Field Notes explores the themes of conservation and hope through a wide lens. Our guests include a moth-er, a wine theologian, Hebrew scholar, an environmental historian and a linguistic philosopher among others. Soundtrack – Jill Phillips & Andy Gullahorn: ‘Only Say the Word’ (instrumental track) from the album ‘The Good Things.’ Used with kind permission. www.andygullahorn.com – www.jillphillips.com
Ep 38: Federica Marsi – a cynical journalist finds redemption at the Kenyan coast
Federica Marsi is a multi-lingual freelance journalist who has filed dozens of hard-hitting reports from everywhere from Tunisia to Lebanon, Jordan to the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Federica’s life and career were going well and then lockdown happened and everything was taken away. Here she shares her remarkable story about what happened next, and how she left her flat in Milan on an improbable journey to Kenya which eventually leads to A Rocha and Mwamba, its field study centre on the Indian Ocean. A non-believer, Federica not only discovers the wonders of Kenya’s breath-taking land and seascapes and lush wildlife but is challenged in everything she has ever believed before.
Ep 37: Sara Kaweesa – a heart for creation care in a context of suffering
Uganda is known for the beauty and diversity of its landscape, encompassing as it does the enormous Lake Victoria and the snowy peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains. It is a land of contrast, with lush gardens full of tropical fruit and vegetables for the table, while families scrabble around for food. Wildlife in abundance attracting a thriving tourist industry, but local children grow up having never seen an elephant. Uganda has the world’s youngest population with over half of children under four living in poverty and some families only eating every other day. This complex and dynamic country provides many challenges for A Rocha Uganda as they try to balance the desperate needs of poor communities alongside their vision to always care for God’s creation.
Dr Sara Kaweesa, is the founder of A Rocha Uganda and for the last 15 years has been its National Director. She opens up about being accepted as a young female leader in a conservative culture, alongside the immense challenges of educating communities about conservation care, while providing for heartrending needs.
As this was recorded in Kampala the sound quality isn't always ideal, but we know you'll be inspired regardless.
Ep 36: Leah Kostamo – How nature both hurts and heals poor mental health
Nature is under enormous stress. It is almost impossible to turn a blind eye to the impact of our over consuming, polluting, degrading way of living on this planet. Fewer birds sing in sadder looking trees, under skies either delivering a month of rain in an hour or frighteningly blue day after day. If you are one of the many struggling with Eco Anxiety, this conversation with Leah Kostamo will be a source of help, hope and comfort.
Leah is Co Founder and Spiritual Care Coordinator of A Rocha Canada. Having recently completed a Masters degree in counseling she now also works part-time as a psychotherapist. She speaks from a place of both personal and professional wisdom about the path to healing in this broken and beautiful world.
Ep 35: Ed Walker – Meet A Rocha's new Executive Director
As the first day of 2023 dawned, Ed could not have known that by September he’d accept God’s calling to ‘sing a new song’ and be leading a global conservation organization he had barely heard of. With a history of walking towards crises, whether war, famine, or homelessness, perhaps it is unsurprising he was willing to face into the rather overwhelming disaster of biodiversity loss and join the A Rocha family at this precarious moment for the world.
Ed is someone with great vision, energy and integrity - and some hair raising stories! We know you will enjoy his company in this episode of Field Notes, as we did.
Ep 34: Peter Harris – Milestones, miracles and migration
A Rocha's cofounders Peter and Miranda Harris were in their early thirties when they identified the collapse of the biosphere as the issue of our times and decided to give their lives to that cause. With a big vision, next to no resources, and in a context of skepticism and apathy, they and their three small children moved to Portugal in 1983 together with another family, Les and Wendy Batty, and their two daughters.
40 years later, A Rocha's commitments and character are the same, expressed in a multitude of creatively contextualised forms around the world. And the biosphere is in severe crisis. How do we live with our smallness and the scale of the problems? What part can we play in God’s restoration of the world and what can only God fix now? If you have wrestled with these questions, we are sure you will find this conversation a source of deep comfort and inspiration.
To discover more of A Rocha's story, you might enjoy Peter's books, Under the Bright Wings and Kingfisher's Fire, and Miranda's book, cowritten with Jo, A Place at the Table.
Ep 33: Godwin Evenyo Dzekoto – collaborative conservation and why humans can be both the problem & the solution
It is the poorest of this world who suffer the worst impacts of biodiversity loss and climate change. But we'd be wrong to think the vulnerable are passive in suffering and without agency or hope. This is a conversation that will leave you in awe of human resilience and the goodness of God in spite of the painful reality.
Godwin leads A Rocha Ghana’s work in the north of the country, in and around Mole National Park. The Savannah Region is a beautiful but harsh landscape and severely economically deprived. A Rocha has helped local communities see that their survival is dependent on the well-being of the entire ecosystem, and the choices they make today have consequences that will play out for better or worse in times to come. And together, they are working for a better future for all.
Great discussions from diverse perspectives
Love listening to this! As someone who is passionate about the environment and a practicing Christian, I love hearing how these 2 perspectives come together. The guests they interview also bring critical and flexible thinking to complex problems in which finding solutions can be challenging.
Thank you for making this podcast!
This talk with one of my favorite contemporary artists, Mako Fujimura, was nice listen on our journey home on a road trip.