Waste Management and Creation Care
Beyond the politics and the layers of environmentalism that few can agree on, creation care promises something more. It offers a representation of the power of God’s transforming touch. Waste management shows us how creation care brings restoration to what is broken and discarded.
Ben Withers, who specializes in waste management, is based in London. He takes short-term trips to Mongolia to support Betel, a partner organization. Although I was interviewing him for an information update, I found myself viewing creation care through a new framework.
2 Minute Read
Interview with Ben Withers by Galina Hitching
As I listened to Ben share about environmental projects in Mongolia, I began to see a theology for creation care emerge as he updated me on how the projects are going. The two main projects include making soaps from animal fat and transforming pine nut shells into briquets for heating. The workers making the soaps and briquets are recovering drug and alcohol addicts; a couple of them are homeless. These are people who are broken; they are often not valued by society and in many cases they are seen as little more than trash.
“Jesus is taking broken vessels and he is making us whole.” -Ben Withers
Adding Value Removes Waste
There was something beautiful and healing in what I heard about discarded people taking discarded materials and transforming them into something of value.
Ben put it into perspective for me when he said this about waste materials,
“The reason why there is so much waste is because there’s no value attached to these materials. If we can place a value on it or create a value out of it, these materials disappear from the waste stream.”
The same can be said for people! The radical hope of the gospel is that Jesus has placed value on each of us who have no value. Just as animal fat and pine nut shells can be transformed into soaps and fuel, Jesus can transform us into vessels of righteousness. Whether we’re drug addicts, homeless, sex workers, or well-adjusted pastors’ kids, this hope is for each of us.
Adding Value is Good Stewardship
If you’ve questioned the importance of Creation Care or doubted the need for Christians to care about the earth, this is your answer. Ben’s vision goes beyond debates over global warming. Whatever your stance on environmentalism might be, caring for creation and aiding in the transformation of waste are simply examples of good stewardship. Just as our Creator God invests time, love, and the life of his Son for our restoration, we are called to invest our time, our love, and our lives into the world around us. Our lives and our actions can be a physical, tangible picture of what God longs to do for the least of these.
If you’re wondering about that update, I’ll let Ben share in his own words. Click here to read what he has to say.