The ecology equation is simple. Air, water, land must be sustainable and accessible to provide sufficient resources for all living beings.

Ecology, the relationship between air, water, land, and people. Finding the balance.

Ecology, the relationship between air, water, land, and people. Finding the balance.

Ecology is the right balance between environment and living beings. People and living creatures live and survive off the air, land and water. There must be sufficient quantity and quality. What is the most balanced way to maintain this equilibrium?

The word from which we derive ecology comes from the Greek oikos, meaning “household,” “home,” or “place to live.” Thus, ecology is the relationship between living organisms and their environment. The concept of environment includes both other organisms and physical surroundings.

There are a couple of realizations from this.

  1. People’s physical health is relative to the quality of air, water and land
  2. People’s mental health depends on
    1. Their physical health
    2. Their self realization and satisfaction
    3. Their social interactions

When we analyze today’s industrial society, do we have a sustained healthy environment? Do we have healthy, self realized, socially interactive people?

The quick answer might be yes, outwardly, but not inwardly regarding people and no regarding the environment. Why yes outwardly? Some positive scientists argue that life is longer, healthier, more prosperous with more opportunities than at any other time in history. And there is some substance to that.

Others would argue that the biggest challenge facing humankind is depression, a state of mind, the result of the physical, (air, water, land) and social (people’s relationships) being out of alignment. Whether you look at the present status as a glass half full or a glass half empty, I think we’d all agree there is room for improvement and some basic elements need serious thought and action.

People oriented sustainable environment is possible

Here’s the approach of The Explanation which we’ve discussed at length elsewhere. God is Creator, Bible is His Word, He created the physical (air, water, land) and the human (body and mind). He gave goals and instruction: Genesis rulership and relationships. He lays out the plans for individual well-being and collective well-being. Since He’s the God of ALL humankind, He did so for the vast majority who do not believe in Him, and the minority of believers. God provides the physical needs and the know-how instructions for ALL His Creation.

This blog post is practical Bible advice curated from examples and instruction in the Bible. It also includes cases of people who are applying Biblical principles without realizing their origin. It is possible to discover God’s Old Testament way of life by trial and error.

Immediately at Creation the Bible reveals ecology. Each day adds to the environment so Earth becomes a home, an oikos, for humankind. The third day of Creation specifically refers to the value of land covered with grass and trees, meadows and forests.

Genesis 1:10-13

10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Seas, Land and Flora set in motion the air (oxygen), the water (drink, wash), and land (food) systems. The home has pure air, clean water and fertile land. Humankind can breathe, drink and feed itself. This combination sets in motion the recycling of air, the water cycle, and the sustenance of the ground. The next day (four) God establishes the four seasons. For thousands of years, the system worked automatically.

Rain on time, harvests, fruit

The Garden of Eden with the outflowing river assured a source of life-giving water to everything that bordered it. It’s gone for now, although there are prophecies for its return with healing trees on its banks (Ezek 34:). Later on, God gave rain (Genesis 2:5) to all nations, and through Israel made a promise which is subject to a specific condition.

Leviticus 26:3-5

3 If you walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;

4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.

The Explanation does not wield God’s Word and prophecy as a stick to hit people over the head. There is the ecology of rain, seasons, land, harvests, trees, fruit, and the threshing of grain yielding bread. Safety and prosperity reign, but this is a conditional promise in verse 3. These statutes are the ethics God gave His nation, and through that nation, ALL nations (Deuteronomy 4) around the world.

Ecology lasts so long as we do our part. When we waver and fall, we can no longer count on all the circumstance and benefits necessary for balanced sustainability. We’re living in unprecedented times; think about cause and effect. We’ve been aware of global warming for about 100 years and it’s been news headline for only 30 years. What’s going on?

Biodiversity

The “days” (events) of creation are a series of divine imperatives that empower Earth with
vitality.

