News and Events
Students Lead Chapel Exploring Environmental Justice and Faith
Environmentalism in its many guises has been discussed extensively in the media by politicians, economists, and activists. In honor of Earth Day and to celebrate April as a month of environmental awareness, Pepperdine explored spiritual attitudes to protecting our planet with an Environmental Justice Chapel that posed the question: how should a person's faith direct their attitude to the environment? The student-led service in Stauffer Chapel, Malibu, on April 14, explored faith-based views on environmental justice, and offered practical information and tips about how to protect resources.
A number of short presentations were set between worship songs reflecting on the Earth as God's creation. Attendees were informed about various environmental injustices taking place in America, including the plights of the country's poorer citizens, who do not typically have the resources to put up a fight against nuclear plants, uranium drilling sites, and toxic waste all being housed in or worrying close to their communities.
Students also presented the Christian philosophy of stewardship over the earth, citing creation as a gift to be cherished and nurtured. Using stewardship as a philosophical and spiritual springboard, the students offered specific information about Malibu-based environmental projects and simple things that can be done by anyone, anywhere, to protect resources, such as turning off lights, taking shorter showers, and recycling where possible.
Also highlighted at the chapel were Pepperdine initiatives such as "Tray-less Tuesday's" at Waves Café, which saves water and decreases the amount of food going to waste, and opportunities to work with environmental organizations in Southern California. For more information, visit the Pepperdine Volunteer Center website.
"I was impressed with the thoughtfulness and sincerity of our students who led the environmental justice chapel," says University Chaplain, David Lemley. "They did a great job of calling participants to recognize God as creator and sustainer through leading us in song and prayer to that effect, and helped us see how we might live in God's creation in a responsible, sustainable way, with practical steps we could take."
"It was important for us to see that we are called to think responsibly about our resources, not only as good stewards of what God made but as fellow-creatures whose decisions impact other people and cultures caught up in systems of production and consumption," Lemley adds.
For more information about environmental practices at Pepperdine, visit the Center for Sustainability website.