Category: eco-christian

Trapped in the Glass – How development alters animal behavior

Now, if you are crying out that life is not fair, think again. Fairness in the animal world goes somethings like this, first you are either born to a predator family or prey family. If you are born to a predator family, tough luck but… you could die before you are two days old if you are a lion, because your father will maul you!#heartaffairs

Well, so you made it to one year old and you have even started growing a mane (beard); you will have to fight for your space among many others, leave alone your brothers, to be the male to be reckoned with and perhaps progenerate. So this blissful life may last a year or two, if you actually make it to the apex of the family tree but what happens then? Younger, cooler, quicker peeps are born and they spoil it all for you. All over sudden, you are dropped like a hot cake and yes, your peers watch you as you rejoin them or if you happen to be a buffalo, they’ll even relegate you to a class lower than “them boys” and leave you groping in the wild with only a bad temper to show for your many year of hard work. Sort of like retiring from government but worse :-).

So you are born to a prey family… hmmm. Why were you ever born? You spend the rest of THE life on the run!! Then you are eaten, if you don’t die first.

On the contrary, being human is different and that is why we like to reiterate that we are not animals. We have rights for everything imaginable, and yes, I really mean UNIMAGINABLE. You see if you are born impaired, we have laws that will protect you, if you are weak there are laws that will not allow those stronger than you to take what you have, everyone is entitled to one spouse, at least by most constitutions in the world, you even have a right to be happy. Human rights have even made the wrong Okay.

I am sure things could be more fair but let me get to the point before this discussion gets political.

Have you ever noticed when animals look in the mirror, they develop a high sense of insecurity? They always wonder why their mirror mate is trying to trample their space. There is usually a revolt, momentary or one that could last hours, days, weeks, months or years as they struggle to dissipate their Unworthy opponent.

While taking a visit to the North of Kenya, Laikipia and Isiolo (by the way a nice country), two hornbills perched on my side mirror where we had parked the car and were furiously pecking away. They were obviously a male and female and they each took a turn at stabbing the mirror with their mighty horns. This of course is not the kind of thing I would call fun but yeah, there I was taking photos. This reminded me of an African black-headed oriole I made acquaintance with at one lodge in Isiolo called Rangeland Resort. The bird has been trapped in glass for the last couple of years, trying to displace it’s mirror image.

For those who know about the oriole, they are fairly shy birds that are found in woodland forest edges and are not necessarily garden birds. However for the number of nights I have spent at this resort, this individual religiously presents him/herself in early morning and mid-afternoon, constantly clawing away the nicely tinted windows that make the place look magnificent. It is not on purpose that this the owner built up the space but I can see how this has completely altered the behavior of this bird, perhaps forever. Woodland is fast disappearing in many of the rangelands around Kenya including the southern rangeland heading towards Magadi, the Northern rangelands out towards Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana just but to name a few. Development is good. What we give up must also be carefully considered. We should avoid “trapping animals in glass”. Development that does not create room for wildlife is retrogressive. It will only diminish our environmental experience to animals in the glass aka zoos!

So conclusion of the matter… yes things may seem bleek for your today but life is not unfair, it’s just life. Secondly, ensure that you create space for wildlife including birds, insects, mammals and the unknown bug, when you put up your building, or tell someone to do so!! Till next time.

Going Green in Africa – The church nexus

“The Earth is the Lords and everything in it, the land and the fullness thereof” Ps 14.1 asserts a sense of ownership of the earth. Everything that was created belongs to God and he created it for his own pleasure including man. Man was created to have a relationship with God, with fellow man and with the rest of creation (Gen 4:8, Hosea 4:3). However, man’s rebellion through the fall has broken his relationships between God and creation. These broken relationships have led to alienation of man from God and from creation, resulting in a depraved relationship based on greed and selfish desires.

Most of the issues facing the Africa today can be traced back to environmental roots whether it be famine, wars, disease, poverty, land and forest degradation, pollution among others. While some of these issues are solvable through improved resource management and application of scientific solutions little has been done to address the social perceptions of people towards nature and environment. Most Christians’ perception of caring for creation is limited despite a wide reach of the church in Africa. Few churches teach the principles of caring for creation leave alone fully embracing it as part of their worship. Africa has the best chance of solving its own problems by finding its own solutions, and this also goes for solving its environmental challenges.

Land stewardship in Africa is not a new concept but a renaissance through the church will provide much hope and a great drive for action. As it is integrated into worship, it stems into practical action which can harness our faith, beliefs and resources, turning and audience to action for global environmental justice and shifting those attitudes that “so easily beset us”.

Information sharing forums and discussions focusing on the biblical mandate to care for creation should straddle over our mundane culture in order to find our roles as Christians, and to be part of God’s restoration by developing practical plans of local action in step with our faith. “You can only Love what you know, you can only know what you experience.”