Sunday, May 9, 2010

Evangelical Environmentalism: Creation Care

Web links:

What is Evangelical Environmentalism?

Evangelical Environemtnalism is also known as Creation Care, it is seen as "an activist religion". Evangelical is a movement that has been growing and improving around the world. They believe that "they are to be agents of divine transformation as with Noah" (Bookless, 2008). Many believers who are members of creation care are not becoming more aware of the world around them such as global warming, feed-the-hungry, enivronmental concerns that are either harmful to humans and animals. However, there are some contradiction between the verses in the bible that may cause confusion among the members and conflicts about whether they are to do anything about the environment. Sometimes one may view the verse totally different compare to the other one. One main issue with this organization is the fact that should they only care for humans or consider every living thing?

Mission and Goals:

"The goal is not fundamentally to save the natural world, they claim, but to glorify God...God is glorified by caring for God's caring for the earth as God's creation, evangelicals are able to affirm God's sovereignty over both it and their efforts" (Simmons, 2009). By doing this evangelicals are setting up recycling bins in their churches, planting gardens behind their churches to help others with making a living; for examples, "a family took the lessons they learned from Meeker in the church garden and is now gardening on the property of a neighbor who is a single mother living on disablity; their labor allows the women to sell produce at a local farmer's market" (Rossi, 2008). They have many programs such as "bible study program and a garden plot on church property and summer camp where they teach children to learn garden using hand tools, cook using fresh produce, and can the tomato salsa, all whle they're learning to work together in teams" (Rossi, 2008). This not only benefits the environment, but the people as well on how to work together, how to help and support each other through thick and thin. Evangelical Environmentalism is another way of making people be aware of what is happening around the world with the enviornment, health issues and poverty.

History/Time Line:

Evangelical Environmentalism has been around since the 70's, but was not until 2005 that it started to expand and more people became aware of the movement. I will be listing some events as a time line here quoted from J.A. Simmons who did his study on this movement in 2009.

1970-Publication of Francis Schaeffer's Pollution and the Death of Man: The Christian View of Ecology. One of leading evangelical intellectuals of the twentieth century and is widely credited as helping to launch the environmental movement.

1979- Establishment of the Au Sable Institute in Michigan, designed to serve as a center of Christian environmental education.

August 1992- Meeting at the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Fellowship at the Au Sable Insititute in Michigan for the Au Sable Forum on Evangelical Christianity and the Environment.

1992- Establishment of the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN). A project under the umbrella of the Christians for Social Action organization in our homes and churches.

Summer 2002- Oxford Conference on Climate Change sponsored by the John Ray Initiative of Great Britian and the Au Sable Institute in the U.S. This was a meeting about the central claims made in the Declaration of Global Warming.

November 2002- What Would Jesus Drive Campaign sponsored by the Evangelical Environmental Network. This brought the issues of the fuel economy and poullution from cars, trucks and SUVs.

March 2005- More than 100 evangelical leaders meet in Washington D.C. to dicuss a possible statement on global warming.

October 2006- Bill Moyers, the same individual who criticized evangelicals for being complicit in the environmental crisis due to their eschatological vision, used his PBS television show to discuss evangelical environmentalism and consider the question: "Is God Green?". This brought national attention the evangelicals perspective and focused of the environment.

2006- J. Matthew Sleeth publishes Serve God and Save the Planet, the best practical account of why Christian faith entals environmental action.

Fall 2008- The public face of evanglicalism has begun to shift quite dramatically. A concern for the environment is causing many 'younger evangelicals' to break ranks with the traditional issues that have characterized the evangelicals voter over the past few elections cycles. (Simmons, 2009)

Therefore, evangelicalism has been around for many many years and until now people are starting to be aware of this movement and is willing to support it. However, there are still many issues that contradicts it such as the issue of only consider human and the earth or animals as well, along with local produce may be good for you, but is it nutritious?

Conflicts and Concerns:

There are many concerns and many arguments stating that quoting the bible may causes contradiction between the churches of what to believe in and what not to do or to do for the environment. Along with the fact that this is "often a world paralysed lethargy or fear"; therefore, it could almost not be possible to justify this movements by quoting the bible. Here is a list of concerns claimed by Calvin DeWitt in the Simmons studies:

1) This world is not my home.

