Walk seeks to question, heal our relations with the planet
By Jan Fogg
One of the aims of Walk for the Planet is to celebrate the diversity, productiveness and beauty of our New Zealand environment.
During Lent, Walk for the Planet will track through some of the best but also some of the most challenging farmland on the planet. The walkers will pass through dairy farms, dry-land cropping and stock farms, plantation forests, and vineyards. The will walk alongside and travel over waters that produce oysters, crayfish, mussels, scallops and a variety of fish species. Those same waters are home to the great whales, dolphins, and sea birds from the albatross down that attract ecotourists.
The primary producers of the South Island of New Zealand are amongst the most efficient and highly skilled in the world. Yet there is always the question, ‘How are our farming and tourism methods affecting the sustainability of our land and waters?’
We must strike a careful balance as we give thought to this question. Consider, for example, the global financial crisis and commodity price rises that have seen the price of staples like rice and wheat soar by up to 80 percent in some countries. It would not be justice to simply decry the efficient way food is produced in this country. Urban and rural people alike are called by God to be good stewards of everything around us. We must all give consideration to the sustainability effects of every action.
It can be argued that the Church has encouraged the anthropogenic contribution to climate change – that God’s love for all things can get lost in God’s love for people. Therefore we must bring out the significant sections of the scriptures that are sensitive to the environment and opposed to the exploitation that humans have wrought on the planet. We must speak beyond the idea that God seeks the salvation of humans and tell out the Good News that God’s salvation is for all creation.
Walk for the Planet hopes to help that process by speaking through the action of feet on the soil and in the water, slowing the pace of life; and by hearts filled with love and concern for the future of this place we are part of.