The global environmental crisis can seem unsurmountable. It’s a worldwide issue, yet it is developing countries such as Guatemala that are already suffering the worst impact. Guatemala is among the top 10 countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In the last few years, climate chaos has caused droughts, floods, and landslides, increasing food and water insecurity in this nation where 59 percent of people already live in poverty.
How can Christians respond?
Husband and wife team Venuz and Johnny are both Catalysts with the Logos and Cosmos Initiative. Together they are leading a project titled “Moving students to act and reflect on the environmental crisis.” Learn more in the 5-minute video below.
Venuz and Johnny are among 19 Catalysts who are receiving funding, mentoring and training in 2023-2024 to lead theology and the sciences projects in collaboration with their IFES national movements. Many of these projects are tackling pressing challenges in the Catalysts’ nations such as food security, student mental health and poverty. Explore our full range of projects on the LCI projects webpages.
This video is in Spanish, but English subtitles are provided. An English transcript can be found below the video.
[Text on screen] The global environmental crisis can seem unsurmountable. How can Christians respond?
Johnny: Globally, climate change is causing changes in climate conditions, mainly in temperature increases and changes in precipitation patterns. Guatemala, because of its geographical location and the lack of social conditions adequate for human development, is considered one of the countries with the greatest vulnerability to climate change.
[Text on screen] Catalysts in the Logos and Cosmos Initiative are leading projects that are tackling pressing challenges.
[Text on screen] Married couple Venuz and Johnny’s project: “Moving students to act and reflect on the environmental crisis.”
[Text on screen] Guatemala
Johnny: My name is Johnny Patel Gomez, I live in Guatemala, and I have participated in the Logos and Cosmos Initiative for two years and I studied agronomy and recently completed a master’s degree in economics. development and climate change.
I believe that all of us in society have a responsibility for our relationship with nature, especially Christians. If we believe that God is the creator of everything, we must reflect Him and be consistent in the way we live.
Venuz: “To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.” Deuteronomy 10:4
My name is Venuz Pérez López, I am from Guatemala, I am a Catalyst of the Logos and Cosmos Initiative in Latin America. I am an agronomist and I recently finished a master’s degree in integrated water management in hydrographic basins.
My project brings theology closer to the social sciences in understanding the environmental crisis, but also the disconnection of humans from nature or creation.
What we intend in this project is to understand this issue from different perspectives: from science, from theology, and ecotheology and also from the perspective of the indigenous peoples and how they have responsibly managed creation, and what we can learn from them as well.
My project has two main activities. The first one is hosting a forum where we can reflect on the environmental crisis from the scientific perspective, from ecotheology and from indigenous peoples, in order to reconnect our faith and learn to listen.
The second activity is a course I will develop with students who are particularly within the national movement, and also non-Christians. We will be using a guide from Biologos on how to see God within creation. This reflection will allow us to stimulate students to generate ideas from their disciplines that they can implement in their university fields, in the short medium term.
Johnny: In 2022, I started implementing a project called “Understanding mission in the face of climate change: perspectives of Christian students in Guatemala.”
The aim of this project was to reflect from our local group about the responsibility of society but mainly of Christians in their relationship with the environment in a context of climate change.
I think it’s difficult to generalise about the opinion of our youth in Guatemala but I think the tendency is that, despite the fact that there is greater access to information and greater awareness, the problem is still not being tackled at its deepest roots.
This, I think, has an impact on the lack of energy for generating a counterculture in the way we use the resources of our environment.
Venuz: I’m very motivated to see a new generation of students see God in creation, but also connect their academic discipline with the care of creation. I hope that this project will motivate them, encourage them to reflect and to take action.
Johnny: I believe that the Logos and Cosmos Initiative, from the start of the training on how to relate science and theology, helped me develop a perspective on this but also motivated me to think about how this applies to my discipline.
Also, the mentoring received and the conversations with other people, I think it has motivated me a lot to strengthen my commitment to this topic and it has motivated me to have a more active attitude towards this issue.
And also, the economic support I received provided me with the necessary inputs to implement my project.