09 Nov Talk by Dave Bookless – 14 November 2017
At Lee Abbey London, we host invited speakers throughout the year, who inspire and challenge our way of life. Next Tuesday will be no exception as we host guest speaker Dave Bookless from the Conservation Group A ROCHA. He will be speaking on the topic of “You are Worth More than Sparrows – How should we value ourselves, other people and the planet?”
Read below for an exclusive Q & A with Reverend Bookless, who explains to us about A ROCHA, what we can expect from the talk and broader environmental issues.
In a nutshell, please could you tell us what A ROCHA is and about your role within the organisation?
A Rocha means ‘the rock’ in Portuguese, as we started there more than 30 years ago. We are an international Christian conservation organisation, helping people care for the earth and its creatures through practical community-based conservation, good science and research, and biblical resources to engage churches. Our motto is ‘conservation and hope’.
Tell us about some of the key projects A ROCHA is involved with and are there any in particular that stand out for you?
A Rocha now works in 20 countries across six continents. Our projects are very varied, and include addressing human-elephant conflict in India, helping African farmers produce more and better crops in a way that also helps wildlife conservation, planting trees in a coastal desert in Peru, and urban food-growing projects in multicultural west London. We also work at a global level engaging churches through conferences, blogs, and translating resources on the biblical call to care for creation.
Could you unpack the title of your talk for us a bit more and what the premises will be?
Jesus said the words ‘You are worth more than many sparrows’ to his disciples. It could suggest that birds (and other creatures) aren’t worth considering, but what’s remarkable is that Jesus also said that God notices when even one sparrow falls to the ground. I want to suggest that when we care for the planet and our fellow creatures well it actually helps us understand that God values all of creation – and that we find our value and role when we reflect the image of God by caring for our fellow creatures.
What are some of the main challenges we face for the future of conservation and our planet?
The challenges are enormous, but not insurmountable. The obvious one is Climate Change, but we also need to look at our over-consumption of resources, at destruction of wildlife and ecosystems, at the availability of fertile land and fresh water. 90% of conservation work consists of getting humans to change their behaviour!
Lee Abbey London is located in an area where there are comparatively less green spaces so what can we do as London residents to help value the planet in our everyday lives?
Yes, Lee Abbey London is urban but London has lots of parks, rivers and canals. I would encourage people to walk, cycle and enjoy connecting with nature even in the city. We can also make changes to our lifestyles in terms of energy use, reducing plastic and other waste, and eating less meat.
As a culture, it seems that we are now more aware of environmental/conservation issues than in previous years, especially with recent programmes like the BBC’s Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II. What is your opinion of such media coverage? Do you think that these programmes can make a difference in increasing awareness and provoking us to take action for our planet?
Absolutely, it’s significant that more people watch Planet Earth II than Strictly Come Dancing or The X Factor. We need to recognise that these amazing creatures and habitats will only be around for future generations to enjoy if we change our behaviour now.
Thank you very much Reverend Bookless for these fascinating answers! Don’t miss what promises to be a thought-provoking evening.
Rev. Dave Bookless is Director of Theology for A Rocha International (www.arocha.org), which works in 20 countries across six continents to show God’s love for all creation. He is also completing a PhD in Theology and Biodiversity Conservation at Cambridge University. With a background in teaching and church leadership, Dave co-founded A Rocha UK in 2001, helping a local authority transform a 36ha. derelict urban site in London into the Minet Country Park and nature area, and serving as National Director for seven years. His passion is communicating biblical teaching to contemporary cultures, and he now speaks and writes for audiences across the world, including conferences, colleges and churches. Dave has spoken in more than 30 countries and contributed to over 20 books, including Planetwise (IVP, 2008; translated into Dutch, French, German and Chinese) and God Doesn’t do Waste (IVP, 2010). He writes regularly for www.blog.arocha.org. Dave was born in India to a missionary family and has a close interest in Indian Christianity. In his spare time he enjoys birdwatching and bird ringing, running, cycling, mountain walking and good food and wine. He, his wife Anne, and their four daughters live in multi-cultural Southall, West London where Dave helps lead a multiracial Anglican church. Dave is an ordained Anglican and has served on or led several national Christian environmental committees.