Water Like Gold (only much more valuable!)

Peter Ole Kukan is a long-time Maasai friend of ours.  He sat on our porch yesterday morning and, in the process of chewing the news, let us know that women in his village are walking 2 hours each direction for water these days.  They fill jerry cans on the backs of donkeys then begin the 2 hour journey home again. Over the next couple of days, the water is doled out like the precious commodity it is.  Not a drop is wasted.  

Have you ever seen how dirty your hands get milking a cow?  Or handling a goat?  Or just living life in a place where water doesn't flow out of taps on-demand?  

I wonder how many times I wash my hands in the course of a day...

I'd like to think I'm pretty careful with water.  I consider myself aware.  I'd like to believe I'm good about electricity, as well.  We don't leave lights on that don't actually need to be on.  We've changed most of our bulbs to energy-savers.  

Interview with Drew Fellman, Producer of "Born to Be Wild"

I had the privilege of spending some time with Drew Fellman, producer of “Born To Be Wild,” an IMAX 3D film that is an immersive journey into a world where orangutans and elephants habitats and families are being destroyed by humans. 

Two scientists – Dr. Birute Mary Gildakis (from Borneo, studies orangutans) and Dame Daphne M. Sheldrick (Kenya, works with elephants) share about their unique experiences caring for these beautiful creatures and some of the peculiarities of their research and passions in their fields throughout the educational, family film. 

Drew Fellman was kind enough to share about the film, the challenge of shooting in IMAX, and some of his inspirations as a filmmaker.

Christopher: How does someone direct or write a documentary?

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Born to Be Wild 3D film review

It didn't take long during the screening of “Born To Be Wild” in IMAX 3D to realize I was watching something different.  The film chronicles the lives of two scientists (Dr. Birute Mary Gildakis and Dame Daphne M. Sheldrick) whose life work is dedicated to rescuing orphaned elephants and orangutans thanks to the destruction of their habitats at human hands.  In the case of the elephants, their Mother’s are killed for their tusks, and the babies get hunted by lions.  For the orangutans, their rainforest homes are destroyed in increasingly huge numbers by a group who manufactures oils placed in many products we use daily.  The orangutans are then orphaned and often die from lack of milk and protection.  The film then spends the remainder its under 45 minute length to show us the animals playing, while educating us and highlighting the work of their caretakers.

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Does the Earth Care What We Do To It?

One of my most favorite social commentators is George Will. Recently I read an article from him that said that the earth doesn't care what is done to it or for it. His main point is that over "geologic" time (i.e. extended time millenniums, millions of years, etc..) what we do to the earth is so minimal as to barely register. He notes the amount of rain that falls on the earth to illustrate that we should all be flooded out yet we are not drowning on a global scale.

The article raises some good points when one thinks about the big picture and that is necessary from time to time. Comparing our present few generations to geologic time, George Will is right (i believe) that whatever happens will just be a blip and the earth will survive. After all the earth survived ice ages. We can be so short-term near future focused that we forget to look at history or  into the future 20,30 even 1000 years. 

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Does God Grieve Over Oil Spills? Talking to Rusty Pritchard of Flourish on Restoring Landscapes and Lives

I met Rusty Pritchard (founder and president of Flourish) several years back when we were both at different organizations and I ended up writing a story on surfing and creation for his then journal Creation Care.  I found him to be profoundly passionate about the environment and the impact it has in our lives. 

Flourish exists to inspire and equip “churches to better love God by reviving human lives and the landscapes on which they depend” -- a decidedly de-political mission and message.  With a background in environmental academics, research, policy, ministry, and consulting he has touched and seen a lot; and it would seem that he continues to find the overwhelming truth that God through His creation is still transforming hearts and minds one person at a time. 

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I Love You, California but... (can't we do Creation-care a little better?)

I've landed in California after another 2 years in Africa and, once again, I find there are so many things to love.  For starters, I love the city of Pasadena, Southern California's only "real" city, if you ask me.  It's old enough to have a little history.  Pasadena has real trees with old roots and a spectacular city hall.  I love the affordable dining-out in this state, the crazy way the mountains almost touch the sea, the sense that anything can happen.  I love that people buy flowers and eat fruit and want to be informed, concerned and relevant.  


I tiptoe into the my areas of concern because I really don't want to sound as if I'm judging.  I just can't help being surprised by certain things during this month that we've been back.  So let's call this my short list of surprises.

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laundry line meditations


wendell and i commune outside the laundry door

my feet planted softy in the dewey grass

back warming in the gentle morning sun


i move up and down by the basket

spreading wide sheets and

smoothing faded t-shirts

across the sagging lines


from somewhere in my memory

wendell speaks

lilting lines

songs of earth and sun and field


in the rhythm of my work

i take pleasure

and feel joy


these damp garments

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Happy to Go Green? Thank God.

God has always been eco-friendly. On the third day of creation, he went green and never looked back. Whoever thought earth-love started with Henry David Thoreau or Al Gore never read the Old Testament. I wish green things weren't merely trendy these days, for it reduces God's good earth to political activism when it's really a divine fingerprint--a marvel to consider. 

Not everyone is embracing the neo-ecology movement. In my community, a columnist for the newspaper lamented what he calls “Nature Deprivation Syndrome”(NDS). Apparently, a bunch of the kids in our local city are hovering over computer screens in the dark, hunchbacked and pasty, moving from interior space to interior space with all the vitamin D absorption of rocks. A new crop of youngsters is “disconnected with the earth,” studies show, having lost contact with the soil and light that gives us life. They interact with laboratory food and plastic gadgets, and they spend their days flapping around in cages from one man-made perch to the next. I don't think my community is unique. 

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Taking Care of One Small Corner of Creation

I'm a part of tiny organization called Wild Hope. Outside of Arusha town, here in Tanzania, Wild Hope owns a pretty piece of land where large areas have been plowed improperly in the past. Now, a big rant about the damage done all over Africa by poor plowing practices won't help anyone, and the question remains as to why small farm owners plow up and down the slope? Don't they know that the topsoil is being stripped off their farms? Don't they realize it is eroded by wind and water, poured into the streams and eventually dumped into the ocean where it kills the coral reef and puts all other marine life at risk?

Possibly there is no concern for marine life so far away. Few local inland farmers would have had resources available to travel to the coast and be impressed by the warm Indian Ocean. Understandably then, there may be little regard for her, but aren't they driven sufficiently by their own desire for successful farming to keep their topsoil?

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