Will we choose life for our children and the future of our planet?
Everywhere we look, we see signs that all is not right with our earth—extreme temperatures and weather patterns wreak havoc, pollutants sour soils and waterways, and fires and floods ravage land and communities. Climate change is just a symptom of a larger ecological crisis. If we want change, we must realize that the solutions to the problems we face can’t come through the same systems that created those problems in the first place. Ecological justice requires that we challenge our assumptions about creation and our relationship to it. It requires decolonization. We must turn to the leadership of Indigenous communities who struggle for all life as land and water protectors, and must call on people of faith to join them. This book offers hope for a better future alongside concrete actions for joining with Indigenous Peoples to protect life and negotiate with decision-makers for sustainable change that follows Jesus. In these pages, readers are called to confront climate change and choose life for our children and the future of our planet.
First Vision and Poem
Part I: Reality vs. Reality: Chapter One: Climate Crisis Is the Symptom—Not the Source—of the Problem Chapter Two: Reality and Systems of Life Chapter Three: Systems of Death, or what is taken for Reality
Second Vision and Poem
Part II: Beyond Green Growth Chapter Four: Green Growth Is Unjust Chapter Five: Green Growth Is Unrealistic Chapter Six: Green Grown Is Limited
Third Vision and Poem
Part III: Imagining a Decolonized Future Chapter Seven: Describing Decolonization Chapter Eight: Decolonizing Economic Systems Chapter Nine: Decolonizing Cultural Systems Chapter Ten: Choosing Hope and Humility
Fourth Vision and Poem Acknowledgements Notes The Authors
Sarah Augustine, who is a Pueblo (Tewa) descendant, is cofounder and executive director of the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition. She is also the cofounder of Suriname Indigenous Health Fund (SIHF), where she has worked in relationship with vulnerable Indigenous Peoples since 2005. She has represented the interests of Indigenous community partners to their own governments, the Inter-American development bank, the United Nations, the Organization of American States Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the World Health Organization, among others. She cohosts the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery podcast with Sheri Hostetler and is the author of The Land Is Not Empty. She serves in a leadership role on multiple boards and commissions to enable vulnerable peoples in Washington State to speak for themselves in advocating for structural change. She and her husband Dan Peplow and their son live in the Yakima Valley of Washington.
Sheri Hostetler cofounded the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition in 2014 and continues to serve on the steering committee. She is the cohost of the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery podcast with Sarah Augustine. She was also one of the founders of what is now called Inclusive Mennonite Pastors, a coalition of pastoral leaders seeking LGBTQ+ justice in the church. She has been the lead pastor of First Mennonite Church of San Francisco since 2000. Her writing has appeared in Anabaptist World, Mennonite Quarterly Review, Leader magazine, and more, and her poems appear in A Cappella: Mennonite Voices in Poetry. She is a graduate of Bluffton College and the Episcopal Divinity School. She is trained as a spiritual director and a permaculturist, and lives with her husband Jerome Baggett and their son Patrick on an island in the San Francisco Bay. She comes from a long line of Amish and Mennonite settler farmers.
“So We and Our Children May Live is such an important and impactful book for our time. Sarah Augustine and Sheri Hostetler have given us tools for talking about not just the climate crises we find ourselves in today, but what it takes to place ourselves in a relationship of care with Mother Earth and one another along the way. In this refreshing book that melds faith and science, the research, stories, and worldwide Indigenous wisdom included will help readers find the courage to act in a time that feels overwhelming. For those who wish to use their spiritual lives to invest in a better future for all, this book is essential.”
~KAITLIN B. CURTICE, bestselling author of Native and Living Resistance
“In this tour-de-force, Sarah Augustine and Sheri Hostetler empower readers to promote the kingdom of God by connecting the dots between cosmic shalom and Spirit-propelled decolonization. What a gift for us, our children, and our children’s children.”
~NATHAN CARTAGENA, assistant professor of philosophy at Wheaton College
“Sarah Augustine and Sheri Hostetler’s book crackles with truth-telling born of their love for the earth and its inhabitants. It is a book that demands reading and rereading—not simply because it is important (though it is) or challenging (though it is), but because its message slices through illusion and awakens imagination. Those willing to receive the Reality they name will find themselves transformed and inspired for the work to come.”
~REV. AIMEE MOISO, PhD, associate director of the Louisville Institute and an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA)
“This book is an invitation to imagine a world otherwise. It makes clear that to address the question of ecological injustice, it is necessary to expose the ideological superstructure behind current attempts at greening technology and economic growth. Though critical of Christianity’s historical passive unwillingness to address the intertwined issues of colonization, global market capitalism, and ecological destruction, the authors draw on their own traditions to highlight the rich reservoirs from which Christians can address and respond to ecological justice today.”
~REV. DR. NÉSTOR MEDINA, associate professor of religious ethics and culture at Emmanuel College, University of Toronto
“So We and Our Children May Live welcomes an unnerving yet essential dialogue examining the ways that growth-based, extractive impulses are not exclusive to the fossil fuel–driven economy, but are also present in some popular expressions of the green-growth, renewable energy revolution—in which society is placing so much hope. In a far-reaching and integrative manner, bringing together economics, biblical scholarship, social sciences, and Indigenous experiences and worldviews, Sarah Augustine and Sheri Hostetler invite all human systems (and we who design and shape them) to be collectively transformed by Creator’s Spirit—toward living in balance with the community of life that holds us all. This book does not simplify the way forward into ten easy steps but lays the foundation for the deep shifts that are required of all of us.”
~JONATHAN NEUFELD, Mennonite Church Canada Indigenous Relations coordinator
“Whether you’re a Christian or not (me? no), you’ll receive important insights from this book. Many of these insights are moral or ethical, centering on our responsibility to future generations and to other species; others have to do with understanding why environmental crises are tied to our current economic paradigm, which values growth over fairness or sustainability. The book benefits from Native American and Christian (Mennonite) perspectives on climate change and inequality—subjects too often discussed just in technical or political terms. Sarah Augustine and Sheri Hostetler will help you think more deeply and honestly about our future, our current societal choices, and perhaps even the way you yourself now live.”
~RICHARD HEINBERG, senior fellow at Post Carbon Institute