…” (1 Thessalonians 11)

Photo provided by the author of her plot at the community garden.  


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