Skip to main content

Blue Goes Green

In honor of Earth Day, the Blue blog is going green! Today’s blog is a challenge to body of Christ, written by Burr Vogel.  Burr is working hard at the intersection of faith and vocation to bring environmental restoration to Naval bases, using his influence alongside a passion for the environment. Take it away Burr!

Image Source: Cake and Carrots


 Jesus and holy hamburgers? Steve Garber and Hans Hess making the connections was one of the funniest, albeit awkward, conversations of Blue 2014. But the message could not have been more serious: the planet matters… to God, to people. And we are indeed implicated, very directly, in this brokenness.

There are 7 billion people living on Earth, and we currently consume, destroy, or pollute 1.5 planet’s worth of resources. Things like fresh water, soil, forests, the atmosphere, fish, and the oceans. All things that could sustain life indefinitely, if we manage them wisely. But today because of our wasteful consumerism, broken politics, and greed we steal from our children’s future, buying on their credit cards what we could and should readily pay for with cash. And without major cultural changes, the problem is only getting worse. If all of these 7 billion people lived an “American” lifestyle, we would need 4.5 planets to sustain us. The math does not work, and something has to give.

In fact, environmental destruction already contributes to poverty, hunger, and health problems in ways that create instability and conflict around the world. Explaining drought, climate change, and conflict in Syria and the broader Middle East, journalist Thomas Friedman observes in Showtime’s powerful new show Years of Living Dangerously:

“…more people displaced, more lives uprooted, and perhaps more war. And we would be very foolish to think it won’t affect us.”

And this is where vocation and faith intersect for me. I have served in the Navy for 20 years, deployed in conflicts, and currently work in the area of installation management and construction. Taking care of the environment, and coming to understand the strategic impacts of a 21st century world with increasing global temperatures, droughts, refugees, and rising sea levels has been a significant part of my job. The Navy need to understand what our coastal bases are going to look like, and how we will operate in the Arctic ocean when decreased summer sea ice make new shipping lanes and offshore petroleum deposits accessible by the middle of the century. But mostly, I work hard to reduce our contribution to the problem by finding ways to use less energy, create less waste, and build as sustainably as possible.

And really, that’s what taking action comes down to for most of us: reducing our own impact. Maybe it feels like just a drop the bucket, but we have to do our part. At home, and in our place of work. But I’m not sure we can ignore the ballot box either. We need good leaders, and our votes and voices matter in the political process.

I am not old enough to remember the days when many of America’s rivers were too poisoned to support fish, or the air in many industrial cities was deadly to breathe. While we addressed the imminent and obvious dangers in this country, much of our industrial base and with it pollution has moved overseas. But the challenges of the future are going to be harder, because we cannot export our pollution problems to China indefinitely. We share one atmosphere, one ocean system.

The body of Christ must now take a leading position as humanity transitions to sustainable use of our natural resources, or risks catastrophic consequences. The weak, the vulnerable, the poor will bear the brunt if we fail. Or faith makes us different, a belief in universal truth, that there is right and wrong. And knowing what we know, our faith compels us to act.

What will we do?

Learn more:
Living Planet Report

Years of Living Dangerously

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi My Friend,

​​​I’d like to invite you to join me on March 24 & 25​ at Blue Conference
Blue is a two-day ​event​ designed to engage people thoughtfully in difficult conversations through curated talks​ (think Ted Talks). Together we’ll explore the ideas shaping our culture and ​explore how​ to find answers in a changing culture​ and embody the gospel in this moment.​ ​ I think you’ll enjoy the conference so I already purchased a ticket for you. Here is a sample of the topics and speakers:

· Sexual Brokenness and the Hope of the Gospel // Steve Arterburn
· Race, Faith and Hope for America // Dr. Michael Waters
· Rediscovering God: Reconciling Faith and Science // Mike McHargue
· The Science of Feeding the World // Dr. Hongda Chen
· Parenting in a Digital Age // Dr. Steven Argue
· Q & A – Refugees and Politics

Please let me know if you can join me as soon as possible.

Your Friend