2) Caring for creation gets us too close to the New Age movement.

3) Respecting creation gets us too close to pantheism.

4) We need to avoid anything that looks like political correctness.

5) There are too many worldly people out there doing environmental things.

6) Caring for creation will lead to world government.

7) Before you know it we will have to support abortion.

8) I don't want to be an extremist or alarmist.

9) Dominion means what it says--oppressive domination.

10) People are more important than the environment. (2000: 68-71)

These are rather ignorant concerns to even use to justify the fact not to support the environment, because human are not apart of it or has no responsibilty whatsoever with the environmental crisis. "Environmentalism is not primarily a matter of scientific realities, but of religious competition" (Simmons, 2009). This does show that people who are against this are afraid of distractions that may cause more issues among the evangelical environmentalism and it is the fear that makes people think twice about the movement. The fear of not being true to themselves since the traditions of Christianity was so very different and this movement may cause them to get involve in other issues such as abortion and gay marriage.


"Today, a growing number of evangelicals are rediscovering simpler lifestyles in obedience to Christ's teaching on money and possessions, and also as evidence grows of the negative impact over consumption of resources is having on the poor and the planet-and often on the mental and physical health of the rich themselves" (Bookless, 2008). Evangelical environmentalism may face some conflict for helping the environment, but it is a great movement to be able to be open to your own perspective of how you percieve the bible's quotes in the world. I say that if they are doing good deeds for the world, the people and the environment than I encourage and support the movement. If this is the only way to find justification for these issues than we must continue with this kind of movement. Whether it may get us too involve with the government or the political perspective we are apart of it if we don't do anything we are giving out a statement. So, I'd rather do something about it than nothing, because small changes goes a long way.

Simmons, J. Aaron. "Evangelical Environmentalism: Oxymoron or Opportunity?." Worldviews: Environment Culture Religion 13.1 (2009): 40-71. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 10 May 2010.

Bookless, Dave. "Christian Mission and Environmental Issues: An Evangelical Reflection." Mission Studies: Journal of the International Association for Mission Studies 25.1 (2008): 37-52. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 10 May 2010.

"Evangelical Covenant Church adds voice on care of environment." Christian Century 124.15 (2007): 14. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 10 May 2010.

Rossi, Holly Lebowitz. "God in the Garden: How conservative evangelical churches are finding feed-the-hungry, save-the-planet meaning in their own backyards." Science & Spirit 19.4 (2008): 40-45. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 10 May 2010.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Democracy of Eco-Fashion: Cute Organic Fashion, Now at Affordable Prices

H&M Spring Collection:The Garden

Many fashion industry are now going green by using renewable materials such as recyclable polyester, organic cotton, organic linen and more. However, there are still many questions behind how this can really effect the environment. I will be analyzing an advertisement in the daily green website page I have found advertising H&M's new spring collection called, The Garden.

H&M is a clothing store for men, women and children. They sell clothes for an affordable price, therefore, this is targeted towards the middle class.

Let's start with the title of this advertisement for H&M spring collection:

The Democracy of Eco -Fashion: Cute Organic Fashion, Now at Affordable Prices

As I analyze this the words being used in the title is quite catching, for example especially the word 'affordable'. The whole point of this is to be eco-friendly, the word 'organic' is in the title; however, it was seem less important when 'affordable' showed up at the end. Me, as a consumer who actually shops at H&M, when I first read this head line it made wanted to go shopping there instead of acknowledging the fact that they are trying to be eco-friendly in their spring collection. Under the title where a little advertisement quote for the spring collection, explaining how much every item seen is under $100. So, instead of promoting economic issues and making people become aware of this problem; it hinder the issue with the words being used to advertise for the collection.

The first thing I saw when I came onto the page was the clothes, there were arrows where you could click to the next slide to see the next look of the collection and in a box next to each slide there were some sort of information on the outfit explaining what made this an eco-friendly look. The information it gave was just what kind of fabric were used, but not how it was made and if the color of the fabrics were natural or organic in any way? I wanted more information on the fabrics, on how it was made and what consumers could do to when they don't want it anymore?

