Waste Land and its lasting impact on my life

Two weekends ago I attended the True/False film festival in Columbia Missouri.  I love films so this is a natural treat for me and thousands of others in Columbia.  The True/False film festival is comprised of documentary films, some of them advocates for social justice, some of them telling a cute and funny story, others are on everyday life that we just don’t see.  Amongst all the great films that I saw, and some that I didn’t but heard were great, one stuck out to me more than the rest.  If you are one of my friends or saw me at all that weekend, you know which film I am about to mention: Waste Land by Lucy Walker.  This film was more than just creatively done, beautifully captured with a well told story; it was convicting.

Waste Land stars Vik Muniz who is a Brazilian modern artist who has been living in New York where he creates art out of everyday objects.  To get an idea of what I mean, watch this quick video clip from Waste Land that shows you what Muniz is trying to accomplish with his work:

As you can see from the video Muniz takes garbage and turns it into a work of art.  I highly recommend this film.  Not only does Muniz make some cool artwork but he changes the lives of five people who live and work at the garbage dump.  This film has the whole story of the Gospel, creation, fall, redemption and restoration, though that talk is for another time.  It might come back to the RagTag theater sometime later this year, and will definitely be out on DVD at some point.

You might be asking yourself right now, ‘Addison why did it convict you?’  That’s a great question unto which I intend to answer.  I sat there and watched the film, twice, and its story unravel, and was just shocked both times at the amount of garbage we produce.  I know you might be saying, ‘Well Addison, this is in Brazil, not America!’  And while you’re right, you also missed the point.  Hopefully this video will help you realize what our actions are doing, worldwide.

This isn’t just Brazil’s problem or America’s problem, this is a problem that encompasses all of the human creation.

Genesis 1:26

– Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ (NIV)

God created us to watch over His ground, over His planet.  This includes the waste that we produce from the things we are consuming.  That waste has to go somewhere, and right now the only “logical” place for us to put our waste is in land fills like that of Jardim Gramacho in Rio de Janeiro from Waste Land.  We need to become more responsible for the task that God has left us with, the task of taking care of the environment that makes up His planet.

Still don’t believe me?  Here are some staggering statstics that should speak to your heart:

  • 3 million people are killed each year by outdoor air pollution that is attributed to vehicle and industrial emissions.
  • 1% of landfill space is taken up by disposable diapers (they take 500 years to decompose).
  • 850 million trees are consumed each year just by Americans’ paper use.
  • 40,000 children die each day from preventable diseases.
  • 50 to 100 plant and animal species become extinct each year because we destroy their habitats

Get it yet?  So being a good steward of God’s creation, we understand what that means, we understand and see why we need to do it, but lets talk about the how here real quickly.

Start with the shorter things, the easier things, like putting cans and bottles in a recycling bin, and taking shorter showers.  Then move onto the bigger and more expensive things, like buying locally grown organic produce and meats, environmentally safe cleaning supplies and riding to school, work or anywhere via bicycle or public transportation.  Remember its important to be doing all these things, but not everyone can, so take it in steps until living the ‘green’ lifestyle is really an after thought and natural.  It’s important that we are good stewards of the earth and what God has given us.  We don’t want to lose the beautiful landscape and all it has to offer us.

Thanks to Lucy Walker and the production crew of Waste Land and Vik Muniz for his wonderful idea and story, this documentary will have a lasting impression on my life.

Psalms 104: 25-30

– There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there. These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth. (NIV)

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