Love God. Love Your Neighbor. Change the World.

There are two stories of creation in the book of Genesis. In the first, God creates the earth and all the creatures who inhabit the earth, THEN God creates a human, translated from the Hebrew as “earth creature.” In the second account, after God has created the light, water, and earth, God creates the “earth creature,” THEN creates the animals as companions for this creature. Both accounts are clear: humankind and the earth are meant to be in harmony with one another and in harmony with the Creator.

At Church of the Nativity we believe that our faith in Jesus, our reverence for the earth, and our service to others are deeply woven together in our life of faith. We seek a connection to God through our connections with one another, through caring for the natural world, and through an examination of our interior life. All these things are a form of prayer. We hope that the reflections of this blog reveal and inspire this belief.

Becoming the Good Soil: A Theological Understanding

by Carl Sigel

Throughout the bible there is reference to the good (fertile) soil (Ezekiel 17:5) and its importance to both our physical and spiritual well-being (Luke 8:5, Mark 4:26-29). In the parable of the good soil Jesus says ”other seeds fell on good soil (in contrast to thorns and rocks) and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, […]

Becoming the Good Soil: Relationships between Food Production, Climate, and Soil

by Carl Sigel

In the endeavor to produce more nutritious food, one of humanities greatest challenges is that many of the steps that might be taken to increase food productivity will have the opposite effect because of climate change. About 25% of the planet’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions result from agriculture and deforestation (1), and as the planet […]

Becoming the Good Soil: To Avoid the Most Serious Consequences of Climate Change We Must Have “Negative Emissions”

by Carl Sigel

The growth rate of climate forcing due to human-caused GHGs increased over 20 % in the past decade mainly due to resurging growth of atmospheric CH4, thus making it increasingly difficult to achieve targets such as limiting global warming to 1.5 °C or reducing atmospheric CO2 below 350 ppm. To achieve such targets now require negative emissions, i.e., […]

Becoming the Good Soil: Role of Soil in Carbon Sequestration

by Carl Sigel

Soils constitute the largest terrestrial organic C pool (~1,500 petagrams* (Pg, 1015 grams ) C to a depth of 1 m; 2,400 Pg C to 2 m depth), which is three times the amount of CO2 currently in the atmosphere (~830 Pg C) and 240 times the current annual fossil fuel emissions (~10 Pg). Thus, […]

Becoming the Good Soil: Soil Carbon Sequestration Potential of US Croplands and Grasslands

by Carl Sigel

The first comprehensive assessments of potential soil C sequestration on managed lands for the United States were led by researchers from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center of The Ohio State University. These syntheses focused on the potential of US soils to sequester […]

Becoming the Good Soil: Increasing Soil Carbon Will Increase Crop Yields

by Carl Sigel

Increasing soil carbon will increase total soil organic matter (SOM), which is the very foundation for healthy and productive soils (1). Organic farmers often judge and monitor soil health based on the amount of organic matter in each farm field. Active soil organic matter refers to a diverse mix of living and dead organic materials […]

Becoming the Good Soil: Supplementation of Cropland with Compost Increases Productivity

by Carl Sigel

A review of the use of organic supplements to cropland indicated that application of long-lasting organic amendments increased organic carbon by up to 90% versus unfertilized soil, and up to 100% versus chemical fertilizer treatments. Furthermore, regular addition of organic residues, particularly composted ones, increased soil physical fertility, mainly by improving aggregate stability and decreasing […]

Becoming the Good Soil: Other Ways That Compost Helps Mitigate Climate Change

by Carl Sigel

To make compost, organic materials are necessary, like yard waste, food waste, wastewater treatment plant residuals, animal manures, or others. Currently, some organic wastes are finding their way to the landfill, where they decompose anaerobically (without oxygen) and methane is emitted—a greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Landfills contribute 20% of the total methane emissions […]

Caring for Our Common Home: Composting (updated blog from December 28, 2015)

by Carl Sigel

By composting at home and the church, we can: 1) reduce the amount of garbage we generate, 2) create valuable compost for home and church gardens, and 3) decrease our carbon footprints by sequestering carbon in the soil. As part of our goal to achieve “zero waste” on our church campus, Nativity uses a composting […]