Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I know the subject of Earth Day can be a touchy subject in Christian circles. As can being "green". There can be a fine line between caring for the world we live in, and worshipping Mother Earth.
I live a fairly "green" lifestyle. My main motivation is Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." Biblically, ruling over something in a Godly manner has involved a great deal of responsibility. I feel we are responsible for practicing good stewardship with the earth that God created for our use and pleasure. But I also feel the verse above gives us permission to use the earth for our benefit. Our post-fall earth was not intended to last forever, just until Christ returns, and the advent of the "New Earth". For example, while I am concerned about air pollution for health reasons, I'm not worried about global warming. I trust Christ will return before our world falls apart or self-destructs in any way. Or...I eat meat and knit with wool yarn, but I try to buy "cruelty-free" whenever possible.
That being said, here are some do-able ways I've found to take care of the earth:
1. cloth diapers...the less poo that goes into our landfills and groundwater, the better! Did you know that when using disposables, you are supposed to dump the poo into the toilet as our landfills are not equipped to safely deal with it? Not to mention the difference in my wallet from not buying bags of diapers every month.
2. reusable shopping bags....the manufacturing of plastic bags is very hard on the environment, not to mention the amount of plastic bags that end up in landfills. According to the Wall Street journal, Americans go through about 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year, costing retailers $4 billion dollars. Perhaps if we all started using reusable bags, the savings for retailers would trickle down to us?
3. recycling...I have 4 plastic bins in my pantry (plastic, paper, aluminum cans, and glass/metal). When those fill up, I transfer the contents to various garbage bins and bags in the garage. They in turn get thrown into the back of the truck and taken to the recycling center about every 3 months. Doing this on our own rather than paying the garbage man to do it saves us money each month.
4. reusable towels rather than paper towels...they work better and have helped me trim the fat in my household budget. I cut up old dish towels, and they work fantastic.
5. home-made cleaning supplies...I make my own from vinegar, water, and tea tree oil. I add essential oils for additional fragrance. Not only can I feel good about cleaning the bathroom without fitting my kids for oxygen masks, but this also cuts back hugely on household costs.
6. stainless steel water bottles...Cuts back on garbage, and on energy to produce and ship bottled water. I also don't have to worry about harmful chemicals leaching into my family's drinks. My 4-year old has a Foogo, and she loves it. I love that it has a flip-top straw that is covered when not in use.
7. composting-less into landfills, more nutrients into my vegetable garden. I keep a cute Rachel Ray garbage bowl on my counter for scraps and dump it into the bin every few days. And no, it doesn't smell or attract flies, so far anyway.
As you can see, there are many small ways we can do our part to care for the earth, and that often translates into caring for our wallets as well! If you're feeling overwhelmed by all the "green" options, I was given the advice to choose one at a time to master. Then move onto one more, etc.
Now get outside and enjoy this beautiful day, and take a moment to thank He who created it!