Stewardship from the Start
"When we care for the Earth,
the Earth in turn will care and provide for us."
"Umhlaba ophethwe kakuhle uyabaphilisa abantu."
"Umhlaba ophethwe kahle uyabanakekela abantu nawo."
Sustaining the Wild Coast, South Africa
What is it?
One definition of environmental stewardship is
“ … the actions taken by individuals, groups or networks of actors, to protect, care for, enhance resilience and wellbeing , and responsibly/sustainably/ethically use the Earth and its ecosystems”
Many definitions of environmental stewardship focus on how environmental resources are used by people. However, while not named as such in many traditional ecological practices and knowledge systems, it is understood to be more aligned to the definitition above.
Why it is important
Wherever we live – sheltered or unsheltered - we live on the Earth. We breathe its air. We drink its water. We consume its resources. We enjoy its beauty. Humanity needs nature to survive and thrive. The Earth, with its complex systems that enable life, does not need us. Therefore, however we might feel about nature, we must take care of the earth, so that it will be able to care and provide for us.
In this relationship, we have a responsibility to act as stewards. Stewards protect, nurture, restore and sustainably use the Earth’s resources. We seek to be respectful in our relationships with people and the planet. We choose equitable, ethical and just approaches to living.