And God said, ‘Let there be light'” (Gen. 1:2-3). Humankind has continually tried to force grow food, to get higher yields or faster production. Some have tried continuous light with mixed results. Yes, you can increase certain aspects of nature, but they tend to boomerang with some letdown in reproduction, health, vitality, or quality.

God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself… And God created great whales, and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good, (Gen. 1:11, 21).

We might read every in this context with quantity in mind. I suggest we also think of it in terms of biodiversity. Here’s a quote from The Guardian. This is worth a read because it reveals the value of biodiversity. It also does an audit explaining about the sixth mass extinction that is taking place right now.

Others appear bizarre—tropical tortoises and spider monkeys seemingly have little to do with maintaining a stable climate. But the dense, hardwood trees that are most effective in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere rely on their seeds being dispersed by these large fruit-eaters.

 

When scientists explore each ecosystem, they find countless such interactions, all honed by millions of years of evolution. If undamaged, this produces a finely balanced, healthy system which contributes to a healthy sustainable planet.

Here’s the biodiversity in the word every.

Genesis 1:28-31

28 And God blessed them (Adam and Eve), and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creeps upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Some readers might want to argue over the reference to evolution in The Guardian article as compared to creation in the Bible. That is another subject which relates directly to belief or non-belief in a powerful God. Right now, that debate is NOT the point. The issue is ALL parties agree with the need for biodiversity and ecology. For our purpose, the Bible promotes both these necessities for the sustainability of our planet and ecosystems.

Farming, Meadows, Feasts, Seasons

Some might look down on agriculture and farming as manual compared to financial and technical opportunities. Obviously our 21st century is way further advanced than 2000 years BC.  True, but you can’t eat money and computers. Many of God’s servants were directly involved in agricultural, not to say ecological activities. The following scenario includes the awareness of ecology and a practical solution to maintain sustainability.

Genesis 13:2-11

2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.

3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai;

5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.

6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.

9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou come unto Zoar.

11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

Nobody got the short-end of the stick. The fertility and availability of land existed in both places. Over-grazing is not ecological. The catchwords were spread out, use the available resources, don’t bunch together. Ecology means home, and everybody should have a home, some land and eventually, the ability to cultivate. I’m not suggesting we all become farmers. The Bible puts a lot of emphasis on an agriculture oriented society. Please review this post about agriculture and its role in society. It refers to the seventh year Sabbatical. The resting of the land. This is another chief point of ecology with practical implication we would do well to heed in the 21st century.

Psalm 65:9-13

9 You (God) visit the earth, and water it: you greatly enrich it with the river of God, which is full of water: you prepare them corn, when you have so provided for it.

10 You water the ridges thereof abundantly: you settle the furrows thereof: thou make it soft with showers: you bless the springing thereof.

11 You crown the year with your goodness; and your paths drop fatness.

12 They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.

13 The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.

One of the well-known terms that unbeknown to some appears about 20 times in the Bible is a land of milk and honey. For this to be the case, definite conditions need to be met, and they must include ecology.

Exodus 3:8

And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

We’ll save the discussion about the Canaanite tribes for another time. Prior to Israel’s arrival, they benefited from a luscious life on the land. The tribes that spent forty years in the desert had a total change of scenery. A land of milk means grazing cows, fertile pastures, healthy bulls. A land of honey relays images of meadows and wild-flowers. Today, we’re aware of the dying-off of bees. As usual, there’s debate about why. Whatever the cause, there’s upset ecology with the land, air and water. All those elements were in coordination in Canaan for it to be a land of milk and honey.

Trees play a vital role in ecology, we’ve come to realize that the hard way. Be it for drawing rain clouds, windbreaks, birds, other fauna, forests, regenerating the soil… There’s a special place for them.

Psalm 148:9-10

3 Praise ye him (God), sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.

9 Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:

10 Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:

Trees, cedars and other biodiverse essences are marvels of nature, we are to preserve and manage wisely. Throughout the Bible, we find verses with ecology overtones.

