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Meet the couple transforming how the church sees creation

How Clarita and Cássio used an organic farm in Brazil to get the wider church involved in caring for creation.

Written by Erica Neves and Rachael Adams | 02 Sep 2022

A yellow single story house surrounded by trees and greenery

Clarita and Cássio’s organic farm in Brazil, where they are leading a movement of change by transforming how the church sees creation | Image credit: Pedacinho Ecológico Disclosure

Transformation begins in the heart, but how can we share about caring for creation in a way that these seeds can take root and bear fruit? In Brazil, Renew our World, a global movement of Christians campaigning to make the world more fair and sustainable, who Tearfund works with, is equipping Christans to find innovative ways to invite more people to respond to God’s call to care for the environment. People like Clarita and Cássio are now leading their own movement for change – find out more and how we can pray for them.

Clarita and Cássio grow organic yerba mate on their farm in Brazil. The plant is used to make tea and energy drinks, and so has a large market. A Fair Trade seal is also used on the drinks once produced, thanks to the practices and values that they uphold on their farm.

Clarita and Cássio don’t use pesticides on their farm, as they have harmful effects on the soil, animals and for the wider environment. The pair also continue to look for alternative ways they can use the resources that the local forest provides for them, as Clarita says: ‘[Working with] the forest and not against it, always in this harmonious way.’

But one of the biggest challenges they have is getting the wider church involved in caring for creation.

Getting the church talking

‘I have always been interested in issues related to the role of Christians in the face of creation,’ explains Clarita. ‘But this question has always intrigued me: “Why didn't we talk about this subject within the church?”

‘Since I was little I always tried to bring these issues to the debate – seeking to discover what the Bible says about our relationship with nature.’

It was through asking these questions that Clarita found out about Renew our World, and how they are working to help local churches speak up and advocate to care for the environment.

Through joining Renew our World, Clarita and Cássio have been able to learn more about how they can take care of God’s creation, as well as how they can equip others to do the same.

‘We were placed here, in the midst of creation, to be God's care for creation. Not only to be fed by creation, but for us to take care of it.’
Clarita, Brazil

Transforming the heart

‘I think that one of the roles of Christians is to distribute this good seed,’ explains Clarita. ‘Because it has to be from the inside out.

‘Information is important, but transformation has to happen in the heart.

‘We were placed here, in the midst of creation, to be God's care for creation. Not only to be fed by creation, but for us to take care of it.

‘And in my way of thinking, this happens from a seed, it's no use wanting the person to swallow a pineapple. It is necessary to plant the seed, wait for it to sprout, to converge with the person's ideas and make sense, until it sprouts, germinates and bears fruit.’

‘People today understand the impact of destruction,’ Cássio adds. ‘But it is an understanding that does not cause transformation…

‘I think it depends a lot on involvement. It is a movement that has to be started.’

Finding a connection

One issue that Cássio and Clarita have been looking at is the disconnect between rural and urban areas.’What happens in the countryside does not seem to concern the city and vice versa,’ explains Clarita.

‘[Yet] the countryside and the city have a very important connection: production of food, water and forest for the well-being of these two bases.

‘Why would an urban person be concerned about the fact that they put pesticides on the lettuce plant they were eating? They don’t realise that what happened in the field is impacting their plate, their well-being and the person who is in the field producing it.

‘They understand the role of preservation, but they don't know how it happens.’

That’s when an idea was formed…

A couple sitting on a hill overlooking a grassy landscape
A man watering plants

Top: Clarita and Cássio at their organic farm in Brazil | Image credit: Pedacinho Ecológico Disclosure. Bottom: Cássio waters his plants at the organic farm | Image credit: Pedacinho Ecológico Disclosure

Starting a movement

‘Our role here in Pedacinho is, whenever possible, to bring people to have experiences in the forest,’ shares Clarita.

‘With the Covid-19 pandemic a little more controlled, we are gradually resuming this work of bringing people into an experience, immersion, knowledge of the processes we develop here: permaculture, bioconstruction, agroforestry systems, all from the perspective of caring for God's creation.

‘The intention is that, at the end of the day, both the people who come and us, become different people than we were before that experience.

‘May it always be that sharing relationship where there is mutual transformation. This is the role of the activities that we are now resuming.’

A lonely fight

Clarita and Cássio are bringing transformation to communities across Brazil, but it’s not always easy.

‘Reality is heavy and difficult,’ shares Clarita. ‘It's not an easy fight!

‘We feel alone in purpose, sometimes existentially isolated…. In this and at all times, we need the strength of communion. It's like we say here, always: an araucaria [an evergreen conifer tree] is never alone.’

One of the ways we can show solidarity with people like Clarita and Cássio, is through prayer.

Pray with us

God of creation,
God of relationships,
God of love and justice and truth.

Convict us not only to be fed by creation, but for us to take care of it. Transform our hearts and renew our minds, Lord; where there are only seeds, water them until they bear fruit.

Convict us to continue to pray for people in poverty who are suffering from the effects of the climate crisis. Carve out space in our busyness to meet with you and to pray in solidarity with our sisters and brothers.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Written by

Written by  Erica Neves and Rachael Adams


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