Most of you who read this know that I am a very passionate environmentalist. I want to take this opportunity on Earth Day 2009 to tell you WHY. Many bloggers are telling you things that you can do to "be greener," and by all means feel free to take their advice!!! But I want to do something a little different and talk about my values (hard to imagine I know).
I am, unashamedly, a follower of Jesus. I am a Matthew 25 believing, red letter Christian, who tries to put her FAITH into ACTION as much as she can. I believe that we are commanded as Christians to do what we can to bring God's kingdom "on earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10 But as we know, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23 I'm not perfect. I can't do it all. But I can do something, and I hope today I can do something for someone reading this.
No matter whether you believe in the literal translation of the Creation story, or believe it is a poem written to reflect the expansion and evolution of God's creation, or some other view in between. If you have Judeo-Christian faith, you believe "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth...Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground...God saw all that He had made, and it was very good." Genesis 1:1, 28, 31a
We as Judeo-Christians are scripturally charged with caring for God's creation. There are a finite amount of resources, a finite supply of clean water, a finite supply of coal for energy, a finite amount of space for trash. This Earth is the only part of creation that God gave us as humans to inhabit and care for, and it hangs in a delicate ecosystem balance. Whether you DO or DO NOT believe in global warming, you must admit with the number of people living on this Earth that eventually we will AT LEAST run out of places to put trash! And arguably, at some point, this planet will not be able to support its population with adequate supply of food, water, space and air (some say we have already passed sustainability).
To ME, I see this as a faith issue. I believe in the scriptural commandment of STEWARDSHIP. Those of us who have heard many sermons on tithing know what stewardship means, but for those who haven't, Christian stewardship is the management of resources (most commonly financial) in a way that glorifies God. I believe that we are also commanded to be stewards of the Earth's resources as part of God's perfect and good creation. I see our trips to the recycling center, purchase of Energy St*r appliances, and use of non-toxic cleaning products to be just as important as our bi-weekly checks to the church in our Christian stewardship.
We are even told in Luke 8:1-3 that many women traveled with Jesus and His disciples "proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God...These women were helping to support them out of their own means." We as women, who for the most part run things around the home, have the opportunity and the responsibility to use this role to glorify God and be good stewards in every aspect. "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." I Peter 4:10
Each of us can do simple things to be good stewards of God's creation, and we should. "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." I Corinthians 4:2
Here are some helpful websites to get you started:
You don't have to do EVERYTHING all at once, but BABY STEPS can make a big difference. Picking one or two things is a good start.
www.50waystohelp.com (if you are a little intimidated by all the lingo, this is the best place to start)
To learn about how to GREEN your workout, this is a great article THE LEAST we can do is invest in a reusable water bottle that stays in our gym bag!!! I was excited to read about recycling old sneakers to make the surface material for basketball courts!!
We pay a small fee to Tonic Mail Stopper to cut down on all the junk mail that comes to our house (and also saves trees, yay for oxygen)!!!
www.freecycle.org is a great website to list your stuff you don't want but is still usable to someone who can use it. It keeps it out of a landfill!!
Simple tips from me:*Use scrap paper* If someone has already gone to the trouble of cutting down a tree, might as well make the most of it! When I'm printing out all those online coupons for my crazy couponing adventures, they usually only take up the top part of the page. Save the bottom for notes at work or at home.
*Reuse envelopes* All those "reply" envelopes for the bills I pay online, I write my shopping lists on the back and gather my coupons for that trip and put them inside. That way I don't have to lug around my coupon sorter through the store! THEN I recycle the envelope!!
*Use reusable bags* This one isn't original to me, but it's the best practice. It saves oil and keeps the plastic bags from killing our marine life.
*Contingency plan for when you forget your resuable bags* If you happen to make it home with those God-awful plastic bags, you can use them for other things. We use it to line the plastic trough on the automatic litterbox (so we don't have to constantly buy those plastic recepticle things). We also have dog-friendly parks all over the city with freestanding poopy bag dispensers. It's up to park users to fill the dispensers with grocery bags, so whenever we take the kids to the park we also take a load of bags for picking up poop!!
*Use cloth napkins at dinner* This is my favorite one. It doesn't take much effort at all to put out cloth napkins at the dinner table. So take a few bucks to www.etsy.com and stock up on about 12 cloth napkins (or make your own). It saves trees, they go in with the rest of your laundry, and it just makes dinner time a little more special!