Posted by: gcarkner | August 21, 2012

Creative Stewardship; Howling with Wolves

Wolf Education Centre Golden, BC

Recognizing that the earth and the fullness thereof is a gift from our gracious God, and that we are called to cherish, nurture, and provide loving stewardship for the earth’s resources. And recognizing that life itself is a gift, and a call to responsibility, joy and celebration, I make the following declarations:

  1. I declare myself to be a world citizen.
  2. I commit myself to lead an ecologically sound life.
  3. I commit myself to lead a life of creative simplicity and to share my personal wealth with the world’s poor.
  4. I commit myself to join with others in reshaping institutions in order to bring about a more just global society in which each person has full access to the needed resources for the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth.
  5. I commit myself to occupational accountability, and in so doing I will seek to avoid the creation of products which will cause harm to others.
  6. I affirm the gift of my body, and commit myself to its proper nourishment and physical well-being.
  7. I commit myself to examine continually my relations with others, and to attempt to relate honestly, morally and lovingly to those around me.
  8. I commit myself to personal renewal through prayer, meditation and study.
  9. I commit myself to responsible participation in a community of faith

~From Visions for a Hungry World by Thomas Pettepiece

 For a remarkable book on stewardship of Creation, see Steven Bouma-Prediger’s For the Beaty of the Earth: a Christian vision of creation care. His working assumptions in the book are the following:
  • Everything is created by God and therefore valuable.
  • Earth and its creatures are finite.
  • We are limited and often self-deceived in how we view the world.
  • The God-designed world is fruitful and able to sustain itself.
  • Work is good, but so is rest.
  • Earth is God’s, not ours. It is on loan to us for a short while.
  • We are earthkeepers to serve and protect, to promote creation’s well-being.
  • Cries for righteousness and justice must not go unheeded.
  • We should always in all things and all endeavours gratefully acknowledge our Creator-Redeemer. He’s the owner of all things human and non-human.

Howling with Wolves

What I learned from a few majestic beasts this summer 2011:  Hannah our 8 year old daughter and I visited a wolf educational centre near Golden, B.C. and were riveted with interest from the moment we arrived; it was a good time to catch a lecture and all the action. One of the females had just been for a walk in the woods with the owner of the centre; the wolf runs off leash for a while but always comes back because this man has fed and kept them safe for most of their lives. He and his wife act as the alpha male and female of the pack enclosed in this mini-zoo. They also visit schools all over the province to educate children about wolves and deconstruct their bad rep from the kids’ stories such as the three little pigs and little red riding hood. He used to train wolves and bears for Hollywood movies and decided to start this program to educate the public about the importance of, and plight of, wolves in our ecosystem. They have very little protection at the moment: people can hunt, trap, poison, and neuter them at will in Alaska, BC and Alberta. This includes the despicable practice of running them to exhaustion with helicopters and then shooting them like fish in a barrel. They are a critical component of the ecosystem and yet we have few left in our major parks. We transplanted thirty wolves to Yellowstone Park a few years ago and it brought back the beavers and many of the birds, restoring the wetlands.

Pecking Order: There are beta males and females but only the alpha members can breed. No wolf dare raise his tail higher than the alpha females or males. The omega wolves are the baby sitters for the pups while the others go out and hunt. One of the wolves had a charming sense of humour.

Wolves howl as a pack to make themselves sound more formidable (college engineers?) to a competing pack or to rally to arms before a hunt. They actually sing in a harmony, which make six wolves sound like fifteen. Hannah and I were able to get them to howl as a group for us and were thrilled to join in. We also watched them eat huge portions of beef and turkey, which the owner threw in to them. They really wolf down their food; awesome sight. The pups lick the mouths of the older wolves so that they will regurgitate the food for the young ones, who cannot digest the meat raw yet.

They have incredibly acute smell and hearing; they can hear you coming ten kilometers away so you are never likely to meet them in the wild; these wolves know the sound of the owner’s truck from ten kilometers away and become agitated and lively in anticipation of his arrival; Dad is coming home. You will rarely encounter them in the wild because they are so shy of you and hear you from a long distance. I have never been this close to such magnificent beasts and learned so much in such a short time; the early biology student in me soared to life. Many people breed wolves with dogs but this is mostly a bad thing because the animal is hard to handle as a pet and has to be euthanized.

My conclusion: God loves wolves and expresses something of his grandeur and creativity through them. Powerful experience!

~Gord Carkner

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