In our reflections on the SEASON OF CREATION 2023 with its focus “Let Justice and Peace flow like a mighty river,” there naturally has to be a focus on wild life, nature or a particular aspect of creation and the world of families.  Did God create the animals before people, or the other way round?  The two creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2 differ but both acknowledge that wild life, flora and fauna, are essential to the bigger picture of creation.  The book of Job provides wonderful insights into this aspect too.  Historically there would have been very many more animals than people but today we have come to a situation where animals and plant life are decreasing while the human population is increasing. Disturbing the balance to such an extent is one of the main problems of our time, and a cause for climate change. Human beings, not just by virtue of the weight of numbers, but our by behaviour have brought about this imbalance and the whole of our world is suffering the consequences, resulting in the loss of biodiversity, as Pope Francis describes in Laudato S.  “Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see.  The great majority become extinct because of human activity.   Because of this they will no longer give glory to God by their very existence not convey their message to us LS33.  This impacts powerfully on the delicate ecological  balance.

Whatever the reasons were for previous periods of extinction in history, the present reality is the result of climate change brought about by burning of fossil fuel, carbon emission and global warming.  

What are possible remedies.  Much emphasis socially is put on the climate aspect and not too much on  biodiversity.  Two separate major conferences were held last year COP27 AND COP15 without important  decisions to change.  This year there will be COP 28 only, and biodiversity will not feature strongly in the public domain. Nevertheless there is a great need to protect animals and plant species and, because of the increasingly difficult conditions, creating specialized settings is one solution. A game reserve, private or state-owned, can do much to provide optimum conditions of nature; climate, land, soil, water, vegetation, animals, birds, insects are part of the equation. Our recent visit to the Pilanesberg National Park, meeting with those involved in care for the environment as well as the tourist population that provides much needed income for nature conservation, was an enlightening and also a very enjoyable experience.  Because of economic realities, the nature conservation aspect would never be able to fund itself. Visitors, resorts, even hunting contribute to the overall viability of such a project. 

Hunting you might ask?  Is that pro or against conservation?  Yes, After Operation Genesis completed the initial stocking of the park with the appropriate species, the numbers continued to grow – naturally, as families do – and optimum levels must be maintained.  Natural culling happens in a part like this in the presence of some of the big five and others who are carnivorous as they and their young learn to hunt for their food. Controlled culling includes selling surplus animals to other parks or game farmers. Controlled hunting in designated parts of the Pilanesberg park is permitted.  Trophy hunters do still exist all over the world and they do contribute to the overall good, while hunting for the pot, and enjoying a braai, or eating game biltong and dried wors, while watching rugby, are part of the South African way of life. In some local cultures it is hunting that makes a boy into a man, and no doubt in our changing world it will soon include making a girl into a woman.  September is heritage month and heritage involves  culture and traditions, but must also change with the times as a new heritage of a more responsible attitude towards caring for God’s creation is developed and promoted widely.  Game reserves are also responsible for combatting poaching and the white rhino population has recovered mainly because of their protection. Those are just one or two reasons why we need game reserves and to support them with our families and promote their use widely. Some years ago a bumper sticker that read, “Preserve Wild Life, Pickle a squirrel” seemed funny.  No more. Pickle a Heritage Day, or rugby match winning after-party might be. TR  FAMILY WEEKLY E-NEWSLETTER    


September 20.   “Heritage Day is just around the corner,” Mr Moshoeshoe told his children, adding, “I wonder who of you really understands our South African, BaSotho Christian heritage.”  So a family project was started to try to trace their own family background to earlier times in Lesotho.  “Do we go back to those bushmen whose paintings you showed us in the caves?”  Phumi asked. “Not only, as that is part of the bigger South African heritage too.” “It is surprising how Christianity arrived in our mountain kingdom by those very committed missionaries.” “At the same time what are our Basotho people doing today, for their own country?  

Reflect, share, act. Scripture:     The Lord is gracious and merciful, he gives food to those who fear him and keeps his covenant ever in mind. His mighty works he has shown to his people by giving them the heritage of nations. Ps 11.  Pope Francis. Respect for our dignity as human beings often jars with the chaotic realities that people have to endure. Each country or region can seek solutions better suited to its culture, traditions and local needs.  Cultures are in fact quite diverse and every general principle needs to be inculturated.  AL3.  Eco-tip and prayer:  Discuss the importance of cultural awareness in the modern day context including patriarchy, racism and xenophobia. Pray the Glory be to the Father…………..