Modeling the Green Church: A Diocesan Resolve to promote Ecological Stewardship
Climate change continues to pose one of the greatest challenges to human existence in the 21% century and beyond. With much of the world’s ecosystem already damaged, largely through human activity, the focus now shifts to enlisting actors to help in mitigating the effects of this. Increased altering of the ecosystem has, evidently, contributed to the changing trends in wildlife survival, food security situations across the nations, changing weather patterns, degradation and disruption of water bodies, and the emergence of other health issues.
A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nation’s Body for assessing the science related to climate change; calls for, among others, greening of supply chains. This would, according to the report safeguard the environment by ‘utilizing products and services with a reduced impact on the environment and human health.’ As Nations strive towards effecting such measures, the Anglican Diocese of Mumias, in western Kenya, has embarked on a model to demonstrate this unique approach to the locals around the area.
A visit to the Mumias Diocesan headquarters, located in Mumias Town, reveals a patterned effort to ensure that the serenity of its compound represents its emphasis on conservation, blended into her mission of spreading the gospel. On the 19th of January, 2019 the Green Anglicans’ Movement was launched in the Diocese. An initiative of the wider Anglican Church to encourage environmental conservation, the Green Anglican concept in the Diocese has found its roots and has established its place in the well-kept green Compound. Huge trees provide a shade to the flurry of activities that take place in the purple themed buildings.
The Diocesan Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Wandera says that this ministry is well anchored in the Christian call to be caretakers of the God’s Creations. He explains that, “Our service underscores the Christian mandate to protect nature while also exploiting it sustainably.” With a Diocesan Environmental Conservation blueprint already in place, fully backed by synodal approval and adoption, Bishop Dr. Wandera observes that “the posterity of nature and its giftings lies in the manner in which the present world interacts with it,” and this calls for deliberate safeguarding mechanisms of what is currently available.
Tree Nursery and tree Planting
The Diocesan Tree nursery, which provides trees to the community members has attracted partnership from the County Government of Kakamega, among others. All these, in attempt to draw inspiration to the people that indeed the church must take part in the life of the community.
David Ignatius, a Community Facilitator working with the Diocese explains that Mumias being mainly multireligious Diocese, ecumenical networks have provided the Diocese a mission front that can be used to foster conservation efforts right from the Top.
Sustainable Land Management
The Diocese has established demonstration farms that are used to demonstrate good Agri Practices to the people who visit the offices. Dennis says that this has greatly improved the productivity of the area as the community understands how to protect the soil while engaging in agriculture. Trees such as the XXX which are grown in the Diocesan Tree nursery help in Nitrogen Fixation. The residents are encouraged to get the trees from the Diocese at a small fee-which ensures sustainability of the program.
Green Energy/Solar Power.
The World Bank Energy Progress Report 2019 estimates that around three-quarters of the country are currently using Electricity. With the recent commissioning of the Lake Turkana Wind Project, the country intends to upscale the use of green energy. Further, renewable energy equipment is Zero Rated so as to encourage uptake. across the Nation. However, some of the barriers to this include a lack of awareness of the benefits of green energy and a lack of proper regulations and standardization.
To promote renewable energy, Mumias Diocese has partnered with Mwangaza Light, a green energy dealer, to encourage the community to use green energy solutions in their households. This has been aided by churches that have embraced solar-powered solutions in their operations. The Diocesan resource center has a television set that uses a solar panel as a power source.
One other exciting thing that one notices at the Bishop Hannington Training Institute part of the expansive Headquarters, are the large numbers of people sitting under the tents spread out in the Institute’s fields. Most of these are either having lunch served at the institute’s eatery or using the internet while enjoying the fresh breeze brought about by the trees in the compound. With the eatery attracting its clientele from the surrounding Government and private offices, this provides a relaxation of enjoying a meal in the freshness of nature. Participants of conferences held here also use the tents and shades during group discussions or any other personal meetings.
The Dioceses also has plans to establish two recreational facilities for street children and other members of the public within the premises. This, Bishop Wandera says affirms the Church’s ministry- incorporated in in the provision of nature. The Ebenezer and Tumaini projects which is being implemented through partnerships with well-wishers, are expected to be completed within the next one year. Synonymous with other facilities in the compound, these two projects bear the beauty of nature as they are all located within a setup of huge trees.