Calling Forth All Josephs in the House!

One of the reasons the defense department of the United States has identified climate change as the greatest threat to security is because of its impact on food production. In the March 13th issue of Newsweek, NASA announced that California only has one year left of water. At this year’s annual meeting of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, we discussed that political, economic and environmental climates are changing all over the globe.  It is time to decentralize the way we organize… which means we need all Josephs in the house to please step forward! Remember Joseph was the one who taught Pharaoh how to manage a 7 year drought.

The convergence of climate change with industrial agriculture has already caused grain yields to fail in Egypt, India and Tunisia. Because industrial agriculture is firmly established in the United States, we have failing grain in Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa [1] with the potential of food shortages within the next ten years.

In the last 30 years, the modern permaculture movement has proven that the Earth’s abundance can be restored in Kenya, Ethiopia, and China. Biologists and soil scientists agree that the Earth can recover food and water productivity when we restore bio diversity.

The question to be answered is “Can the church gain and transfer this knowledge from existing permaculture and transition towns networks so that the least of these do not perish for lack of knowledge?” Can we move from individual projects to regional food systems in sustainable ways?

I’m suggesting that churches combine our passion for evangelism with a land based mission. This mission would commit ourselves to God’s original landscape plan; and train youth leaders how to operate food systems while they protect ecosystem health and develop cooperative business acumen. In this way churches will reduce hunger while empowering marginalized communities to adapt and recover from climate disruption. Models must be tested for scaling the transfer of resilience knowledge from the privileged permaculture networks where it now resides to the housing projects, indigenous villages and marginalized communities where the majority of the world’s population lives.

As we activate and fine tune an additional prophetic voice, we will proliferate prophetic managers like Joseph to walk beside prophetic orators. Joseph not only told Pharaoh that climate change was coming, he also designed and managed an equitable food distribution system during the time of famine. While oratory opened the door for Egypt, people were saved from climate change because of managerial wisdom. Joseph’s ministry (Genesis 41:33-36) is the call which must be perfected during the 21st century if we are to thrive during climate disruption.

In 7 years Joseph prepared a nation for extended famine. If we act now, we have the same possibility to live God’s promise of abundance during times of famine. (Psalms 37:19) If we humble ourselves now, we will receive healing for our land.

“Joseph, Mother Earth is calling…Get up here!”

[1] Source: Earth Policy Institute/The Guardian   2013



Rev. Dele is available to brief pastor’s associations in climate resilience, share eco-theology at church conferences and conduct environmental stewardship workshops for youth and adults. Please email for further information and to make arrangements.

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