I am continually challenged to be more frugal with the way I live my life, expend resources, and how my choices affect others (often people I don’t know and will never meet). When we talk about “saving the planet,” being “environmentally friendly,” or “creation care,” it’s easy to see people take sides instantly. I am not quite sure why this is, why would we argue about reasons not to care for the world, and in the process care for other people, or on the other side why would be argue about the specific of how to go about being “green” with people who are already trying to do what they can?
Please understand, I am not the poster child for a sustainable lifestyle, I’d like to be, but I don’t do all that well at it. However, I do continue to try and make my decisions meet up with what I believe in every area of life. For me this includes trying to make sacrifices about where I drive, what I wear, what we do with trash, where we get our clothes, how we eat, how many trips we make in one day, where I spend my money, invest money, etc. Emily and I, like many in this generation, realize that there is no guarantee of a beautiful Earth for our children and our children’s children. We want to be a part of the solution that helps to secure a greener future for our kids. We don’t want them to grow up in a trash heap, where grey skies, dirty water, and brown air make up their daily existence.
I know that may seem a bit dark, and while I too can’t stand doomsday-sayers, living in LA has brought me closer to some of these realities than I would have thought possible. I’ve learned that all our choices have impact in our global economy, and the people my choices impact are people I could easily ignore because many of them are outside my line of sight. But nonetheless I believe the call of Christ to die to ourselves, and live according to the Holy Spirit demands that we become more aware and conscious of issues that not only affect our air and water qualities, our landfills, the temperature of the globe but also how all of this affects real-live human beings. I think that these environmental issues will be (and already are) one of the major issues for the church to deal with in our time. If becoming more conscious of this means I have to make sacrifices in my personal, day-to-day life then so be it. Making sacrifices is part of following Christ, we learned that back in christian discipleship 101.
That said, I love finding posts, articles and other resources on about simple practical ways to do this (and if it’s cheap I like it even more!)
“How to reduce your environmental footprint”
Relevant Magazine recently had a great short article with some ideas on reducing your footprint and this is what got me wanting to write a post about it. I wish they had the article online because I would save me writing this stuff out, but it’s worth the time. In the article writers Cara Davis, Melissa Umbro and Jennifer Berno offer 20 ways to go green.
They break it up into a 4 week process that includes watching movies, reading books and doing practical things to help cut down on our impact in the world. Here are the various resources they suggest:
Saving God’s Green Earth – Tri Robinson and Jason Chatraw
Serve God, Save the Planet
– Matthew Sleeth
God is Green: Ecology for Christians
– Ian Broadley
For the Beauty for the Earth: A Christian Vision for Creation Care
– Steven Bouma-Prediger
I won’t name all the tips they suggest in the magazine but here are some of the highlights. What I like about these is that they are simple and don’t require a lot of money to do (or any at all). And remember these are friendly suggestions not dogmatic rules to judge others by!
a) Replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
b) Avoid “to-go” packaging – get glass mugs, eat on the premises, etc.
c) Wash Clothes on the cold setting
d) Combine your errands for the week to one day (save time and money).
a) Turn thermostat down
b) Find recycling information and maybe even make a little money on the side.
c) Stop by the local farmer’s market to get your produce (i.e. buy local foods)
a) Buy a canvas bag for all your shopping
b) Buy reusable coffee filters
c) Install a low-flow shower-head
a) Wash dished by hand (instead of running dishwasher, or only run it when it’s packed)
b) Turn the water off when your brushing your teeth and fill your sink with water before washing dishes are ways to easily cut down on water usage.
c) Plan your purchases — get smaller more fuel efficient cars, buy energy-efficient appliances and electronics all of which are better than getting the biggest-baddest thing available.
A couple I’d add:
a) Only wash clothes when the load is full (or remember to adjust the water
b) Take public transportation, carpool, walk or ride bikes for travel
c) Try to live within a 3 mile radius of your home (easily reachable by bikes)
d) Buy used clothes or clothes that are fair-trade or organic.
e) Us earth-friendly detergents and soaps
Here is a listing of my Delicious Bookmarks for other links on the web that may be of service.
Whether you’re living in the wilderness and are fully sustainable or you’re completely clueless about this stuff, we can always find ways to be better sharers of the world, its resources and our own. Avoid getting into arguments over this stuff, live it out, let people see that it’s not hard or even weird to walk to the grocery store with a canvas bag, eat healthy and drive small cars. Take this as an opportunity to learn with young people about the way things are made, and how the earth works (here’s a really cool example). If you see someone being wasteful be polite and upbeat, take that opportunity to make a friend and engage them in a teachable moment. Don’t turn it into a judgment-fest, and don’t use your ethics to coerce or oppress others. Remember they should know us “by our love.”
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