We want to tell you about an amazing organization, led by David Radcliff. David is the director of New Community Project, which focuses on environmental sustainability and social justice.
David literally travels the world making friends wherever he goes. These are difficult times for the environment. Climate change is heavily affecting the glaciers of Denali in Alaska. Deforestation is putting indigenous communities at risk in Ecuador. What David does is remarkable – he teaches Americans how to live simply and reduce waste. And he finds funding for projects in third world countries that help communities thrive. One of them is “A Girl and a Bike” – so high school girls in Malawi can get to school and back under their own power. It can be a 10-mile trip just to get to school, and families don’t have cars.
There are times when charity is vitally important, especially in times of crisis. But charity is no substitute for a sustained commitment to empowering strong community. It’s the whole “You can give someone a fish, or you can teach them how to fish” thing. But that deserves a caveat. As modern Americans, we have made more than our share of mistakes as we have gone into communities with the assumption that we know the best way to build strong, sustainable community. We should instead be learning about sustainability – how to live fully and simply without overusing resources.
Want to do something now? Where to start?
- Less stuff (container ships transporting goods to the US pollute as much every mile as a car driving around the world)
- Lower on the food chain (more grains, fruits and veggies)
- Lighter carbon footprint (think cars, cows, consumption, convenience – and green energy)
- Learn from nature’s ways (we’re the only creature that creates trash – and we’re the “smart ones”)
- Love this planet – our only home (get to know a stream or forest or desert near you)
- Let your voice be heard! (it’s not enough to change ourselves – we have to change others and the “system”)
The work of Global Women’s Project is not simply to help poor women in poor countries. It is a service of listening. Of hearing what women in various circumstances face in their daily lives, and supporting the work the women decide need to be done. As affluent Western Christians, it may seem like the needy are in our faces, and at our feet. But, they also must be in our minds, our conversations, our decisions. We don’t need to be a voice for the voiceless, as the saying often goes. Everybody in need has a voice—Jesus’ healings gave witness to this. They all vocalized their needs. The difference is, that Jesus listened. Instead of being simply a voice, we need to first be ears that hear, receivers of stories, discerners of how we each can speak with women and men around the world, not speak for them. How we can be healed alongside them, not simply heal them.
~ Carrie Eikler Morgantown