Mindfulness and Minimizing

church earthIt’s environmental care week on the blog.  In case you missed yesterday’s intro post (spurred on by earth day), we are talking about a Christian response to caring for the environment.  I’d love for this week to be a conversation, so please link up, comment, and share.  I’ want to hear your thoughts and implementation of caring for the environment.

Yesterday, I divulged that the Christian circles I grew up in weren’t keen on caring for the earth.  In fact, there was a general snubbing of the idea that green living was godly living.  It took me moving to the west coast and being around some legit Christians who cared a great deal about the earth, to realize that one can be both a passionate Christian and a passionate environmentalist.  In fact, over time, I learned that passionate Christians should be passionate about caring for the earth!

It took observing environmentally minded Christians and reading Serve God Save the Planet  to realize that I had my head in the sand about a critical issue.  Our earth is not in good shape.  We are depleting resources faster than we can replenish them.  Our world has more diagnoses of cancer, greater obesity rates, higher reports of depression and anxiety, more reports of stress and stress-related health problems, higher volumes of slavery, and greater instances of war over natural resources than any past generation.  All of this can be tied to our consumption and quest for convenience.

What I wish I’d learned earlier in life, is that caring for the environment isn’t a personal choice, but rather, my choice to or not to care for the environment has an impact on others.  “Environmental concerns are intimately tied to issues of poverty, health, and compassion” (Sleeth, Serve God Save the Planet).

Green living isn’t as simple as recycling (although that isn’t a bad start).  Green living is about recognizing that our everyday choices affect the greater world.  My choice of what to drive (and how much oil it uses) affects people around me and people across the world. My choice to upgrade my current technological devices affects landfills, oil production, and my financial flexibility to give to others around the world.  My choice of wanting whatever produce my heart desires year-round affects treatment of farmers, oil consumption, and prices for my neighbors.

How and what I consume affects the world greatly.

And until my early 20’s I literally had no idea.  I shopped for what my budget would allow, and I recycled because it was free and I bought new technology when I wanted to (because I was earning a real income for the first time post-grad and I could).  And my choices then, and my choices now affect me, and affect others.

The first step to caring about the environment, is caring.  And the first step to caring, is being mindful that there’s a problem.  If you don’t think global warming is real, or that cancer is more prevalent, or that we have a waste problem, we aren’t reading the same science books.  My friends, I don’t know why conservative Christians tend to downplay this issue, but it’s not a made up liberal agenda: We are fast depleting the earth of its resources.

But, we can make a difference!  Fellow Christ-followers, here are some reasons to care for the earth:

1.  Caring about creation brings glory to God

2.  Caring about creation helps other people

Caring for the environment enables us to live more meaningful, godly, and equitable lives.  Caring for the environment helps others today and in the future.  Caring for the environment makes us more content and less materialistic.  Caring for the environment makes us more grateful and more generous.  Caring for the environment slows down our pace, and helps us to rest (Snippets from Serve God Save the Planet).

That sounds like a spiritual agenda, not a political agenda, am I right?  So today, let’s be mindful of the fact that the earth is not in good shape, and let’s be mindful of how we can help to change that through minimizing our consumption and quest for convenience.  Let’s be mindful of the fact that our choices affect others now and in the future.

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