Tree-hugging koalas sprawled across low-hanging branches are desperately trying to cool down by using the dramatically lower temperatures inside trees, researchers have discovered. With Australian heatwaves increasing in length and intensity, koalas have developed a new behaviour to deal with the heat, acting in much the same way as a human fed up with a scorching day – sprawling across a cold surface.
An infamous Pastor (who will remain unnamed) once said, “I know who made the environment. He’s coming back, and he’s going to burn it all up. So yes, I drive an SUV.”
He later attempted to clarify that he was simply joking around. Whether that was the case or not, he highlighted a glaring issue in Western Christian thought: Creation Care is something to joke about. I don’t blame him, though. Over the centuries, Western Christianity has managed to foster a myopic view of salvation that’s only concerned with souls floating off to a disembodied Heaven. Hence, salvation is narrowed down to individuals and we lose sight of the redemptive work of Christ that envelopes all of Creation and the Cosmos. Our hope as Christians is for the final union of Heaven and Earth, not the destruction of this planet. This is why we pray “His Kingdom come, on Earth as it is in Heaven,” and we anticipate it in practical ways. This is why we look for more sustainable methods of agriculture and farming that won’t exploit or pillage the very things that God has looked at and called “Good.”
This is also why we can no longer feign ignorance to the ways that we are all complicit in this system. There is a better way. We abuse this sacred Earth because we regard it as a commodity that belongs to us. It’s only when we see it as a community to which we belong, and are endlessly interconnected to, that we’ll begin to love and respect it. As Brian Zahnd has so beautifully noted: We are not Consumers, we are Gardeners. Mary Magdalene’s Easter “mistake” of thinking Jesus was the gardener is a poetic hint of how Christ as the Last Adam leads us back to our first vocation; turning garbage dumps into gardens.
If someone says that sounds like “tree-hugger” theology, I say a theologian can do worse than to hug a tree.
5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Started University
I’m 25. I graduated from uni two years ago and I’m in that awkward phase of life where I’m trying to figure out my next steps. Though I graduated with a great GPA in a respected program that included one year of work experience, I’m still pretty lost. When I look back on my college years I can’t help but feel like there were things I could have done differently, so I compiled this (very subjective) list.
Disclaimer: This list is based solely on the personal experience of someone who is at home and on the internet at 1 pm on a Tuesday. I’m also not wearing any pants.
1. Don’t put grades first
This one is tricky. Yes, grades are important. Especially if you want to get into grad school/ med school/ law school etc. But you should never sacrifice opportunities to boost your CV or professional networks in order to maintain a perfect GPA. I passed on plenty of extra-curricular gigs because I felt like I couldn’t handle the responsibility and gets A’s at the same time. Now that I’ve graduated, no one gives two shits what my GPA was. They want to see volunteer work, internships, club memberships, research assistant positions, school radio/tv/magazine contributions. Not to mention, networking opportunities abound in university in ways they never do in the real world. Being in university is like being a member of this exclusive club full of really smart people who are all doing very cool things. Use your time on campus wisely. If there’s a professor whose work you really admire, ask her to sit down for an informational interview and have her tell you about her career path. You can even ask her if she could use help in any way. Don’t be afraid to reach out to professors, they are real people and though they are super busy they are usually open to mentoring promising and hard-working students. Trust me, getting an A is not enough to make a professor remember you come grad school application time when you’re scrambling for reference letters.
To sum up: in uni I divided my time between studying and waitressing and now that I’ve graduated I’m a waitress. What you do outside of class matters. A lot.
2. Be weird
University is hella weird you guys. There are prayer circles and protests and people smoking hookahs everywhere and guys doing tantric yoga in short shorts in the middle of the day and people hugging trees and doing tai chi in the park and building 30 feet tall installation art pieces made out of Tim Horton’s cups in the cafeteria. It is awesome. Don’t get stuck in the high school mentality of trying to fit in and look cool. Get weird. It’s the biggest cliche in the world but TRY NEW THINGS. Attend meetings and rallies and join, join, join. I missed frosh my freshman year because I thought it would be lame. I lived off campus right away because I thought dorms would be gross. I didn’t try out for any sports because I didn’t play sports in high school and didn’t want to get laughed at. Basically I missed out for fear of embarrassing myself without realizing that college is this amazing bubble where everyone is embarrassing themselves all the time and it’s not only okay it’s actually the coolest thing ever. University is a petri dish, so experiment.
3. Write it down
I cannot emphasize this one enough, especially for aspiring writers. You will have enough weird, awkward, gross, hilarious, devastating, goosebumpy moments in college to write the next coming-of-age-Lena-Dunham-esque-so-cringe-it-hurts novel ten times over. It will be called “Queefing and Laughing” and you will make millions. But you will also be really high like 75% of the time so you have got to write this shit down.
4. Go to the gym
No, seriously. When you graduate and you’re paying for rent and electricity and groceries and internet and cable and your cellphone and a bus pass and your diet no longer consists of ramen and cigarettes and your metabolism screeches to a grinding halt you will look back at those days when you had free access to a world class exercise facility the likes of which you definitely can’t afford anymore and you will kick yourself for not taking advantage. University is the time to make mistakes and be an idiot, but it’s also a great time to start forming good habits. Like squatting. And flossing. And actually while we’re on the topic of flossing if your university has a dental plan USE THAT SHIT. Read the fine print of your tuition and find out what you’re paying for and tap into that glorious well of free healthcare. I found out in my FINAL SEMESTER that I could have been getting free birth control for 4 years. I don’t even want to do the maths on that. Go see the counsellors. Do free yoga. Get your teeth cleaned. The last one is especially important, in your 20s dental care drops really far down on your list of priorities landing somewhere between “learning to bake” and “buying a new shower curtain”.
5. Talk to everyone
Universities are often huge and intimidating. Your first time in a 300 person lecture theatre can be a really nausea-inducing experience, especially if you suffer from any kind of social anxiety/ low self-esteem (and like really, this is tumblr so, you do). The idea of just walking up to some stranger and making conversation may make you queasy but just do it. Don’t dismiss that really obnoxious chic in the front row who asks a million zillion questions. Find her after class and have coffee. Don’t ignore that quiet guy in the back who always spends ½ an hour after class asking the professor for further explanation. Those people are dedicated and in a few years when you’re trolling Linkedin in your pyjamas and it’s been so long since you got a response to a job application that you’re actually starting to contemplate whether or not there exists a wormhole in the ceiling above your computer that is sucking in your CV and cover letters and sending them to a 4th dimension where no jobs exist, you might stumble across that guy’s profile and he might just be working somewhere pretty rad and he might just remember you when you email him and you just might get an in. This sounds far-fetched but trust, sending your CVs out into the void with no response for months on end is a soul crushing experiment in growing up and you will be milking your contacts for all they’re worth. The bigger your network, the less awful job hunting is. And university is the best networking opportunity there is. So go on, say hi.