Waste Not: Environmental Stewardship for BAM Practitioners

by Mark Polet

“And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” John 6:12-14

I want to focus on the text above of ‘so that nothing may be lost, (wasted)’. Jesus is following a tradition in central and west Asia of not wasting any food. To throw away food here in central Asia, even today, is a singularly bad thing.

Terri making Samanak

Terri and I just returned from working for a like-minded cleaning company that employs almost 150 people; the cleaning staff is mostly women. Lately in this capital city, shopping centres have opened up, bringing a western norm into contact with an Eurasian sensibility. These centres include food courts of which some of you are familiar. The company we serve has the contract to clean the shopping centre, which includes cleaning up the food court and the wasted food left on the plates.

Some of the cleaning women just cannot throw away this food; they break down in tears when they see it wasted. They are following Jesus’ command to the letter. Even when our colleague Enova tells them it is not their fault, that it is the customer that has to answer to God, the cleaning women just cannot dispose of the food. In some cases, they have had to be moved to other duties.

This waste, so new to this culture, is even more offensive when you consider the challenge it is to make a living here, now exacerbated by: poor wheat harvests in Eurasia last year; the inability to plant wheat in the midst of a war in Eurasia’s bread basket, the Ukraine; the lower value of the ruble, which has dragged down the local currency as well; and the loss of remittances sent home by the local men working in Russia and the Ukraine.

Perhaps we can learn from our central Asian colleagues in applying the principle of “Waste Not” to our BAM enterprises as part of our environmental commitment. The first step is to quantify you inputs and your outputs (including those outputs currently classified as waste).  Read more

Challenge and Hope: How Business Can Help the Planet and Its People Flourish [Video]

Video Presentation by Mark Polet

The people we want to reach are facing the greatest environmental, even existential challenges. BAMers are on the ground already in the areas of greatest need. This presentation explores how to meet these challenges with the Hope we share and the technical capabilities we can access.

>>More on Creation Care on The BAM Review blog here

Read more

Colonising Earth with the Life of Heaven: Creation Care & Mission

by Caroline Pomeroy

Last month I visited a lively Anglican church in my local town. It was ‘Mission Sunday’ and to illustrate this to the children, the leader stuck post-it notes onto a giant inflatable globe, each yellow note signifying one of the church’s mission partners. He then asked people to remind him what Mark 16:15 says. ‘Go and evangelise all the people in the world’ was the first response…

These few minutes highlighted two things for me – first, a popular misconception about what the Good News means; and secondly the challenges of doing global mission in a climate crisis.

Good News to All Creation

At the end of Mark’s gospel, Jesus calls the first disciples to ‘… go and preach the good news to all creation.’ Although opinions differ on the exact interpretation of this phrase, a reading of other versions of the Great Commission – and indeed the whole of the bible – implies that there is more to the Good News than just saving human souls. In Matthew 28:19 the disciples are told to ‘… go and make disciples…’. A disciple is someone who loves God and loves their neighbour. So the process of disciple-making must include the practical outworking of loving God and neighbour. But how can we say we love our neighbours if, as a result of the way we live and do business, our global neighbours’ crops are failing due to climate change; our future neighbours’ homes will be under water by the end of the century; and our non-human neighbours’ habitat is disappearing due our demand for palm oil or coffee?

In Genesis chapters 1 and 2, Adam and Eve, made in God’s likeness, are given authority to ‘rule over’ creation on God’s behalf.  But just as Jesus, the Servant King, exercises loving dominion over His kingdom, this first Great Commission in Genesis 1-2 is about dominion, not domination. Humankind is called to serve and preserve the earth and all its creatures, not to dominate and exploit them.  Read more

Why Should We Care About Creation Care?

by Mats Tunehag

We know we are to be good stewards of creation. Those are God’s instructions to humans in Genesis 1 & 2 – especially Gen.1:28, often known as the ‘creation mandate’ (also ‘cultural mandate).

In the Business as Mission (BAM) movement we typically talk about the quadruple bottom line of social, spiritual, environmental and economic impact:

In and through business we want to:

  • serve people,
  • align with God’s purposes,
  • be good stewards of the planet,
  • and make a profit.

But how are we doing in the BAM community with stewardship of the planet? How are BAM companies leading the way in positive environmental change?

We know from our work in the BAM Global Network that creation care and environmental stewardship is a relatively weak area for BAM companies, and and that BAM practitioners feel under-resourced and overwhelmed by this challenge. Creation care is a topic in much need of further exploration in the BAM movement, which is why we are focusing on BAM and Creation Care again on The BAM Review this month. Read more