It’s environmental care week on the blog.
Monday we talked about a Christian response to environmental care.
Tuesday we talked about mindfulness.
Wednesday we talked about contentedness.
Yesterday we talked about selflessness.
And today, we talk about intentionality.
We need to get past the point of knowing and talking about taking care of the environment to actually taking care of it. How many self-proclaimed “green” friends do we know who drive SUV’s and use Styrofoam plates, and eat only imported vegetables. I’ve done all of these things – I’m not passing blame without accepting blame.
Americans buy an estimated 29.8 billion plastic water bottles every year. An estimated eight out of every 10 of these bottles will end up in a landfill. (Container Recycling Institute) Today, during a staff meeting, I watched several coworkers throw their plastic water bottles into the trash can directly next to a recycling bin.
We know better, and yet we struggle to change.
There are so many options encourage sustainability that perhaps we get overwhelmed. But my encouragement to all of us is to start somewhere. A few years ago, after reading Serve God Save the Planet, my husband and I started making some small changes to our lives.
1. We got militant about recycling (no more recycling laziness)
2. We stopped buying and using paper napkins altogether and only use cloth
3. We started using reusable grocery bags
4. We started celebrating Christmas differently (less consuming, less stress, less spending on family and friends, less wrapping paper, more celebrating, more giving to others in need).
Soon enough, these things stopped feeling weird, they just became a part of our everyday lives. And with more reading and more conviction, we’ve added some more changes over the last few years:
5. Use reusable tupperware vs. plastic baggies if at all possible
6. Use cloths vs. paper towls for cleaning
7. Avoid paper products unless we don’t have enough real dishes to feed the party
8. Check out books from the library rather than buying them (unless they are fabulous enough to add to our personal library). Be generous and share books with friends rather than having them buy books.
9. Ditch the SUV and get a hybrid (we love our little prius)
10. Eat vegetarian at least half of our weekly meals
Our newest fun additions are:
11. Share tools with neighbors (we have a lawnmower, our friend has a weedwacker – we share, we save, and we have a fun excuse to see each other every other weekend).
12. Use reusable produce bags (I love our new bags!)
13. Grow our own veggies (our little seedlings are looking good)
14. Compost our waste
I hope that we can continue to simplify and be intentional. With each new change, we feel more connected to God and our brothers and sisters around the world, as well as the earth God created.
And these are really small things. I realize that we have a long way to go. We have a long way to go before we get to hanging our clothes to dry year round, canning veggies, and bringing our own tupperware when we’re craving takeout (all Dr. Sleeth’s suggestions) but maybe someday we’ll be there.
What about you? What changes have you made in your everyday routine to make the earth more sustainable?