We Have More Than Enough Because Gods Creations Do Not Enough. God blessed me with a wildlife career including living and working in Africa for many years. Amidst limited material resources there was abundant faith and gratitude for Gods creations. Moving back to America has challenged my husband and I to retain what we learned and valued in Africa. Through reflection and prayer, and with Gods help, our family makes choices that are encouraged in the books Serve God, Save the Planet (Matthew Sleeth) and Enough (Will Samson, a good friend and neighbor of the Sleeths). This lifestyle isnt easy. We are often outside trends in our community, but we have faith we are on a God-intended path. Having Enough Weve made some big choices. We largely operate on zero credit; we have a 15-year mortgage on our modest house to be paid off before the kids go to college. Although our home is in a low-status neighborhood, it is next to a park and we daily appreciate Gods creation all around us. My husband does the vast majority of home repairs and green upgrades. Weve also made smaller, daily choices to reduce our footprint on Gods precious earth. Our wardrobes, cars, and other consumer items are used, recycled, repaired and kept for decades. We buy local, organic, US-manufactured items. Our children, with limited screen time, maximize outside playtime. We usually commute to work and school by bicycle. We compost and garden. We pray before every meal (and at the gas pump!), delighting in nature and thanking God daily. Promoting Enough We want our children to be good stewards for the planet and Gods creation. We are challenged, however, by American-dream pressures from economic models and lifestyles based on ecological untruths. Continuous growth and demand priorities take us away from God and imperil his creations. Keeping our childrens consumer behavior aligned with moderation and respect for Gods creation is a priority. We minimize participation in our cultures gift-giving explosion. During Christmas we focus on Jesus birth, with token kids gifts — one each for something they: need, want, wear, and read plus gifts for charity. For birthdays our children ask friends to donate to wildlife and animal charities instead of bringing gifts. To date they have raised over $3,000 for elephants, gorillas, wild horses, cats, dogs, lions and sharks. Sharing Enough If congregation members support one another to make the life changes promoted by the Sleeths and in the book Enough we could change the world overnight. Our affluent lifestyles are driving global demands that destroy Gods creation. We must be global stewards so that seven generations from now the quality of life on earth and the depth of connection with Gods creations are improved. We can no longer afford this free ride at the expense of our children, our planet, and our relationship with God. When I shared this message at my church I was shaking. Though Im a graduate school professor and have given presentations to hundreds it was an entirely different experience to address my congregation with this message. I hope that you will hold my hand as I take this leap of faith in sharing what we know about wildlife and nature on this planet and consider joining us in saying enough already, too. Dr. Heather E. Eves The original version of this testimony was delivered to Mount Olivet United Methodist Church in Arington, Virginia on October 17, 2010.
Dr. Heather E. Eves is a wildlife conservationist who has worked in Africa since 1985. She lives with her family in the Washington DC metro area, teaches graduate school and provides training to African conservation professionals.