12.13.05 – Spiritual Means, Sustainable Ends

Tuesday, December 13th 2005 @ Schlafly Bottleworks

Panelists

Eric BrendeSt. Louis Rickshaw
Eric offered a unique and personal story of voluntary simplicity that erupts from his personal experience living on an Amish-ish and Menonite-esque Farm. He was able to offer a view of living simply without technology and how it has enriched his life. Eric has taken his simple country life experience and adapted it to his 2 years of living in the city of St. Louis. He is also the author of “Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology” which chronicles his experiences on the farm and life without technology.

Anna Sandidge
Anna gave us a peek into her personal Quakerism perspective mixed with a twist of voluntary simplicity. Anna has downsized from a sizeable house to a 700 sq. ft. apartment. She has had to reevaluate her possessions and life arrangement. In the process and through experiences in Burundi Africa Anna has consciously learned to live richly and simply with less.

Greg Johnson
Greg is the Assistant Pastor at Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis. His undergraduate degree was in architecture, so his introduction to sustainable development in the early 1990s was through the doorway of new urbanism. He spoke on the background of and development of environmentalism among American evangelicals.

Chris Schosser
Once upon a time Chis Schosser worked as a senior research scientist at Monsanto. She left her job in the early 90’s for a more clean and satisfying life spiritually and substantively. Her eyes were opened by such books as “Your Money or Your Life” and “The Tightwad Gazette”.

Steve Sorkin
Steve is a Central Reform Congregation member and previous Jewish Environmental Initiative consultant and director. He was able to offer some insight into Tikkun Olum which is is the Jewish spirit of protecting and restoring the resources of the earth. He also spoke of the Jewish Environmental Initiative which has taken such wonderful actions as planting 60,000 trees – one for every Jew in St. Louis.

Resources

The Urban Guide to Almost Self Sufficiency

An Ethical Approach to Consumption

The Better World Handbook

The Green Pages

Quaker Earthcare Witness

General information on Quakerism

Target Earth/Christian Environmental Association

What Would Jesus Drive” Evangelical Environmental Network

Greg Johnson, “Motivating Evangelicals: Francis Schaeffer, Christianity Today and Evangelical Concern for the Environment” (unpublished paper, St. Louis University, 1998)

Burundi, Africa Information

Anna has worked in Burundi, central Africa. They have been in an active civil war since 1972. In 1993, the genocide began (very similar to the one in Rwanda). Her specific work was with two Burundian directed non-governmental organizations, one provides free healthcare for persons with HIV/AIDS and the other group offers trauma counseling and reconciliation services for genocide survivors and perpetrators.

Burundi is primarily a subsistence agriculture society, with farmers practicing perma-culture techniques and organic farming. Their main export is coffee and tea. Deforestation and land erosion is a huge issue for Burundi. Many trees are harvested for charcoal and thousands of acres have been destroyed over three decades of intense civil war.

One local group has proposed a reforestation project that would plant over 10,000 trees in a year. Another group would like to explore the use of solar ovens to reduce the need for charcoal stoves. If anyone has information or would like to support them in their efforts they can contact Anna Sandidge.