The website for the advertisement was very plain and simple with a white background and very light colors to contrast with the images. What stood out the most were the photos of the clothes, how to style it and make it fashionable and who wore the clothes. The picture that I have chosen on the upper right hand corner are manicans with the eco-friendly spring collection for H&M. If you observe the manicans, they are all very tall and very skinny; this is obviously saying that if you were this outfit you will look tall and skinny or it could go the other way around with the message that these clothes are only for tall skinny girls. However, it does not show any race until in the few next photos I see they only use one model to model off the spring collection and she is a white, blond, tall, american woman. So, what does this say to you? Therefore, this causes another reason to hindering the issue of the environment, because it brings up another problem and that is race.

Overall, there is one thing I found positive or at least used in a good way. The fact that H&M did acknowledge the poor economy in the United States and had the idea of having a spring collection that is affordable to the overall Americans. But than it makes you wonder, where was the clothes made at? Who made them? And why are they so cheap? This brings up another issue of global conflicts such as corporations using the third world countries to make these products for cheaper use and labor.

In conclusion, the words, media and reputation of the corporation's product hinders the main goal that is to help become a more eco-friendly product for the environment, because we care. Instead, we question, do they really care? Or is it for their reputation for the corporation? Also, it brings up other issues such as race and class. Therefore, this was a good idea for the fashion industry, but there must be further research to do.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Environmental: Blame Chinese Dams Rise as Mekong River Dries Up

Environmental: Blame Chinese Dams Rise as Mekong River Dries Up is an article from Global Issues which is a non-governmental organization website. By reading the the title of the article you have a sense of what the environmental issue will be about. The tone of the title is quite harsh with having the first word be "blame", putting the Chinese at fault for the environmental issue almost and pointing a finger at them. However, the journalist never compared the Chinese dams to other dams around the world to see if there are any evidence that this may be a well-organized argument of why the Mekong river is drying up in the southern area. Also, the journalist seems to only stay on one side pretty much through out the article instead of being neutral to the topic or objective.

The first sentence in the paragraph stated, "Environmentalist and sections of the regional media are blaming the Chinese dams being built or operating on the upper reaches of the Mekong for contributing for the dramatic drop in water levels that are affecting communities in..." By using the word environmentalist, it seems that even the 'experts' were agreeing with the public views and having media to blame the Chinese dams shows that this could be a bias perspective. Due to the fact that media tends to be bias in reporting any kind of issues or news, whatsoever, and media always exaggerates the news.

The journalist quoted lots of different experets which are mainly governmental agents like the Chinese embassy, the Thai prime minster and MRC members. The issue that I have with this was the fact that the journalist never explained what MRC stands for or is and what the purpose is so readers can have a better understanding. Because MRC can stand for anything, for example; Media Research Center, Medical Reserve Corps and Merchant Risks Council. The article brought in a support saying that the Mekong river drying up is a problem to certain communities like the people who live in Mekong Basin, because "fishing is the main source to livelihood in that community." But the down fall of this is that the people with authority were speaking for them who obviously is not living or experiencing for themselves. I would like to have heard how the Chinese dams are personally and emotionally effecting the lives of the people who lived in that area. However, if that was done the journalist would have to change direction and its concentration of the article. One thing I did find positive were the different perspective of reasons from both opposing views of the environmental issue.

There were scientific history and fact about the Mekong river, but there was no comparison to how the river used to be like until the Chinese dams came into play. That was one down fall on the science view, but it does give you some useful information about the benefit that communities recieve from the Mekong river. Also, there was not anything about how the dams were not only affecting the lives of human beings, but animal as well. Like fish for example, how are the dams affecting the fishes living cycle in the area where the dams are built.

The ending of the article left me kind of in an awkward position, because I felt like the story was not done or the debate to this issue was not finished. The article ended with a quote from an authority who is claimed to be an expert in this topic almost making it seem like the readers should take that expert's side. I would consider that the ending was really the journalist thesis of the article. It was more like a cut off to the environmental issue to me.