Deuteronomy 20:19

19 When you shall besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for you may eat of them, and you shall not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man’s life) to employ them in the siege:

20 Only the trees which you know that they be not trees for meat, you shall destroy and cut them down; and you shall build bulwarks against the city that makes war with you, until it be subdued.

No cutting down fruit trees, with the others, if in doubt, abstain. Obviously, better to avoid war and sieges, again this is another subject. God makes war (Revelation makes that plain), but even there, there are rules.

Another of these ecology instructions regards polluted wells. God’s priests could cure them. This is not practical advice today, but was so during that time. Under the right circumstances, this could happen today.

Humans cause the upset of ecology

Below is a 26 minute video by Daniel Christian Wahl who is into catalysing transformative innovation, cultural co-creation, whole systems design, and bioregional regeneration. The first few minutes are vital viewing because he states clearly how bad the situation is.

He gives a lot of excellent resources on regeneration of ecology, how to get back to sustainability. There are a number of organizations and many projects worldwide, but it may be too little, too late.

At the conclusion, he quotes Joanna Macy, “The key thing we need to change starts in the human heart.” She is not the only one who knows the root of this problem, and in fact most other problems, the human heart. That is a euphemism; it refers to the human mind, seat of human emotions, motivations, imaginations, thinking and reasoning.

The Explanation expounds on the key to understanding humankind is the mind. All the regenerative solutions revolve around projects to plant trees, permaculture, dig wells, etc. Those are solutions, but very local answers to a global problem that is out-of-hand. We’re putting band-aids on a patient with a terminal disease. Not realizing that it’s going to take a massive change of heart.

The role of The Explanation is to show how this change of heart is going to occur.

Solutions on human level

Books have and are being written on this subject. So it would be silly to try to cover all bases here. There’s just one issue I’d like to develop, urbanization. The development of megacities to the detriment of countryside and towns. The 21st century industry, technology, communication ages have led to globalization. This has pulled people out of the countryside into mega-centers of 10+ million population specialized megalopolises. Concentration and desertification. Both the metropolis and towns have come out poorer financially and otherwise. Rubbish and fumes pile up in one place while ALL the foodstuff has to be shipped in to feed this concentration. Everything is drawn away from the countryside to the centers.

Metropolis vs Town

We’ve moved viable, meaningful, profitable employment out of the towns into cities. We cannot say, countryside living is better and healthier. Yes, some aspects are, but others not. Just heard today, in France, rural are life expectancy rates are dropping below city rates. Surprising. Why? Because close medical help is no longer available. Doctors, like other professionals, are concentrated in major areas.

If we want to recapture fuller lives, we need the best of both worlds. Join primary and secondary industry: wool and woolen clothes, family chicken farm and feed. Local land producing resources + local transformation industry. Fulfilling work with nature to produce raw materials + Creative work with raw materials to produce quality finished products. Grains, greenery, livestock, minerals > bread, conserves, meat dishes, utility products (wooden, stone etc. objects)

Here are a few examples from Auvergne, a rural region in the South of France. I drew them from a TV program called Faut Pas Rever (Don’t Dream, ie, It’s Real), in Auvergne, Land of Volcanos. Salers cows > Salers cheese. Thierry Courtadon sculpter of volcanic rock. Thiers transformation of metal into world renowned knives and cutlery. Brewer des Estives barley malt with Gentian > specialized beer > Serge Vieira 2 star Michelin Guide Chef with the leftover cereal, full of protein becomes cow feed, a closed circuit within a few kilometers with no waste.

Psalm 65:9-13

9 You visit the earth, and water it: you greatly enrich it with the river of God, which is full of water: you prepare them corn, when you have so provided for it.

10 You water the ridges thereof abundantly: you settle the furrows thereof: you make it soft with showers: you bless the springing thereof.

11 Thou crown the year with your goodness; and your paths drop fatness.

12 They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.

13 The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.

We’re not going to be farmers! These verses give a vibrant picture of the role nature plays in human life. The respect of nature is ecology, land ethics. We find this practical Bible wisdom throughout God’s Word.

 

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